Election news & blues

Aka “A political junkie’s journal … from the new central Canadian wilderness”

CANADA DAY. WEDNESDAY JULY 1,  2015. This started out as a compilation of notes and whatnot on the Ontario provincial election of 2014. (See below.)  But now the Canadian federal election of 2015 — more exactly Monday, October 19, 2015 — is looming much larger on at least many minds, even or especially here in Ontario. And soon we will be including our growing collection of notes on this subject … Meanwhile, our earlier cut at Kathleen Wynne’s majority government surprise at Queen’s Park follows …

ONTARIO ELECTION OF 2014

Only time will tell whether the Ontario provincial election held on June 12, 2014 was some intriguing watershed in the political history of Canada’s most populous province.

Meanwhile, we found that we were drawn to covering this election in some depth — without thinking all that much about why at the time. And just in case it does prove unusually significant, we’re posting a digital record of our coverage here (for a while at least).

INTRODUCTION

We had our first toe in the water on what finally became the June 12, 2014 Ontario general election as early as January 21, 2014.

Here, drawing on the reportage of Susanna Kelley at ontario news watch.com, and the deep wisdom of “former Liberal MP Ken Dryden,” our favourite policy research consultant and former Ontario public servant (and Ontario historian, with a PhD in Canadian Provincial and Local Government), Dr. Randall White, posed what ultimately became the crucial “ballot question” on June 12. (Or so Dr. White claims.)

Southern Ontario in the early 18th century.

Almost exactly three months later, on April 23, we noted that another hot piece of intelligence from  Susanna Kelley at ontario news watch.com had been confirmed by political gossip which some on our staff claimed to have overheard at a West Toronto dinner party! I.e., “Ontario New Democrats will almost certainly vote against Ms Wynne’s Liberal minority government after the May 1 budget (a week tomorrow).”

Already it seems no accident to us that, one day before all this truly came to pass, our counterweights site was obsessed by the latest US and Canadian media adventures of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. It is also no accident, we think, that some of the immediate background to Kathleen Wynne’s ultimate Ontario electoral achievement involves the Mayor of Toronto (who is probably still more popular in so-called Rural Ontario too!).

Kakabeka Falls in Northern Ontario, near Thunder Bay — “the second highest waterfall in Ontario with year round access for viewing.” And on the “Historic route of the Voyageurs,” in the first modern Canadian resource economy romance of the transcontinental fur trade, from coast to coast to coast.

An interesting question about just how it all finally hit the fan is just who knew what about what, and who, when? And it may have prefigured what finally happened that Premier Wynne’s Liberals were so quick off the mark.

At any rate the die was cast by the evening of May 2, 2014, when the vast geography of Ontario, from the Great Lakes waters to Hudson Bay, and the Ottawa River to the Lake of the Woods, quietly went to bed with spring in the air, after a long, hard winter.

Our four postings for this prelude period are noted immediately below (just click on the underlined text for the original posting). They are followed by our 16 postings over the campaign period. And this is followed by various tentative notes and references on the final results …

PRELUDE

Emancipation Day Parade, Windsor, Ontario, August 1959.

(1) Is an uber right-wing Tim Hudak Conservative government suddenly in the wings in Ontario?? …  Jan 21st, 2014 / By Randall White

(2) Ontario election, Senate reform in court, Canada’s middle class, Ron MacLean, & the Keystone Pipeline Blues …  Apr 23rd, 2014 / By Counterweights Editors

(3) Bill Maher etc beware — Rob Ford says “Once I’m done, I’m done. I’m going to California ……” …  May 1st, 2014 / By L. Frank Bunting

(4) Ontario “Northern Uprising” election June 12 will be another one where the campaign really matters! …  May 2nd, 2014 / By Randall White

THE CAMPAIGN

The CANDU Bruce Nuclear Generating Station on Lake Huron, in Southwestern Ontario, said to be the largest nuclear power plant in the world.

(1) Ontario election blues 2014 : a junkie’s journal, May 7 — will Hugh Segal actually be voting for Kathleen Wynne? …  May 7th, 2014 / By Counterweights Editors

(2) Ontario election blues 2014 : a junkie’s journal, May 13 — is uber right-wing Hudak Conservative government etc? …  May 13th, 2014 / By Counterweights Editors

(3) Ontario election blues 2014 : a junkie’s journal, May 14 — what a difference etc .. new poll says Liberal majority …  May 14th, 2014 / By Randall White

(4) Ontario election blues 2014 : a junkie’s journal, May 15 — what a difference etc .. now new poll says Cons ahead …  May 15th, 2014 / By Counterweights Editors

Stephanie Randall and Trella White, restaurant owners (and operators) in Elora, Ontario.

(5) Ontario election blues 2014 : a junkie’s journal, May 17 — going to bed with The Ekos poll: Advantage, Wynne …  May 17th, 2014 / By Citizen X

(6) Ontario election blues, May 22 .. Is there any chance Andrea Horwath’s New New Democrat strategy is working? …  May 22nd, 2014 / By Dominic Berry

(7) Ontario election blues, May 23 .. Why are the polls so volatile, and what does it say about the place to stand today? …  May 23rd, 2014 / By Randall White

(8) 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

(9) East Toronto, May 27 : “Men use love to get sex. Women use sex to get love. Ontario voters use coupons to get pizza.” …   May 27th, 2014 / By Citizen X

(10) Ontario election May 30 : is “close race” the new deep truth .. and what about Brian Mulroney at Quebecor? … May 30th, 2014 / By Dominic Berry

The GTA’s Brampton Royals, Baseball Canada bantam champions, 2012.

(11) Ontario election : will MaRS (and/or some kind of “coalition”) suddenly derail Kathleen Wynne at last? …  May 31st, 2014 / By L. Frank Bunting

(12) Ontario election debate June 3 : can rookie Kathleen beat “corruption” rap and go on to win? …  Jun 2nd, 2014 / By Counterweights Editors

(13) Dear Andrew at the CBC : Canadian populist views of the Ontario leaders’ TV debate 2014 (updated June 5) … Jun 4th, 2014 / By Randall White

(14) Ontario Northern Uprising election remains a mystery — “close race” still the only deep truth ???? …  Jun 8th, 2014 / By Counterweights Editors

A light rail O-Train in the Ottawa region of Eastern Ontario.

(15) Why we’re endorsing Kathleen Wynne (and related night thoughts on the mysterious Ontario election of 2014) …  Jun 10th, 2014 / By Counterweights Editors

(16) Ontario election 2014 : last minute polling notes, and meditations on the low voter turnout syndrome …  Jun 11th, 2014 / By Randall White

CONCLUSION : WHAT IT ALL MEANS?

Dr. Randall White offered his more or less immediate assessment of the June 12, 2014  general election in

(1) “Is this the sound of a new long dynasty in Ontario politics settling in ????.”

As of this writing, Dr. White says he has nothing to add to this immediate assessment, just yet. Except that he does think it was apt to talk about the June 12, 2014 Ontario general election as a “Northern Uprising” (and, perhaps a bit less credibly, a northern uprising by “We The North”).

Gridlock on Highway 401 — one issue in the 2014 Ontario election campaign.

In the end, there was a northern uprising. It was made by the regional Liberals and New Democrats against the kind of mindless right-wing austerity ideology currently affecting such anglospheric places as Australia, now perhaps even the world’s largest democracy in India, and of course the United Kingdom (and regionally represented in Ontario by the so-called Progressive Conservatives under Tim Hudak — who everybody who was anybody said actually won the TV debate).

We may be adding to this concluding section over the next while. Or not. Meanwhile, we’d recommend the following more or less immediate assessments of the June 12, 2014  general election from other sources. (This current list is just tentative. There are other good reports out there that should be added. And we hope to do some of just that over the next while too) :

A vendor sells maple syrup on Front Street in Toronto ... Photograph by Martin Thomas, Alamy.

(2) Susanna Kelley, “Liberal Majority: Ontarians Vote For Greater Role For Government, Reject Hard Right Vision

(3) Gerald Caplan, “Liberals were lucky they won – and so is Ontario

(4) Andrew Coyne: “The Ontario election was a referendum on fiscal conservatism. Fiscal conservatism lost” [A misguided theory, some at least would say. It was a referendum on voodo economics. The Ontario Liberals are continuing to preside over the leanest per-capita program spending province in Canada, determined to balance the budget by 2017–18, etc.]

(5) John Ivison: “Tim Hudak’s loss in Ontario could be good news for Stephen Harper.” [Various other misguided theories — but we digress.]

(6) Martin Regg Cohn, “A mandate and an agenda for a premier on the run

The Red River Expedition at the portage around Kakabeka Falls, Ontario by Frances Anne Hopkins, 1877. Hopkins was the wife of a Hudson’s Bay Company official, and she sometimes accompanied her husband on his fur trade travels. Her historical painting here depicts the Red River Expedition of 1870 portaging around Kakabeka Falls, on its way to the Red River Colony to stop Louis Riel’s first or Red River rebellion.

(7) Sean Conway, “The Liberal eminence grise says Ontarians are centrists who don’t like parties that move too far left or right.”

(8) Première lesbienne à diriger une province canadienne, Kathleen Wynne devient avec sa victoire la première première ministre LGBT élue dans un pays du Commonwealth. Un jalon accueilli dans la plus grande indifférence par les médias et le public ontarien, alors qu’André Boisclair avait dû, lui, essuyer des railleries homophobes lors de la campagne électorale de 2007.

Finally, some last minute notes on where things are now, waiting for the throne speech in the new 41st Parliament of  the Canadian Province of Ontario:

* Moody’s changes Ont. outlook to negative from stable …  The change in outlook affects approximately $250 billion in debt securities, Moody’s said as it reaffirmed Ontario’s Aa2 ratings.

* ‘Bankers aren’t freaking’: Ontario plays down Moody’s debt warning

* Disciplining the bond vigilantes with the Province of Ontario Savings Office .. a teachable moment from the 1930s …  Paul Krugman’s contention that “it’s hard to think of anyone less qualified to pass judgment on America than the rating agencies … The people who rated subprime-backed securities are now declaring that they are the judges of fiscal policy? Really?”

* Throne speech to lay out Liberals’ long-term agenda: finance minister … Liberal Dave Levac was re-elected as Speaker, the often thankless job of playing impartial referee to unruly MPPs in the legislature.

EAST TORONTO, JULY 3, 2014.

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