Musings —06.09.2014 06:30 PM—
Disgusting, dispiriting, deflating: Ontario’s 2014 election campaign has been all of those things, and more.
It is coming to a blessed end in two days’ time. But this grinding, joyless farce has given voters no shortage of reasons to refuse to participate. A sampling:
· Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne said on the weekend that Ontario’s NDP – with whom she has happily partnered for more than a year – were “Rob Ford-like.” That’s a quote.
· New Democrat leader Andrea Horwath – who has been the Liberals’ willing supplicant for more than a year – now calls Wynne and the Grits “corrupt” every chance she gets.
· Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak, in his centerpiece economic “Million Jobs Plan,” says that “person years of employment” is the same thing as “jobs.” This means that he has over-estimated the number of jobs in his plan by a factor of eight. His plan should be called the “125,000 Jobs Plan.”
And so on, and so on. It has been, as noted, dispiriting. The party leaders have revealed nothing to inspire us. Turnout will be historically low, and they will have no one but themselves to blame.
There is more than enough blame to go around, however. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) deserve plenty for subverting democracy, too.
For those who fortuitously do not live here, the OPP are (as the name implies) our provincial police force. They are Ontario’s largest, numbering in the thousands. They carry guns and – lately – they have involved themselves in politics. A lot.
In the case of the aforementioned Rob Ford, the OPP went to great lengths to discredit the years-long effort of the Toronto Police Force to investigate Ford’s penchant for associating with drug-dealers. Videotapes notwithstanding, the OPP declared there was “no new evidence” that could be used in a prosecution of Ford, and thereby let Mayor Crackhead off the hook.
Then, there was the case of deleted emails at Queen’s Park, which weren’t actually deleted – they all still exist, in Ontario government servers out in Guelph. The OPP was undeterred: one of their officers appeared before a provincial legislative committee, and falsely stated that the supposed deleter of the emails wouldn’t speak to them (he would), and that the emails were gone (they weren’t). He did this under oath.
Then, mid-campaign, the OPP’s union started running attack ads against Hudak’s PCs. The ads said that Hudak would cause “labour strife” and urged voters to vote for anybody but him.
The OPP officers were constitutionally entitled to broadcast the ads. But in a democracy, the people we give guns and great power – the police, the military – shouldn’t ever be seen during election campaigns, much less heard from.
The OPP’s management, observing the backlash against their union’s Third World-style boot-stomping of democracy, decided to compensate. It leaked details of the Queen’s Park emails investigation – a criminal investigation – to the media. They, like their union, had decided to try and affect the outcome of the election by subverting the Liberals.
Nobody knows who will be Ontario’s next Premier. But if it’s either Hudak or Wynne, nobody would blame either leader for disbanding the despicable OPP, which is officially of control and, inarguably, completely lawless.
Weep for Ontario, Canada. Things are bad, here.