Hold your nose if you have to, but vote!

Po­ten­tial low voter turnout makes ev­ery vote mat­ter even more by Ron John­son

North Toronto Post - - Contents - RON JOHN­SON

It’s funny: in most elec­tions I’ve rarely voted for one of the big three par­ties. As some­one who con­sid­ers cli­mate change to be the defin­ing is­sue of my gen­er­a­tion, I tend to side with the Green Party even though to many that amounts to a wasted vote. I’m used to los­ing and con­sider it as play­ing the long game. That be­ing said, this elec­tion does seem dif­fer­ent, and as a re­sult, I think — like a lot of peo­ple — I’m re­tool­ing my strat­egy.

There is a stark choice be­fore On­tar­i­ans this month. The prov­ince has never been more po­lar­ized, and that is not a good thing.

It seems as though there is lit­tle com­mon ground upon which we can all stand.

If you are in favour of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions and work­ing to­ward home­grown so­lu­tions to cli­mate change and the shrink­ing mid­dle class, you are deemed an ex­trem­ist and a down­town elite.

Be­ing pro-busi­ness and trade doesn’t have to mean that you want Don­ald Trump–style pop­ulism and rhetoric, and that we should start tear­ing up the Green­belt for de­vel­op­ment. But doesn’t it seem that way based on the cam­paign rhetoric?

Yes, a mushy mid­dle does ex­ist, and yes, I be­lieve it is much larger than most ad­mit, es­pe­cially in this elec­tion when many would like a change in gov­ern­ment but have real and long­stand­ing is­sues with the cur­rent crop of pro­vin­cial party lead­ers.

There are so many con­flicted voters that it is hard to imag­ine polls be­ing in any way ac­cu­rate.

So far, although there has been an es­ca­la­tion in fact-de­fi­cient cam­paign prom­ises and per­sonal at­tacks, we have yet to ap­proach the zany and of­fen­sive be­hav­iour that char­ac­ter­izes Amer­i­can elec­tion­eer­ing.

But we are get­ting there. And all that does is turn peo­ple off of the process and away from the ac­tual is­sues by which we should be mea­sur­ing our can­di­dates. Per­haps that ben­e­fits those who are light on sub­stance but heavy on slo­gans.

Hope­fully enough peo­ple will see be­yond the baf­fle­gab and take a long, hard look at the plat­forms as well as the past ex­pe­ri­ence of the lead­ers.

Dur­ing the last cou­ple of elec­tions On­tario has hov­ered around the 50 per cent mark in voter turnout, and that just isn’t good enough this time around. We need to do bet­ter. Per­haps we should con­sider a sys­tem such as Aus­tralia’s where res­i­dents are ac­tu­ally fined if they don’t vote.

I think that peo­ple are hav­ing a hard time with this one be­cause of how im­por­tant it re­ally is and how im­por­tant the is­sues re­ally are. But that’s democ­racy for you. No­body ever said it was easy. So get out and vote!

Kath­leen Wynne and Doug Ford, not too pop­u­lar with voters

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