On June 12, Ontarians need to get out and vote

ThgeStar.com – Opinion/Editorials – With experts predicting a record low turnout, it’s even more vital that Ontarians take the time to vote on Thursday.
Jun 10 2014.   Editorial 

For 41 days, the politicians have had their say. Tomorrow it will be your turn.

And yet by all early indications, Ontarians may set a new record for non-participation in this provincial election. Advance poll numbers are down by 6 per cent compared with the 2011 campaign; that follows a decline in election-day voting of some 12 percentage points since 1990.

Perhaps this year’s campaign has been marred by too much negativity. Or maybe there are so many undecided voters, displeased with all the options, that they’re waiting for June 12 to make a final decision and vote.

Whatever the reason behind the low numbers, this campaign provides many good reasons to reverse that downward trend.

No matter which party prevails on Thursday, the Liberals, Progressive Conservatives or the NDP, Ontario is at a political crossroads. And it’s far better if a substantial number of voters make their voices heard and set the province’s new direction.

The choices are stark, to say the least. From one day to the next, polls have swung between the Liberals under Leader Kathleen Wynne and Tim Hudak’s Progressive Conservatives, with the Andrea Horwath and the NDP consistently placing third.

Wynne is offering a progressive platform with promises for investments in jobs, health and transit while eliminating Ontario’s $12.5 billion deficit on schedule in 2017-18.

Hudak is promising austerity, including the loss of 100,000 public service jobs, likely in education and health, in order to eliminate deficit one year earlier. And Horwath’s plan mimics the Liberals, while tossing in a few populist goodies like a cut to the provincial HST on electricity bills.

Given the divergent political views — and the Star has already made clear itsview that Wynne and the Liberals have earned a new mandage – much of the population will be dissatisfied. That’s to be expected.

But when the political direction could swing dramatically to the right, or veer to the left, it’s far better to register your view on the province’s future. Jobs, education, social services and health care are at risk. As the cliché goes, if you don’t vote, don’t complain.

Still, unless something changes dramatically overnight, it’s likely that voter turnout will continue its downward slide. As the Star’s Richard Brennanreports, Democracy Watch predicts a turnout of just 45 per cent, down from 48.2 per cent in 2011. “I think we will hit a record low, unfortunately,” says spokesperson Duff Conacher. That’s a shame.

While many voters seem uninterested in all options, others are displeased with the negative turn of the campaign, especially in the final stretch.

From the early days, Hudak and Horwath have attacked the Liberals as “corrupt,” while Wynne only recently got into the game, claiming that a vote for the NDP is actually a vote for Hudak.

However uninspiring, that’s hardball politics. It’s no reason to avoid exercising your personal responsibility to ensure that democracy is upheld.

With that in mind, here’s another cliché: we get the leader we deserve. On Thursday, just go vote.

< http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2014/06/10/on_june_12_ontarians_need_to_get_out_and_vote_editorial.html >

1 Comment

  1. As noted in this article, the number of registered voters has gone down significantly. As a Canadian citizen working in the Social Work field it is most important that we come together and exercise our right and responsibility to vote. Voting can address our personal concerns, such as caseload standards, and workplace safety. Casting a vote is a privilege. We get the chance to make clear, informed choices about what kind of future we want for ourselves, potential service users, and children.
    Voting is one of the easiest and most direct ways to influence how your city, province, country is governed. The importance of participating in the democratic process is that it gives a voice to the public. The decline in voter turnout gives more power to a smaller portion of the population to decide who will be in power, and therefore who will create and implement the policies that affect all of us. Many people don’t realize that politics affect and influence almost every aspect of our lives, and that by gaining an interest in voting and the ideology behind each political party can actually become a source of empowerment. With increased interest and increased voter turnout, people who share similar ideals and have similar goals, be it increasing the amount people on OW receive or more investment in health care or education, come together and vote when they haven’t before, then actually see the changes they hoped for take place. This could help people realize that they do have power, and a say in how the city/province/country is run.

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