The street is clear and the goals are dragged back out. The call is yelled – “Game on” – and the players battle again for the puck. We are not writing about classic game of street hockey, but of the Ontario election. Voters will head to polls June 2. Unofficially the election has been on for the past six months with parties jostling and posturing.
There are many issues that need to be addressed during this election. Provincially those issues are the economy, inflation, the infrastructure deficit, the housing crisis, education, health care, and the fall out from two years of the pandemic. Four years ago a more austere government was elected, but dealing with the largest public health crisis in a century has thrown austerity out the window.
Local issues in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry include all the above, plus ensuring this riding receives an equitable share of the pie through effective representation. This riding means everywhere from Hallville to Iroquois, Curry Hill to Moose Creek, and every point between. All areas of SDSG matter, just as all areas of the province should be treated equitably.
Before the official campaign began, we saw inequities. Infrastructure spending has been unfair. Kudos to areas like Prescott, Kemptville and Brockville for their windfalls. In comparison SDSG has received less provincial money despite having a larger population. This inequity is echoed in health care and education through access and spending as well. It really highlights the importance of having an effective person representing our riding at Queen’s Park.
Also concerning is that for the last six months, the Progressive Conservative Party has used its position as government to not-so-subtly campaign. That is not a new thing: all governments do it, most governments do not table their budget less than a week before the election call. That leaves the most important financial document for a government to die on the order paper. Premier Doug Ford did this.
Another concern is seeing a parachute candidate for the local NDP again. There is utter disarray of that party’s riding association at the hands of the provincial apparatchik. All candidates in a riding should live in the riding they want to represent.
This is going to be a difficult election campaign. This is a tough political climate. Here is what The Leader would like to see in this campaign. Good, respectful political discourse. A frank discussion of where this riding, and this province, are going. What are citizens’ priorities, needs, and wants? How will each party address these?
Here is what we do not want to see: vitriol, bullying, insults, and pandering. There are more options for people to choose from including parties aligned with recent protests and occupations. The tactics of yelling and insulting opponents on the campaign trail is intolerable. Pandering to the masses and playing to the lowest-common-denominator is too.
Most of all, we want to see an informed electorate making informed decisions at the ballot box. Read the paper. Talk to candidates. Read the party platforms. Educate yourself and decide who you want to represent you at Queen’s Park.