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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rob Ford wins as voters send politicians of all stripes a message

Last night’s Ontario municipal election results has a cautionary message for both conservatives and progressives alike: incumbents beware! Voter dissatisfaction is not directed at a particular party or political philosophy, but rather at incumbents who believe they have a right to treat taxpayers’ money in any way they please.

The election of Mayor-elect Rob Ford should provide a warning to the Dalton McGuinty Liberals that there is a limit to taxpayers’ patience, regardless of how much voters may agree with one’s general political philosophy.

Mayor David Miller sensed the mood of the electorate and decided not to contest the election. Joe Pantalone did not, and he was spanked by voters with only a pathetic 11.7 per cent supporting the deputy mayor.

Even after his drubbing, Pantalone still hasn’t gotten the message. Mr. Pantalone said, in part, last night. “… he [Rob Ford] does not have a strong mandate for radical, drastic change—á la Mike Harris.”

For goodness sake, if defeating a former Liberal deputy premier and current deputy mayor with a handsome 47.1 per cent of the ballots cast is not a “strong mandate,” just what would be?

It’ll be bye-bye, Dalton McGuinty, this time next year if the current mood holds, but Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak and his team are going to have to earn victories riding by riding.

Bold action will be required to right the good ship Ontario and Hudak had better be able to concisely articulate just how his party intends to do that. Rob Ford had the stomach for such a message vis-à-vis the City of Toronto. Can Tim Hudak do so as well, or will we be fed more tepid fare? I hope for the former, but fear we’ll get the latter.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

6 comments — This is a moderated blog and comments will appear when approved. Please don’t resubmit if your comment doesn’t appear immediately, and please do not post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable.

  1. This signals the beginning of the end for McGuinty and his leftist revolution. Even his elitist lefty Toronto support has abandonded him. I am sooo enjoying this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Last night’s Ontario municipal election results has a cautionary message for both conservatives and progressives alike: incumbents beware! Voter dissatisfaction is not directed at a particular party or political philosophy, but rather at incumbents who believe they have a right to treat taxpayers’ money in any way they please."

    We often disagree Russ, but you are totally correct about that. Look as well at the number of right and left councillors like Cliff Jenkins who got turfed last night.

    If you look across the province in London, Vaughan, Ottawa, even Calgary or in the NB and NS elections... incumbents are getting slaughtered.

    That does not bode well for incumbents, but especially incumbents who are career politicians. McGuinty, Charest and Harper are all very vulnerable.

    For McGuinty, he's had a mixed result here: Smitherman was his deputy and Toronto is the biggest city and he got smoked; but Watson won handily in Ottawa. Former Liberal MPs dumped incumbents in London and Vaughan. And he has a whole year to gear up for it. Ford will start to self-destruct by then but will he have created enough dysfunction at City Hall to clear the air of the anti-incumbent sentiment? Perhaps the best thing going for McGuinty is (1) time, (2) Ford and (3) the fact that his opponent (unlike Ford) is a career politician who couldn't tap into the same kind of anti-elite sentiments that Ford did.

    For Harper, similar sort of mixed result here: anti-incumbent, anti-elite, anti-career politician, anti-establishment all works against Harper; anti-big spending and anti-waste sentiment works against Harper; he's been at this now for 5 years and isn't offering anything new; has twice as many broken promises in half the time as McGuinty. Ford's win is not a Tea Party/conservative wave - Liberals won mayoralty races in London, Ottawa and Vaughan, and conservatives lost as much as non-conservatives in Toronto. And he he could face an election at any time when those feelings are still hot. However, his mega-bucks campaign wealth means he can continue to buy off the media and sell himself, he's shown no hesitation to use taxpayer money for major self-promotion and buying votes. And, like Hudak, it's not as if his main opposition is in a position to tap into the same kind of anti-elite sentiments that Ford did.

    All in all, it will be an interesting next 12 months.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Last night’s Ontario municipal election results has a cautionary message for both conservatives and progressives alike: incumbents beware! Voter dissatisfaction is not directed at a particular party or political philosophy, but rather at incumbents who believe they have a right to treat taxpayers’ money in any way they please."

    We often disagree Russ, but you are totally correct about that. Look as well at the number of right and left councillors like Cliff Jenkins who got turfed last night.

    If you look across the province in London, Vaughan, Ottawa, even Calgary or in the NB and NS elections... incumbents are getting slaughtered.

    That does not bode well for incumbents, but especially incumbents who are career politicians. McGuinty, Charest and Harper are all very vulnerable.

    For McGuinty, he's had a mixed result here: Smitherman was his deputy and Toronto is the biggest city and he got smoked; but Watson won handily in Ottawa. Former Liberal MPs dumped incumbents in London and Vaughan. And he has a whole year to gear up for it. Ford will start to self-destruct by then but will he have created enough dysfunction at City Hall to clear the air of the anti-incumbent sentiment? Perhaps the best thing going for McGuinty is (1) time, (2) Ford and (3) the fact that his opponent (unlike Ford) is a career politician who couldn't tap into the same kind of anti-elite sentiments that Ford did.

    For Harper, similar sort of mixed result here: anti-incumbent, anti-elite, anti-career politician, anti-establishment all works against Harper; anti-big spending and anti-waste sentiment works against Harper; he's been at this now for 5 years and isn't offering anything new; has twice as many broken promises in half the time as McGuinty. Ford's win is not a Tea Party/conservative wave - Liberals won mayoralty races in London, Ottawa and Vaughan, and conservatives lost as much as non-conservatives in Toronto. And he he could face an election at any time when those feelings are still hot. However, his mega-bucks campaign wealth means he can continue to buy off the media and sell himself, he's shown no hesitation to use taxpayer money for major self-promotion and buying votes. And, like Hudak, it's not as if his main opposition is in a position to tap into the same kind of anti-elite sentiments that Ford did.

    All in all, it will be an interesting next 12 months.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Last night’s Ontario municipal election results has a cautionary message for both conservatives and progressives alike: incumbents beware! Voter dissatisfaction is not directed at a particular party or political philosophy, but rather at incumbents who believe they have a right to treat taxpayers’ money in any way they please."

    We often disagree Russ, but you are totally correct about that. Look as well at the number of right and left councillors like Cliff Jenkins who got turfed last night.

    If you look across the province in London, Vaughan, Ottawa, even Calgary or in the NB and NS elections... incumbents are getting slaughtered.

    That does not bode well for incumbents, but especially incumbents who are career politicians. McGuinty, Charest and Harper are all very vulnerable.

    For McGuinty, he's had a mixed result here: Smitherman was his deputy and Toronto is the biggest city and he got smoked; but Watson won handily in Ottawa. Former Liberal MPs dumped incumbents in London and Vaughan. And he has a whole year to gear up for it. Ford will start to self-destruct by then but will he have created enough dysfunction at City Hall to clear the air of the anti-incumbent sentiment? Perhaps the best thing going for McGuinty is (1) time, (2) Ford and (3) the fact that his opponent (unlike Ford) is a career politician who couldn't tap into the same kind of anti-elite sentiments that Ford did.

    For Harper, similar sort of mixed result here: anti-incumbent, anti-elite, anti-career politician, anti-establishment all works against Harper; anti-big spending and anti-waste sentiment works against Harper; he's been at this now for 5 years and isn't offering anything new; has twice as many broken promises in half the time as McGuinty. Ford's win is not a Tea Party/conservative wave - Liberals won mayoralty races in London, Ottawa and Vaughan, and conservatives lost as much as non-conservatives in Toronto. And he he could face an election at any time when those feelings are still hot. However, his mega-bucks campaign wealth means he can continue to buy off the media and sell himself, he's shown no hesitation to use taxpayer money for major self-promotion and buying votes. And, like Hudak, it's not as if his main opposition is in a position to tap into the same kind of anti-elite sentiments that Ford did.

    All in all, it will be an interesting next 12 months.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Voters want respect, Ted. I think what is happening is complicated and not as simple as the US-based Tea Party movement. There are political winds of change in Quebec too with the kick-off of the Quebec Freedom Network. Spells trouble for both Charest and the Bloc/separatist.

    Don't be too quick to dismiss Rob Ford. He may not fit the mold of the progressives' view of good/effective politician, but he's surprised many so far and could continue. You share the same view as Warren Kinsella re Dalton McGuinty benefiting in the future from Rob Ford. I sense some wishful thinking from both of you, but we'll see soon enough.

    Thanks for you comment, you have been missed.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Actually, I have been one of those who have not dismissed him as a candidate. But I have seen enough of his "performances" at City Hall to know he will be a problem, enough examples of him really truly not understanding even his own motions which are often out of order (eg. trying to get Council to approve something it is not allowed to do) and then he flies into a fury calling everyone a socialist trying to destroy Toronto.

    For Ford to have any success, he will have to change as much as Council will have to change. And unfortunately, as much as I like his general message and believe him to be the most genuine politician in Toronto, he just doesn't have the coalition of votes in Council or the skills needed to create that coalition.

    Even over at Small Dead Animals, after getting past the "he's the best/only choice on the ballot", they all seem to agree he'll be a disaster.

    The biggest key will be whether his campaign team turns out to be effective hired guns or if they turn into his staff at City Hall.

    ReplyDelete

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