I’ve been busy, and so I haven’t written about the Ontario Provincial Election. We go to the polls on this Thursday. If you live in Ontario, get out and VOTE!
But let’s look at a couple of things that are happening politically in Ontario…
Ontario is the most populous and richest Canadian province. It is the manufacturing hub of Canada, and is home to mining, forestry, and farming.
For a 42 year period Ontario was ruled by back to back Progressive Conservative governments. Control finally slipped from the PC Party when Bill Davis and Frank Miller lead the Big Blue Machine to ruin. At least that’s my view on what happened. This is politics, and everyone has their own view.
This is where it gets fun. When a party looses power, it often changes its policies. Let’s look at the chart of the premiers of Ontario, which indicates when elections occurred.
1981 – 1985
Progressive Conservatives – End of 42 years of Progressive Conservative rule. During this time the Progressive Conservative party had become very centrist.
1985 – 1990
Liberals – In many ways very close the Progressive Conservatives politically.
1990 – 1995
New Democratic Party – In many ways very close the Liberals politically. In fact the man who was the NDP Premier of Ontario during this time, Bob Rae, is the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.
1995 – 1999
Progressive Conservatives – As a reaction to loosing power, the Progressive Conservative party moved dramatically to the right. This appeared to work since they won the election. This also marked Tony Clement’s entry into elected politics.
1999 – 2003
Progressive Conservatives – The party moved slightly back towards the center with a change in leadership.
2003 – 2007
Liberals – The Liberals, who had moved right, won this election. Effectively the Liberals were now to the right of both the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals of 1985 were, but to the left of where the 1995, 1999, and 2003 Progressive Conservatives were. The New Democratic Party was politically about where the Progressive Conservatives and Liberals of 1985 were.
2007 – 2011
Liberals – All three parties stayed in about the same places for the 2007 election.
This is where it gets fun. The Progressive Conservative Party has taken a hard right, apparently inspired by the Federal Conservative Government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Meanwhile Ontario voters seem to have finally realized that Bob Rae was a Trudeau style spendthrift Liberal, and not really a New Democrat. This has given Andrea Horvath a huge boost in popular support, and made Dalton McGuinty more than a bit nervous. Meanwhile Tim Hudak is sitting on the sidelines. By the numbers he could win a Pyrrhic Victory, by winning the most seats, but not be able to govern by being outnumbered by the other two parties.
Where does this take us?
That’s a really good question. It looks like the New Democratic Party has made the breakthrough that they’ve tried to make for years. In some provinces this won’t matter. Alberta for instance is so heavily Conservative, that the Liberals and the New Democrats take very few seats.
In Ontario it could cause a huge switch. In the last Federal election a lot of people voted Conservative out of fear of the New Democrats. If they aren’t scared of the New Democrats any more, the Conservatives will lose votes. So will the Liberals, but it is the Conservatives who will be hurt the most. But that is Federally. What about Provincially?
We could see a series of New Democrat provincial governments arising. This could cause the federal government a lot of trouble. Or if the Federal Conservative Government is really effective, maybe we’ll see a series of provincial Conservative governments.
My suspicion is that we are in for interesting times.
Monday October 3, 2011