OUR CYNICISM IS PART OF LOW VOTER TURNOUT
CYNICISM ABOUT POLITICIANS, BUREAUCRATS and the system of governance, we’re told, has many of us turning away from politics.
Our distaste for how politics is done is partly to blame for falling voter turnout numbers, especially among young people.
Cynicism, in that assessment, breed disengagement. Many of us barely take notice. When we do, however, it’s usually because the government has done something even more corrupt and egregious than we’ve come to expect. That’s when we become involved enough to build up enough anger to vote the bums out at the next available opportunity.
That appears to be the case just now, courtesy of the long list of scandals and incompetence foisted on us by Kathleen Wynne’s government. The latest forecasts have the Liberals taking just five seats. The Progressive Conservatives are projected to take 67, while the NDP will vault in second place with 52.
Corruption is nothing new for Wynne and company – she’s been messing up since day-one. What would be new, however, is seeing something stick, especially given the party’s surprising win in 2014. Well, mostly surprising, as the public was generally fed up with the party, but it had secured – i.e. paid off – support from public sector unions, the same groups that took all the money but since switched allegiances to the NDP, which is promising even greater payoffs at the public’s expense.
What we have in Ontario – and, really, at all levels of government – is a reverse Robin Hood situation for the benefit of the votes government receives. There is, of course, an even smaller few who benefit even more – these are the big donors and benefactors who pull the strings.
Not that the public sector unions aren’t major benefactors, launching third-party front groups to support the provincial Liberals in elections past. The unions pour millions into such stunts.
Such financing is illegal at the federal level, but the corrupt Wynne government was beholden to the public sector unions for its grip on power. It would not do the right thing, under any circumstance.
In exchange for union support, the Liberals and NDP are determined to continue robbing Peter (reminder: that’s us) to pay Paul. They will happily run down the economy and make paupers of all before they will do what’s good for the people.
George Bernard Shaw was prescient about the practice: “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”
While nothing akin to the full-time lobbying and outright corruption of the corporate backers, the meddling of publicsector unions should be outlawed, as they are federally (not that there aren’t plenty of holes in the regulations). The government could easily eliminate all contributions, lobbying and third-party advertising, but there’s no will to do it.
Partisans turn a blind eye to all of the negatives, whether that’s in support of a particular party or a pet project. The rest of us look on apathetically, often resigned to the fact graft and corruption abound. A few note that incompetence is commonplace, from municipal bureaucracies through to the boardrooms of multinationals.
The only way that’s going to change is through the political will to push for true accountability. The politicians won’t do it, however, unless we force them to: they’re happy with a self-serving system that allows unfettered access to the cookie jar for themselves and their financial backers.