Fear, loathing, ef­fi­cien­cies

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - -- Richard Ma­honey richard@glen­gar­rynews.ca

Well, as we all know, in the wake of the On­tario pro­vin­cial elec­tion, we have a new govern­ment and Glen­gar­ryPrescott-Rus­sell has a new MPP. Time will tell whether any­thing re­ally new or bet­ter will be com­ing our way as a re­sult of the many new faces at Queen’s Park.

This time around we also had to ad­just to some new vot­ing meth­ods. And there were some glitches, ob­vi­ously. Fi­nal GPR re­sults came in early June 8 af­ter vot­ing there had been ex­tended to 10:30 p.m.

In the lead-up to the vote, Elec­tions On­tario had launched an in­for­ma­tion cam­paign to en­cour­age all ten mil­lion el­i­gi­ble elec­tors to en­sure they had their voter in­for­ma­tion cards, and thus, would not be im­peded in ex­er­cis­ing their demo­cratic rights.

How­ever, in many cases, the one-per­son, one-card con­cept was lost on some­body, or some com­puter, that was re­spon­si­ble for pro­cess­ing IDs.

Thus, cer­tain elec­tors ac­tu­ally re­ceived two VICs, each with a slightly vari­a­tion in names and ad­dresses.

The dual cards did, of course, il­licit much laugh­ter and mer­ri­ment among the re­cip­i­ents, who saw this as an­other con­fir­ma­tion that ro­bots are fal­li­ble. Some en­gaged in deep dis­cus- sions about the com­plex­ity of the hu­man con­di­tion, and the premise that all of us have dou­ble per­son­al­i­ties, sev­eral faces that we present to the world.

Alas, two cards did not en­ti­tle a per­son to cast two bal­lots, as was made very clear when twoiden­tity elec­tors ap­proached their polling sta­tion. Work­ers there po­litely told them that the two-for-one for­mula did not ap­ply when it came to elec­tions.

What kind of bal­lots did you get? At cer­tain polls, the con­ven­tio­nanl fold­ing bal­lot was shoved through a slot in a box. How­ever, at other polls, a file folder method was in­tro­duced, os­ten­si­bly to im­prove the process. Af­ter mak­ing their mark, vot­ers lined up to wait for their bal­lots to be sucked into a counter doohicky. Hey, noth­ing is per­fect. Did you feel good about the sim­ple act of casting a bal­lot? Some did, re­gard­less of the out­come of the elec­tion.

Cer­tain peo­ple rel­ish the shared ex­pe­ri­ence, the col­lec­tive ac­tion, where ev­ery­one, a group of in­di­vid­u­als from all strata of so­ci­ety, par­tic­i­pated in a com­mon ac­tiv­ity.

As an added bonus, get­ting out to vote en­ables a per­son to catch up on the news with the neigh­bours, and in at least one com­mu­nity cen­tre, even get a pre­view of a garage sale.

Rea­sons for vot­ing are as var­ied as vot­ers them­selves.

There were many who came out be­cause they ab­so­lutely loved one party, hated a can­di­date, feared a cer­tain pol­icy, loathed one per­son’s par­tic­u­lar po­si­tion, or sim­ply cast bal­lots be­cause it seemed to be the right thing to do. And, of course, pol­i­tics can be per­sonal. For ex­am­ple, as if the Lib­eral ban­ner was not a heavy enough bur­den to bear, Pierre Ler­oux was lam­basted by some vot­ers in Cham­plain Town­ship be­cause as mayor of Rus­sell, and a mem­ber of Prescott-Rus­sell united coun­ties coun­cil, he voted in favour of a con­tentious ce­ment plant project near L’Orig­nal.

Mr. Ler­oux and GPR’s new Con­ser­va­tive MPP Amanda Si­mard spent much of the cam­paign snip­ing at each other. Strate­gies to earn votes also vary. You need a good ground game to cul­ti­vate grass-roots sup­port.

The Tory rep­re­sen­ta­tive was ab­sent from de­bates. In fact, at an Em­brun meet­ing, in front of an empty chair, her image was stuck on a milk car­ton, un­der “Miss­ing.”

Avoid­ing de­bates is usu­ally not a wise po­lit­i­cal move.

How­ever, the Con­ser­va­tive can­di­date con­cen­trated on door-todoor blitzes, which are time-con­sum­ing but ef­fec­tive.

Also worth­while are old-fash­ioned elec­tion signs, which dom­i­nated ditches, curbs and weed patches for weeks be­fore De­ci­sion Day.

Iron­i­cally, while ap­a­thy con­tin­ues to be a prob­lem, fu­ture elec­tors are chomp­ing at the bit to make their views known, in mock elec­tions.

More than 280,000 ele­men­tary and high school stu­dents par­tic­i­pated in the Stu­dent Vote pro­gram. In the make-be­lieve elec­tion, the NDP formed the govern­ment with 66 seats. How­ever, in area schools, stu­dents re­flected the real pat­tern, with Con­ser­va­tives Jim McDonell and Ms. Si­mard get­ting the ma­jor­ity of stu­dent bal­lots. In­ter­est­ingly, though, in lo­cal schools, the NDP was a strong sec­ond.

Mean­while, back in the real world, when all is said and done, we get the govern­ment we de­serve.

The post-pro­vin­cial elec­tion pe­riod will give us a chance to catch our breath and look ahead to the mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion cam­paigns, if there are any.

Un­less there is a surge of con­tenders be­tween now and the July 27 nom­i­na­tion dead­line, the 2018 mu­nic­i­pal and school board elec­tions could be a snorefest.

As Premier Doug Ford has proven, one need not draw up a com­plex, wide-rang­ing plat­form to win the hearts and votes of the masses.

There­fore, if any new coun­cil and school board can­di­dates do even­tu­ally ma­te­ri­al­ize, they would be ad­vised to make vague ref­er­ences to find­ing ef­fi­cien­cies, and cut­ting ex­penses. No de­tails would be re­quired.

Ev­ery­one loves ef­fi­cien­cies, as long as ef­fi­cien­cies do not af­fect them ad­versely.

Yet, one, non­par­ti­san, topic that can be safely dis­cussed is the need to make our waste dis­posal sys- tems more ef­fi­cient.

Plas­tic bot­tles are killing seabirds, clog­ging our water­ways and us­ing up valu­able land­fill ca­pac­ity.

Plus, the pro­vin­cial govern­ment,

Lo­cal elec­tions threaten be a snorefest.

prior to the Ford Na­tion Vic­tory, had been warn­ing con­sumers about the pre­pon­der­ance of left­overs.

“Ad­dress­ing food and or­ganic waste is a big part of the story. In a lin­ear econ­omy, large vol­umes of food and or­ganic re­sources are wasted, with few op­por­tu­ni­ties or in­cen­tives to pre­vent waste be­fore it oc­curs,” the prov­ince posted on one of its web pages.

In 2015, On­tar­i­ans gen­er­ated about 3.7 mil­lion tonnes of food and or­ganic waste, which in­cludes food that could have been eaten or re­pur­posed, as well as un­avoid­able waste, such as food scraps and veg­etable peel­ings. About 60 per cent of this was sent to land­fill.

The amount of food wasted each year is par­tic­u­larly stag­ger­ing. In Canada, about $31 bil­lion worth of food is wasted an­nu­ally. This equates to about $868 worth of food wasted per per­son per year.

Con­sumers are re­spon­si­ble for the largest share of food waste, at ap­prox­i­mately 47 per cent of to­tal food waste. The re­main­ing food waste is gen­er­ated along the sup­ply chain, where food is grown, pro­cessed, trans­ported and sold.

The res­i­den­tial sec­tor gen­er­ates about 55 per cent of all food and or­ganic waste in the prov­ince.

Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have made good progress in keep­ing food and or­ganic waste from be­ing sent to dis­posal. In 2015, On­tario’s mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties re­cov­ered over one mil­lion tonnes of food and or­ganic waste from the res­i­den­tial sec­tor, in­clud­ing about 480,000 tonnes of green bin waste and 540,000 tonnes of leaf and yard waste. This trans­lates to a re­cov­ery rate of nearly 50 per cent.

We could al­ways do bet­ter.

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