Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thoughts on McGuinty Exit: Ms. Horwath, meet Mr. Hudak ...

Some quick thoughts upon news that Ontario's provincial Parliament has been prorogued until such time as the Ontario Liberal party has selected a new leader and that new leader has decided to reconvene the legislature.
The NDP leadear and the Progressive Conservative leader should find a way to put together a temporary government and set an election date for a time in 2013 that allows the Liberals to select a new leader (I'd suggest March).
There is not little doubt that the government will accomplish little in the intervening period regardless, so I think the relevant point is whether our democracy in Ontario - and democracies in B.C., and Canada in general - is well serviced by the cult of personality extending to leaders being able to discard the daily rituals of the democracy.

To be clear, all 3 of our traditional parties did poorly last election.

Ms. Horwath, you brought your NDP to their best performance since the NDP lost government in 1995 - but you were well behind that Rae loss as a percentage of eligible voters - as a percentage of the potential vote only Howard Hampton has performed more poorly than you did last election.

Mr. Hudak, you managed to eclipse the performances, by the same metric of share of eligible voters, of Frank Miller, John Tory, and the first election with Mike Harris as leader (1990).  I suppose there is some solace in that.

Accompanying these poor performances was the performance of the victorious Liberals, who collected their lowest share of eligible voters in the past 7 decades.

The decline in voter participation illustrated by these poor figures is a problem for democracy, and that problem is exacerbated by rogue prorogues.

Enough with the blather about respecting democracy and compromising.
Do so.

History indicates that party leaders general fail at achieving government in their first election - so the odds are one of you will be the next Premier of Ontario anyway.
Prepare for that eventuality jointly, from the government perspective.

Get together and enter a caretaker government agreement until the next election - not because you'll accomplish something as a government, but because you will have accomplished something by doing so.

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