Friday, June 08, 2018

Who are these people who are determined to send Ontario back to the Dark Ages?

In the wake (and "wake" is a good description of the atmosphere in Toronto this morning) of the resounding victory in the Ontario provincial elections of Doug Ford and the so-called Progressive Conservatives, I have been trying to visualize what those hordes of people in rural areas who voted for Mr. Ford actually look like.
Being a city dweller, I don't actually know any, and so this is not easy. But I can't get the image out of my head of Grant Wolf's painting American Gothic. You know the one: the elderly couple outside their farmhouse, slightly stern and censorious-looking, intensely private and afraid of progress, but essentially harmless and probably none too bright. Now, this may just be my city dweller's stereotypical and probably none-too-accurate impression of country folk. And maybe it's not a useful exercise to try to lump together and pigeon-hole an electorate that is almost certainly surprisingly heterogeneous. But it's hard to stop it, just as I find it difficult to look at Doug Ford and not think of Shrek.
But 40% of the 57% of Ontarians that voted yesterday voted for Ford (even if indirectly, by voting for a perfectly reasonable PC candidate in their riding), and they were predominantly those in the rural areas of southern Ontario. Now, I know that only actually amounts to 23%, which arguably is hardly a resounding mandate, but it's still more than voted for any other single party. And because of our hallowed first-past the post system and the vagaries of riding demographics, this has translated into a large Conservative majority of 76 - 40 - 7 - 1. And this will in turn result in a gradual (and possibly not-so-gradual) rolling back of the progressive advances of the last couple of decades.
Yes, it was largely a protest vote against a Liberal government that had overstayed its welcome, and a Premier that, for whatever reasons, people intensely dislike. I understand that, but a sensible, thinking person also considers the ramifications, and does not just blindly vote for the most obvious anti-Liberals, and I am not sure how much constructive thinking actually went on yesterday. And so now we have Doug Ford. The guy is an idiot, with no relevant political experience, no tact, and anger management issues. This cannot bode well for the province. The 60% of the voters who voted against him realize that; 40% apparently do not.
So, yes, I feel like I need to put a face to these people who, wittingly or even unwittingly, have chosen to do this to the place where I live. Certainly, we will probably live to look back nostalgically, even fondly, on Kathleen Wynne. Which is, in itself, a scary thought.

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