Political discourse – of course!

Just Desserts.

(please click on title for full text.)

March 7th, 2009

Something delicious happened in Ontario politics on Friday.

As reported in the Toronto Star, the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives lost a by- election and has no seat in the Legislature. ( For our American cousins, we have a Parliamentary system up here which means, among other things, that, for a short period of time, a political party can have a leader that hasn’t won an election and doesn’t really hold an elected office. Or, in this case, has lost an election. When this happens, said leader has to scramble around looking for a seat.)

So, a Progressive Conservative candidate lost in a PC stronghold. That’s good enough for celebrating in and of itself, but the best part is who he lost to. A musician! Yep, the guy has 5 albums of children’s music out there. He has a rather impressive public service resume’ as well but that fact that he’s a musician just makes his victory all the more sweet as the PC’S have been brutally cutting our Arts programs both provincially and nationally.

So, why did a Tory, named Tory, lose in a Tory riding?  I think there are a couple of things at work here. The most obvious one (and one which the writers of the article pointed out) is that people vote their own self interest.  A Liberal government is in charge in Ontario which means they are going to write all the checks from the Federal Stimulus money when it comes in.

(When is it coming in by the way?)

I think the other motivation here is more subtle. I think people resent unfair aspects of our political system. I am referring to the one where an elected official steps aside during a campaign for office and lets someone else run in his or her place.  Voters had elected a particular person to represent their riding and they didn’t like having their will usurped by the system. ( I know that we really vote for the party of our choice and the particular person shouldn’t matter – but lets face it-to us, it does matter. ) So, here comes a guy parachuting in from another riding 100 kms away and claims he can represent the locals better than one of their own. It didn’t go over very well. In fact, it didn’t go over at all.

So, score one for the voters! Now if we could only get rid of that pesky, “First Past The Post” system……

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