What’s in store for 2007? I doubt there will be a lack of things to blog about!
There is a provincial election scheduled for sometime in October, the first of it’s kind in this province. I don’t doubt Howard Hampton when he says “I expect we’ll see 10 months of photo ops and press conferences.” On the other hand, the government doesn’t get to choose when to call the election, so I suppose it’s a worthy trade-off.
With the election still ten months away and polls reasonably close, it’s anybody’s game. Well, anybody except the NDP. Regardless of how well Bob Rae did at the Liberal leadership convention, his ghost still haunts the Ontario NDP. Still, this being the first election since the departure of Mike Harris, vote-splitting, and all that fun, the NDP stands to gain a handful of percentage points at least. But I digress. It is more accurate, and less distracting, to say the election comes down to Dalton McGuinty and John Tory.
I think McGuinty has done a decent job leading the Liberal government so far. Things were a bit shaky at first with the infamous broken promises and budget deficits, but aided by a cooperative economy things have gone (un)remarkably smoothly of late.
Tory has spent his brief time running the PC party by building up a personal image of respectability without committing to anything too substantial. The impression I’m getting is that he will govern more-or-less like the Liberals, except more honestly. He has cast himself, successfully I think, as a Bill Davis PC: Big on common sense and pragmatism, where common sense is always uncapitalized and never revolutionary.
All this leaves me pretty apathetic about the election, because either way we are going to end up with a pretty decent government. I’ll probably vote for the Liberals at the end of it all, only because they are already known and tested. But who knows what will happen in the intervening months. I certainly wouldn’t have to choke back my own bile to cast a ballot for John Tory, and I won’t lose any sleep if the pull ahead in the polls.
Speaking of losing sleep…
Stephen Harper is our Prime Minister. This whole business of minority governments is too complicated for me to follow without quitting my day job, so I won’t even speculate about when the government is going to fall or under what conditions. What I can tell you is I will not, under any conditions, be voting for a Conservative. I had high hopes after the last election, but they were quickly dashed. It makes me angry just thinking about it, and a bit nervous thinking about how much worse it could be.
Setting aside all that, I was very impressed with most of the Liberal leadership hopefuls, and have a good feeling about Stephane Dion. I’m glad too that Michael Ignatieff is now deputy-leader or whatever title they gave him. It would have been a shame (and a very bad way to signal “renewal”) if they had ostracized such a smart guy. Compared to the last few years, the Liberals have a bright future ahead.
I voted for the NDP candidate in the last election because it was the best way to vote against the Liberals without voting for the Conservatives. However, the way the NDP has been trying to work with the Harper government while criticizing the Liberals only makes sense in an abstract way. In practice, the enemy of your enemy should not be your friend when your party is as idealistic as the NDP usually is. Wearing the Liberals’ clothes does not become New Democrats.
And don’t forget about the Greens! They have a new leader who comes off a bit, shall we say, flowery compared to Jim Harris, but there’s no denying they have momentum. Could we see our first Green MP in 2007?
It doesn’t look dull from here, and we haven’t even stumbled across the best unexpected stuff yet.
*credit where credit is due