For those of us who live and breathe politics, elections are like the icing on a cake that’s been baking for four years. So it’s a shame they’ve become soulless, meaningless exercises.
Take Ontario, for example. By the time this paper hits the streets, about half of the more than four million eligible voters in the province will be heading to the polls to either return Kathleen Wynne to the Premier’s office or replace her with someone else.
There was a time, back when I first became politically aware, that the period leading up to an election day would be filled with political parties and candidates communicating to voters about their policies and platforms and why they would be the best choice to govern. Those days, it seems, are gone. Now parties seem preoccupied with telling voters why they need to be afraid of the other guys.
We saw it in the last Alberta general election and we’ve seen it in Ontario these past weeks in spades. Primed with the best fear-mongering money can buy, voters are encouraged to vote strategically, a thing that has never once in the history of humankind been proven to work. The end result? Increasingly, voters choose to stay home and our legislatures have no hope of actually reflecting the principles and values of the electorate they purportedly represent.
I’m not sure what brought us to this point and I’m not sure what’s going to get us out of it, but as I watch these last couple of days of campaigning in Ontario where all I’m hearing from the incumbent Liberals is “A vote for the NDP is a vote for the PCs,” I pray a little bit that voters collectively say, “Fuck this,” and go vote for the party that best represents their interests, regardless of which party that may be.