Ontario voters got the status quo, Oct. 10, returning an even larger Liberal majority to power yesterday, largely at the expense of the Conservatives.
Moreover, voters also voted against changing the province’s electoral system.
While the NDP picked up a greater share of the popular vote, that didn’t translate into any more seats.
But the big story has to be declining voter turnout.
Just over half - 52.6 per cent - of Ontario’s registered voters cast a ballot, four per cent less than the 2003 election. More people voted at the newer, extended advance polls, but this election sets a new record for low turnout.
While mainstream media pundits (if the topic concerns them at all) might bemoan our declining sense of civic duty, our apathy etc (they’ll probably single out young people for particular blame), we prefer to consider this explanation:
If governments and political institutions are unwilling, or claim to be unable, to address the issues that are important to me, why should I bother voting?
We need a government that wants to address issues that are important to voters - education, health care, jobs, the environment - and we need one that thinks it can address these issues. But what we get are politicians who instead negotiate away their ability to act and hand over their power to interests immune to public control.
Congratulations to all CUPE members campaigning in the Ontario election and to CUPE Ontario’s campaigners. You’re part of how we rescuscitate our democracy and use government to improve the lives of working people.