A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted June 3rd 2022 on Niagara At Large
By know, most of us know that Doug Ford and his Conservatives won an even larger majority than they did last time in this June 2nd Ontario election.
But who or what were the big losers?
Starting with the politicians and opposition parties, Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca lost his bid to win a seat for himself in the provincial legislature, leaving him with little choice but to step down as leader of a party that also failed to win enough seats (it only chalked up eight this time) to recover party status.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath managed to hold on to her seat in Hamilton and win enough seats to keep Official Opposition Party status. But her party’s share of seats and votes were lower than they were in the 2018 election and she, too, stepped down as leader.
As for Ontario’s fledgling Green Party, its leader Mike Schreiner won back his seat in the Guelph area and managed to increase its win of the vote from about four to six per cent. But the party failed to win more than the one seat that the party’s leader holds.
You could also make a strong argument, based on Ford’s record of the past four years and the promises he has made for the next four that our natural environment, our farmlands, and public services like health care and education were also big losers.
But perhaps the biggest loser of all was our democracy.
While Ford’s win was huge in the sense that his Conservatives won a total of 83 seats – seven more than they won in 2018 – compared to 31 for the NDP, nine for the Liberals and one for the Green party, that win was produced by an estimated 40 per cent of the total vote.
And to make clear how thin the support for Ford’s party really is, that 40 per cent came from less than half of Ontario’s eligible voters because the voter turnout in this provincial election was only 43 per cent compared to 57 per cent in 2018 and 52 per cent in 2014 which were pretty pathetic turnouts as well.
Try chewing on that for a while – Less than 50 per cent of the less than 50 percent of eligible voters who bothered to cast a ballot in this provincial election contributed to Ford’s “big win.”
One looks at the voter turnout alone and thinks about the people of Ukraine now fighting and sacrificing their lives to continue living in a free and open democracy.
In that sense alone, how disappointing that less than half of Ontario’s eligible voters even bothered to go to the polls.
At the moment it leaves this journalist wondering if I will be able to contain my anger if an when those who voted for Ford this time and when those who did not bother to vote at all begin to complain about what his government might do to services and safeguards in this province that matter to their lives.
In the meantime, I need at least a few hours’ break away from mourning the outcome of this election, starting now.
Doug Draper, Niagara At Large
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