Ontario election blues 2014 : a junkie’s journal, May 17 – going to bed with The Ekos poll: Advantage, Wynne

May 17th, 2014 | By | Category: In Brief

May Long weekend Fireworks at Flamboro Valley Camping Resort, 1158 Regional Rd 97, Flamborough, Ontario N0B 2J0.

GANATSEKWYAGON, ON. SATURDAY, MAY17, 2014. 2:00 AM ET. Before I lay me down to sleep this morning, I have been asked to put the counterweights’ Ontario election watch 2014 to bed for this 24th of May holiday weekend.  (Which takes place on Monday, May 19 this year. Even though we are still apparently commemorating the ancient local chant I learned years ago, at my mother’s knee : “The 24th of May / Is Firecracker Day / And if they don’t give us a holiday / We’ll all quit school.” Or something like that.)

To start with the still wildly confusing (and even outright contradictory) polling scene, a new poll from Frank Graves at Ekos appeared this Friday. And (once again) it presented essentially opposite results from its immediate predecessor.  The Ekos poll surveyed 1,111 Ontario residents May 13-15. And it reports Lib – 37.1%, Con – 30.3%, NDP – 20.9%, Green – 7%, Other – 5%. (Compare with the Ipsos Reid poll that surveyed 801 Ontario residents May 12—14, and  reported Con – 39%, Lib – 30%,  NDP – 24%, and Green and Other – 7%.)

Frank Graves introduced the May 13-15 Ekos poll (for ipolitics) with these words of chastened wisdom :”The Ontario provincial campaign is shaping up to be one of the most interesting campaigns in recent political history. It features two sharply contradictory policy visions: an austerity/minimal government model versus a progressive, active-state intervention model …  Superimposed on that stark choice are the twin factors of regime fatigue and ethics – both of which are confounding voters’ decision-making in ways which make the outcome of this race highly uncertain. They’re also making the job of pollsters more challenging.”

Recuperating Rob Ford and admiring voters in Bracebridge, Ontario, Friday, May 16, 2014 – something from Toronto that is actually popular in “Rural Ontario.”

For further commentary on the current state of play for the  two sharply contradictory policy visions, see “Ontario Liberals, NDP attack PC plan to cut 100,000 public sector jobs …  Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne …  said the dangers of [Conservative leader Tim] Hudak’s planned cuts are why she held a campaign event Thursday in Walkerton, where deadly E. coli contamination of the town’s water supply killed seven people and made thousands ill in May 2000 …  The tainted water tragedy was blamed in part on cost-cutting by the government of former Tory premier Mike Harris, which privatized water testing and cut Ministry of Environment jobs.”

“Two sharply contradictory policy visions” in the great debate ahead ????

May Long weekend Fireworks at Dundas Driving Park (near Cross and Alma streets) in the Hamilton region.

Conservative spokespeople and commentators have understandably tried to belittle Wynne’s Walkerton example as hitting below the belt, not playing by Marquis of Queensbury (Tory) rules, etc, etc. Meanwhile there are vague hints of Conservative efforts to soften the edges of their harsh “austerity/minimal government model” in “Hudak says he’s OK with running deficit during economic crisis … ‘If there’s a major downturn like we had, that’s the proper reaction,’ he said. ‘But then you start spending within your means after that. You don’t make it permanent.’”

The current confused state of the opinion polls suggests that only (more) time can tell with any confidence just what Ontario voters will think of the “two sharply contradictory policy visions” in the polling booth on June 12. Meanwhile, we now at least know that the three main party leaders – Horwath, Hudak, and Wynne, in alphabetical order – will meet for a 90-minute TV debate on Tuesday, June 3, from 6:30 to 8:00 PM. The debate will be moderated by Steve Paikin, and “broadcast live on CBC, CTV, CHCH, CPAC, Global, Sun News Network and TVO.”

Brown’s Manor Bed & Breakfast, Picton, Ontario.

Adam Radwanski has provided some further information on this front : “It has not yet been determined whether there will also be a debate specifically focused on Northern Ontario, as there was in the province’s last campaign. Only … Tim Hudak and … Andrea Horwath participated in that event, with then-premier Dalton McGuinty taking a pass. However, Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne has expressed enthusiasm for joining a northern debate this time around if one can be scheduled … It does not appear that Ms. Horwath will get her wish for more than one regular debate. Sources have indicated that setting aside the willingness of the other leaders, the major television networks that form the broadcast consortium are reluctant to pre-empt regular programming and advertising for more than one evening.”

A cynic might say that one reason Ontario remains what Northrop Frye once called “surely one of the most inarticulate communities in human culture” is that it has so many small-minded people, seriously bereft of public spirit, in its various broadcast and other mass media consortiums. (Or as Pierre Trudeau once asked Keith Davey about his Toronto-centred anglophone colleagues : “Where is the fire in your bellies?”)

More optimistically, Frank Graves is as right as rain when he says that this “Ontario provincial campaign is shaping up to be one of the most interesting campaigns in recent political history.” Whatever else, those of us who are congenitally interested in such things are having a good time. (As much as we fear what result our strategically twisted electoral and party systems just may bring in the end!) Maybe if we just keep trying to tell everyone we can about just how interesting the campaign is shaping up to be, a little of our enthusiasm will wear off on at least a few more real-world Ontario voters.  (Maybe.)

Meanwhile again, as George Hoff at cp24.com has also and no doubt wisely put the point :”An important date for political junkies will be the evening of June 3 … when the three leaders will stand side by side before the TV cameras … Before that big show there’s still two more weeks of campaigning and preparation time for the leaders. Voters might use the long weekend to debate the issues and the strengths and weaknesses of the parties on patios and cottages across the province. Maybe. Or maybe the talk will turn to the Stanley Cup playoffs.” (To which I can only add, bien sûr : Vive les Canadiens – starting in Montreal this afternoon. And remember : Ontario is the Canadian province where most Ontarians still put Canada first!)

Tags: , , ,

Leave Comment