Remember the good old days when a few of our politicians actually elicited a modicum of respect from their constituents? I suspect even the Liberals admired the fairness, integrity, and honest sense of public service demonstrated by such politicians as former Premier of Ontario, Bill Davis back in the sixties. As Minister of Education under Premier John Robarts, Davis created Ontario’s community college system and TV Ontario. And, that was before he even became Premier.
We miss being able to trust the people who are elected to represent our best interests, not their own or those of their lobbying cronies. Will we ever see a John F. Kennedy, a John Robarts, or a Bill Davis again? Didn’t we once refer to him as Uncle Bill?
It has been a few years since I’ve had the stomach to watch a pre-election town hall debate on television. The routine is painfully predictable. Each party leader identifies everything that is wrong with our economy, our society, and their opponents. Inflation. Jobs. Affordable housing. Infrastructure. Environment. Indigenous rights. Then they proclaim they’re going to fix it but they offer no concrete plans or solutions to those problems. All the issues get rehashed every four years and little ever gets resolved by whatever government is elected.
We’ve taken our share of hits of fiscal irresponsibility from the Liberals and lots of talking and no action from the Conservatives. After giving the NDP a shot at running Ontario under Bob Rae a few years ago, we learned enough to never make that mistake again. Sadly, too often we’re forced to pick the lesser of the evils. We endure empty promises which are always broken because of “the mess left by the former government”. We need a “New Deal”.
As a retired boomer, I am particularly concerned about the lack of safe and comfortable accommodation for seniors in long-term care facilities. The COVID pandemic brought this home in a brutal and tragic way. Instead of creating an environment that can attract and keep qualified professional medical staff and caregivers, our governments have accepted second-best and created an environment that makes nurses, doctors, specialist technicians, and caregivers turn away from health care, diminishing already critical shortages of staff. I hope I die in my sleep in my own home before I have to go into long-term care.
The only blessing in the cycle of elections is that in Canada we have strict time limits on campaigning. Praise the lord. The B.S. and campaign of lies never stop in the United States and they are forced to endure one continuous right-wing rally.
Democracy is an incredible privilege and its fragility is becoming painfully evident and seriously eroded in what was once the shining beacon of democracy—The United States. The quality of candidates there is also diminished and we’re bereft of principled, intelligent individuals who are genuinely prepared to work for the people they represent, not just the lobbyists.
When I vote in the next few days, it will be with a feeling of “Is that all there is?”. Do I vote for Eeny, Meeney, Miney, or Mo? The last couple of years have been a challenge, a chance for our governments to rise above partisan politics, which they did, briefly at the beginning of COVID. But at least their differences are not a threat to democracy like they are in the U.S.
There is a lot of work still to be done but we need more than promises. We need new ideas and results, conceived and delivered with integrity and honesty. Is that asking too much?
“Bill Davis, if you’re listening up there in heaven, send us a sign that there’s hope.” Also, if you still have any influence, could you do something about that sin tax on Canadian Club. My husband is finding it harder and harder to enjoy his daily Manhattan at $60+ per bottle, compared with $14.99 for a 1.75 L bottle in the United States. It’s enough to make us consider moving to the U.S. Naah! We’re still much better off here, even with our usurious liquor prices. Right?