On June 7, Ontarians gathered to cast their ballots and elect the next government of Ontario. Among them was Doug Ford, just a couple of months into his tenure as leader of the province’s Progressive Conservatives.
Ford was grinning broadly, making his way to his own polling station with his family. A reporter asked a simple question.
"So Doug, today's the big day. Do you know who you're voting for?"
Ford laughed in his charming and easy-going manner. Never one to be taken by surprise, he answered quickly and confidently.
"Absolutely, the choice couldn't be clearer. Ontario has been waiting for a long time for a government that it can trust, one with a proven leader, one that will take it in the right direction into the future." He paused, his face suddenly taking on a meaningful clarity. "That's why I'm voting NDP."
There were gasps from his supporters who had joined him on his march to bring in a new government and sweep aside 15 years of Liberal mismanagement. His family stared at him, aghast. One of the blonde ones fainted. Someone asked him if he had lost his mind.
"Maybe! After all, a few months ago I thought Torontonians would want me as their mayor," he responded breezily.
"But the truth is that there will be other elections. There will always be a new opportunity to elect a new government if the next one fails us. Even if this doesn't go my way, I know that the electorate will hold the next government accountable regardless of whether it's a minority or majority, and everything will be just fine in the end.”
He paused in uncharacteristic contemplation.
"Plus it gives me the time I need to learn what provincial politics is all about, maybe come up with an election platform. Time offers endless possibilities."
Sadly Doug Ford did not get his way this time. Less than an hour into the tallying of the votes it was clear that his party would get a majority. This was largely on the efforts of the Liberals, whose reign could easily be summed up by the smug indifference displayed by Wynne in her poorly advised #SorryNotSorry campaign.
After a decade and a half of doing whatever they wanted—consequences be damned—the Liberals opened the doors for another government to do the same. It seems that voting has become an act of electoral retribution rather than a means of changing things for the better.
In the long run, this may turn out to be a good thing for the province, a warning similar to the one to the south where rage overturned reason (and the political climate is admittedly different). In the short term, at least the beer will be cheaper, which is one way of softening the blow to a province whose apathy is unfortunately understandable. Cheers!