Ontario Election 2011: A Riot of Apathy

September 29, 2011 at 12:27 am (Uncategorized)

The Ontario Provincial election takes place on October 6, 2011.

OK, true confessions, as a left-communist, I pretty much think it doesn’t make any fundamental difference who wins the provincial election as they are all committed to the maintenance of capitalism. The choice really is vanilla, chocolate or strawberry.

But even by the usual standards of elections, there has been little to shake things up, and wake up even those who believe in the democratic system: no central issue, nothing, It’s possible that one of the parties will catch fire (or self immolate) after yesterday’s leaders; debate, but watching it, it’s hard to see how (if one of the leaders had actually caught fire that might have been interesting, but for the most part they all stuck to their respective scripts)   As I think about the 12 million or so people in Ontario, I’m suck that even by bourgeois standards, they choice  between these three seems particularly cruel.

 The Liberal Party who have governed Ontario since 2003 argue times are tough, but look how much we’ve done. Stick with us.

A couple of weeks back, Liberal candidate and my current MPP Kathleen Wynn appeared on my doorstep. Now Ms. Wynn and I have a somewhat interesting history. In my job I’m involved in adult education programmes and in 1998, the previous Conservative government took its axe to adult-ed. Teachers wages and benefits were cut, class size increased. 

In the run-up to the election which brough the liberal to power, Kathleen Wynn and others appeared on a panel discussion. Wynn promised that should the Liberals be elected they would change the funding formula introduced by the Conservatives.

When I confronted Wynn with this, she claimed the Liberals had changed the funding formula, but conceded that it hadn’t reached adult classrooms. She went on to argue that only the liberals would change it. So there the message was, true I haven’t done anything for you, but the Conservatives won’t and the NDP are too small to matter. Well, that’s a good reason.  

A few days ago, I received a (recorded nothing like a personal touch) phone call from the president of “my” union telling me to vote for Wynn because she was a progressive. Uh huh. A few days after the call, I saw Ms. Wynn on TV arguing that a vote for the NDP would help to elect the Conservatives. This always brings a smile to my face as it recalls the Communist Party of Great Britain’s line about the Trotskyist Revolutionary Communist Party during the Second World War: A Vote for Haston is a Vote for Hitler!

A few days after Wynn’s visit, the Progressive Conservative candidate Andrea Martin-Campbell stopped by. (Her campaign office is a few blocks from my house). Unfortunately, I wasn’t home, but she was nice enough to leave a sorry I missed you card. We weren’t sorry at all.

The Conservatives argue, times are tough and look how little the liberals have done. Vote for us and we’ll lower your taxes without cutting services (pretty much everyone in Toronto ought to be skeptical about that one as this was the promise Rob Ford made last year.  

Conservative leader Tim Hudak has muddled through looking very much like, well, an opposition leader and not much else.  The first big point he thought he had scored was to attack the Liberals for a program that gave tax breaks to business for employing new immigrants. Unfortunately, that went off-message as several candidates veered into territory of “immigrants taking our jobs.” The point was quietly dropped.

Instead, the Conservatives have switched to a low-taxes campaign. Ho hum.

The NDP argue, times are tough; you voted for Jack Layton, why not vote for us? The New Democratic Party who run a distant third in this riding have left me neither form literature nor recorded phone messages. As the NDP abandoned even their fig leaf rhetoric about social democracy they ever resemble Canadian Prime Minister Louis St-Laurant’s comment about liberals in a hurry. The NDP slogan putting people first always reminds me that in the U.S., corporations are people too.  

I should also mention that my riding also has candidates from the Green Party, the Freedom Party, the Communist Party and the Vegan-Environmental Party (the last do not even have a web site, just a Facebook page)

So while my earlier dismissal of the election may have seemed trite, there really isn’t much to choose from, and none of the parties offered will fundamentally change things. Yes, I prefer chocolate to strawberry and vanilla, but what if I don’t like ice-cream at all?

I’d like a society which is not based on profit. Not run according to the dictates of the law of value. Where people don’t go to bed hungry, where the rich and the powerful make decisions based on their interests. I’d like a society where the vile miserable things of this society have been abolished.

But that’s not on offer. Nor will it be. Not in this nor any other bourgoeis election. Once the dust has settled and one of the parties has been elected (Liberal or Tory minority is the prediction right now), a discussion about how to create that society, far away from parliament and the bourgeois parties might be a good idea.



  1. gmacmedia said,

    Greetings. The ice cream offerings are a bit different in China, have you considered a trip so as to sample their desserts? Enjoyed the post.

    • fischerzed said,

      Ah, I’ve never tried Chinese ice-cream, but the desserts I’ve sampled from the People’s Republic have not been to my liking; not sweet enough.

      If we’re dropping the ice-cream metaphor though, Chinese “socialism” isn’t for me either. It’s now and always has been a rather brutal state capitalism.

      I am fond of egg rolls though.

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