Ontario election blues : five easy pieces on the real 24th of May .. from Tory minority to vive le Montreal, etc

May 24th, 2014 | By Counterweights Editors | Category: In Brief

Eric Grenier’s Ontario Seat Projection of May 23, 2014 including polling in the field to May 21, 2014.

The emerging Ontario general voter, it would seem, has still not quite emerged into the open, where pollsters can tie him or her down (and good for that some will say). In any case, she or he has a lot on his or her mind (only some of which is actually in Ontario). The counterweights editors have held a quick early Saturday morning meeting, and decided that these five examples prove some kind of point, somehow, one way or another, and so forth :

(1) Contemplating Eric Grenier’s latest 2014 Ontario election seat projection can be a sobering and/or even alarming experience : Conservatives 45, Liberals, 41, New Democrats 21. Can this kind of situation prove remotely stable? Note, eg, that even a bare majority in the current 107-seat Ontario Legislative Assembly is 54 seats. So … could Tim Hudak climb down abjectly from his current over-aggressive “conservative” rhetoric, and work with one or other of the two more “progressive” parties long enough to pass even one budget? Or could the Liberals and NDP join together in a written Accord, reminiscent of the fabled Ontario Liberal-NDP Accord of 1985–1987, and keep Premier Kathleen Wynne in office for at least two more years? Or will we just have to have yet another election in the fall, or early winter ????

Pooja Handa, cp24 princess. Back in the good old days?

(2) Is it just us? Or are other people feeling that the heretofore pretty admirable cp24 TV news channel in Southern Ontario has lately been sounding more and more like a not-so-subtle propaganda department for the federal and provincial Conservative parties in Canada’s most populous province? (They keep touting the pro-Conservative Ipsos-Reid Ontario election polls they have paid for, eg, without even broadly hinting that other polls are reporting significant contradictory results. And then there are the increasingly insistent opinions of the lovely daughter of “Major General Richard Heath Rohmer OC, CMM, DFC, OOnt, KStJ, CD (born 1924) …  a Canadian aviator, lawyer, adviser, author and historian.”)

On some similar channel, btw, the conservative mood in Southern Ontario beyond the biggest cities may have something to do with the extent to which many old Ontario regional daily newspapers have now been taken over by Sun Media — ultimately owned by Quebecor and the arch-conservative Quebec sovereigntist (and now unfortunately injured) Pierre Karl Peladeau. Here is what would appear to be the current honour roll : the Barrie Examiner, Belleville Intelligencer, Brantford Expositor, Brockville Recorder & Times, Chatham Daily News, Cornwall Standard Freeholder, Kingston Whig-Standard, London Free Press, Niagara Falls Review, North Bay Nugget, Northumberland Today, Orillia Packet And Times, Owen Sound Sun Times, Pembroke Daily Observer, Peterborough Examiner, Sarnia Observer, Sault Star, Simcoe Reformer, St. Catharines Standard, St. Thomas Times-Journal, Stratford Beacon Herald, Sudbury Star, Timmins Daily Press, Welland Tribune, and Woodstock Sentinel Review.

* * * *

Jack Nicholson and Karen Black in Five Easy Pieces, 1970.

(3) According to a report just after the start of the election campaign now underway : “The Ontario government says it is moving forward with plans for a high speed rail line connecting London, Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto … The line would include a stop at Pearson International Airport … High speed is part of the $29-billion long-term transit and infrastructure plan, Moving Ontario Forward.”

When you get down to the finest points, this seems not too much closer to fruition than “Alberta not ready for high-speed rail, but it’s time to start planning: report …  authors suggest province start laying groundwork for future.”

A bullet train on the Xi'an-Baoji High Speed Railway, in northwest China (Xinhua/Jiao Hongtao).

And neither Canadian provincial scheme can hold a candle to the latest grand vision for high-speed rail in North America —  “China considering high-speed rail line through Russia to US via Canada, reports claim … China is considering a 13,000-kilometre route that would cross Siberia and reach North America via a 200-kilometre undersea tunnel across the Bering Strait to Alaska … From there, the line would travel south to Vancouver, then east through Canada to the US East Coast … Fyodor Soloview, an Alaska-based businessman who’s been promoting an undersea tunnel linking Alaska to Russia for two decades, said it could take up to 25 years to complete the project …‘It will be a different government,’ he said. ‘It will be different people in 25 years, and it will be different people who will decide on building this connection.’”  Still, as one comment writer put it: “High speed train from Vancouver to New York? Im in.”

(4) Some will be astounded to hear that Rob Ford has recently been a topic of discussion at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. A session at the Center last Friday, on “The Rob Ford Phenomenon: What’s going on in Toronto?”, was led by Anne Golden, a former president of the Conference Board of Canada, and frequent student of various Greater Toronto Area issues, going back a long time (and unmistakably one of the “elite” whose rule Ford Nation is reacting against, as Ms Golden aptly pointed out).

Retired Major-General Richard Rohmer addresses Toronto Remembrance Day ceremony in 2009. Old soldiers never etc, etc, etc.

Toronto and/or Rob Ford sceptics might also want to consult “Toronto ranks surprisingly high on list of US tourism destinations …  The 2013 Hotel Price Index, released by Hotels.com, reports that more US tourists visited Toronto in 2013 than anywhere else in the world, except for London and Paris … ‘Toronto surpassed Rome as the third most popular international destination for the first time since 2010,’ the report notes … Indeed, Canadian cities dotted the list. London and Paris ranked first and second, followed by Toronto, but three other Canadian cities placed in the top 10 … Vancouver placed fifth, while Montreal placed eighth and Niagara Falls, Ont., placed 10th. Sure, Canada is an obvious place for Americans to visit considering the proximity. But this is the best ranking a Canadian city has had on the list in years.”

(5) Other parts of Canada east of the Lake of the Woods are having their own challenges to deal with. See, eg, the ubiquitous (and often quite excellent) Matthew Coutts on “Halifax yet another Canadian metropolis in need of a plan to boost population growth.”

The Habs at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

And then of course we have the Montreal Canadiens, bearers of the last Canadian hopes for the Stanley Cup this year. Kudos to the Habs (short for les habitants) as “Alex Galchenyuk’s overtime goal gives Montreal new life in Eastern Conference final.” (Even if it is also true that “New York was largely the better team —  in the way Montreal was in game two — and the Habs must ramp up their game to nourish the tiny flicker of hope created in game three.” Game four will be held this Sunday, May 25 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, 8 PM ET. And we will be holding a big party here on the east-end waterfront of the Big Smoke, to send some warlike pro-Canadien vibes across Lake Ontario and into the Mohawk Valley, across to Albany-Rensselaer, and then down the Hudson River to Manhattan, at the corner of 8th Avenue and W 33rd Street (or is that W 31st ????). Hey, why not get really crazy on this beautiful spring weekend in the Northern Uprising — Go Habs Go!

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