Response To Ontario Election 2003 Debate
|None of the recipients of this email acknowledged receipt of the email, let alone provided me with a real reply. In my experience, politicians rarely reply to any email sent them---even when that email requests a response; so, I wasn't surprised by this lack of courtesy.|
From: Christopher Rath <
Sent: 24 September, 2003 19:19
To: Howard Hampton <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Ernie Eaves <email@example.com>, Dalton McGuinty <firstname.lastname@example.org>
CC: Brian Coburn <email@example.com>, Phil McNeely <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Ric Dagenais <email@example.com>
Subject: Response to debate
As an Ontario voter (Ottawa-Orleans riding), I watched last night's debate with great interest. Today's Ottawa Citizen headline, "McGuinty avoids fatal misstep", was too much for me; hence, this email to the three of you.
From my perspective, what you really avoided was answering the questions the voters and reporters put to you. Going into the debate I didn't have any strong opinions about you, and as a result of your performance you have not gained any respect in my eyes. The purpose of the questions, from my perspective as a voter, was to elicit specific answers from each of you. You might have at least paid lip service to the process.
Regarding your education policy, it is woefully inadequate: raising the school attendance age will not effect any change in the kids you claim to be wanting to help. The problem isn't attendance at school, it's about the quality of education when the kids are in attendance and about larger issues that society faces. Unfortunately, this larger problem with society is not one that can be band-aided through the mandating of attendance at school.
I agree with you that average Ontarian's (like me) don't need a tax break, but I disagree that we can't afford to help seniors and others who are on fixed incomes.
You, more than the other two, had the courtesy to answer the questions. You didn't always give an answer I liked, and you didn't always provide much detail, but you did at least pay token respect to the process. I was particularly interested in your answer to the final voter question: a question about incentives to consumers making environmentally friendly choices w.r.t. automobiles and appliances, and those choosing cogeneration. Your answer disappointed me, since it netted out to: no incentives will be offered to consumers.
Regarding your comments on HydroOne, I was surprised to hear you say that you won't be privatising it. Maybe I am missing a piece of the picture, but I thought that such privatisation was part of your plan. From my vantage point, your privatisation strategy is either nonexistent or is not being communicated---your non-answer to the question asking what your government plans to sell to balance the budget says to me that you don't yet have the specifics worked out.
I disagree with your assessment that Ontario's economy is booming. I work in the high tech sector and jobs for skilled high tech workers are few and far between. Here in Ottawa, none of the big high tech firms has begun hiring again, and they won't be for a long time to come. Creating lots of blue collar service jobs is not my idea of a booming economy.
I am not a socialist, and it is unlikely that you will ever get my vote, but I was very appreciative of your honesty regarding your party's platform last night (although you could have done a better job answering the questions). You earned my respect and I look forward to the contributions you will personally make in the legislature following the election.
Last night you made an important point that I truly hope your opponents listen to: proportional representation. Canada, and Ontario too, is an increasingly multicultural and eclectic place. As such, minority interests are increasing in number, and proportional representation is the only way I can see of representing all our various interests (and my interests). I don't have a lot of hope, however, that your opponents will pay attention to this important contribution to the political debate.
I also agree with your call to eliminate big money from our election process. I am disenfranchised by big money and by the lobbyists, and we need to somehow work together to get the system back to "one person, one vote" (as I recall you characterised it, last night).
CONCLUDING THOUGHTS TO ALL:
I don't know if I'm a typical voter or not; however, I do know that I feel like an atypical voter, that I feel like I represent a minority position, and that I do not resonate with any of Ontario's political parties:
Regarding the supply of electricity in Ontario, I have one observation which I want to make: I believe that Ontario residents are all in favour of paying rates which recover the COST of generating and distributing that electricity. The privatised market wants us to pay "the going rate" for electricity, which in a scarce market can be very different than the COST of electricity. This is the issue which I believe angers residents (I know it angers me), and I don't see anyone providing residents with real information on this issue. Holding rates artificially low---as is being done at the moment---is wrong; but, it is also wrong to gouge residents by making us pay market driven prices for an essential service.
Regarding Kyoto and emissions: all the political rhetoric surrounding this issue needs to be cut away and replaced with intellectually clear thinking and behaviour rooted in a desire to be responsible managers of the world in which we live. Why are we not encouraging residents to make responsible choices? For example, why is there no incentive to encourage the purchasing of high efficiency appliances? No one loses out when a consumer purchases a more efficient appliance (political rhetoric to the contrary), yet everyone benefits.
Why is Ontario not taking a leading role in Canada in the resolution of Indian Land Claims? The longer we let these claims drag on, the less credibility we have. I am not suggesting that we give the farm away and simply acquiesce to the demands being made, but neither should we continue to see justice left un-served. Our predecessors signed treaties, and whether we like those treaties or not we have an obligation to honour them. There is no excuse for Ontario not cleaning its house in this regard.
I don't yet know how I'll vote, and in the past I have sometimes spoiled my ballet out of frustration by the sense that no one is truly representative of me. But whatever happens on election day, I hope that following the election you will all cut through the rhetoric and positioning and work together to make Ontario a better place for us all.