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.