Monday, July 22, 2024

opinion | Doug Ford’s win in Ontario should be a wake-up call against inaction


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Four years after the boycott bad management And more than two years of insufficient epidemic measuresnearly 17 percent of Ontario’s eligible voters re-elected incumbent Conservative Progressive Premier Doug Ford with a majority government.

Final results are pending, but according to early data, about 43% of Ontarians voted in the province’s 43rd general election – the lowest turnout in Ontario’s history. Ruling computers won 40.8% Of the meager plot of land and 83 seats. New Democrats and In the popular vote, the Liberals converged for second place with 23.7% and 23.8%, respectively. In doing so, the New Democrats took 31 seats and the Liberals got 8 – a reminder of how volatile the district’s electoral system can be. Both opposition leaders resigned immediately. If only they had done so before the start of the elections.

So what went wrong? It’s easier to ask what went right, because the answer is none, unless you’re a Ford. In this case, the answer is two terrible opposing parties that spent the elections fighting each other for second place; Anti-democratic and unconstitutional The law was passed by the Prime Minister to silence his critics by limiting third-party advertising and advocacy (and Valid through constitutional bypass); And the PC campaign that got away with it Push the protesters and hide from the public and the media.

Ford fulfilled the material and class interests of many voters, with low taxes and an emphasis on small government and “openness for business.” For others, Ford satiated their misguided symbolic and cultural needs. As noted by Clifton van der Linden, associate professor of political science at McMaster University and founder of Vote Compass, Ford in capital letters On conflicting issues including de-statuing, diversity and inclusion policies, anti-racist and anti-colonial education policy, medical treatment related to gender transmission, and supervised injection sites. The Ontario Culture War played a prominent role in bringing Ford back, a fact that many went unnoticed. In truth, this election was a battle over dangerous and growing politics of racial, class, and gender grievances.

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Polls barely moved during the election campaign, except for the PC high on the end and the liberal decline. More than two years into the pandemic – with the country sliding deeper into Affordability crisisAnd the Resilience to the increasingly severe impacts of climate change They are witnessing an uncertain geopolitical rearrangement – people are afraid, anxious and angry. Opposition parties failed to speak to and mobilize them – hence the low turnout that was pivotal to Ford’s victory. The failure to capitalize on Ford’s mistakes and draw voters to the polls is especially indebted to the National Democratic Party, which 800,000 votes down from the 2018 tally And lost 9 seats. The virtual Labor Party did not attend to the class they were supposed to represent above all else.

Henry Olsen

the interviewDoug Ford’s landslide victory in Ontario is a model for populist Republicans

The electoral system in the province did not help matters. The majority of voters preferred a government not run by Ford. While computers won 40.8 percent of the popular vote, that was good enough for 83 of the legislature’s 124 seats — a rare second majority that was actually bigger the first. The Democrats and the neo-liberals won just 39 seats with a total of 47.5 percent of the vote. Computers got the point: Earn more with less. Call it Efficiency Rating if you like. It’s ironic, but in a world where strategy and outcomes trump what’s best for democracy, you get what you get.

Where does the opposition movement go from here? The leaders of the NDP and future liberals should be angry. They should be angry about workers getting a raw deal, people unable to live, people with disabilities living in legislative poverty. Angry at the collapse of the healthcare system. Angry about overcrowded schools. Angry at the inaction of the climate. They must be able to connect with Ontarians and provide leadership that recognizes public suffering — and they must be committed to structural change.

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The NDP in particular should be alert to this anger and should make it its primary mission to empower the party’s grassroots to build a district-wide movement of unabashedly leftist politics. They must move like life depends on it – because life depends on it. There is no time left to wait.

This election should be a wake-up call for a complacent province and for the uninspired opposition parties that have done nothing to break this inaction. The status quo cannot be allowed to remain. But that change is a long way off, if it ever will.

For now, Ford and his government will get the legislature session by a large majority and there is virtually no opposition to keeping them in check. That may lead Ford to defeat himself with arrogance. But it is better not to rely on it. Instead, Ontarians must get organized, choose better leaders and stick to the grassroots, and fight policies aimed at changing the province. This work must begin today.