Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Election Night in Ontario (just not on CBC)

We have waited a long time, but tomorrow night is nearly here. Old rivals squaring off against one another. One in red, the other in blue. Hope, intensity and a chance at glory. Yes Ontario politics watchers, tomorrow is election night!

Oh, yeah, and the NHL season also starts with the Habs versus the Leafs. Go Habs!

After a short official campaign and quite a long unofficial one, Ontario voters will go the polls tomorrow and, depending on which poll you are reading, will elect:

- a third straight Liberal majority; or
- a Liberal minority, with the NDP holding the balance of power; or
- a Progressive Conservative minority, with the NDP holding the balance of power; or
- a legislature where the two main parties having an equal number of seats, with the NDP opening a bidding war for their support.

I won't go into the differing polls here, but you can find some good analysis and perspective at As the blog notes, with such wildly different projected outcomes there will surely be some pollsters looking a tad embarrassed come Friday morning.

Since I leave polls to the experts, I decided to relax this evening. However, as I prepared to sit back I was treated to one of those lovely, "only a political geek would appreciate this" moments. My phone rang and when I answered, I had a message from one of the Ottawa Liberal candidates inviting me to stay on the line for a live, "virtual town hall" with all Ottawa Liberal candidates, including Premier McGuinty.

Being A Guy Watching Politics, I was tempted to say "You had me at hello."

The call was a neat format. I was placed into the conference which was underway, and listened to Premier McGuinty finishing off a response to a question from a listener regarding seniors. I then heard remarks from the other Ottawa candidates, followed by listeners asking questions of the Premier (all questions were pre-screened - mine did not make the cut!).

I am not sure whether these had been done earlier in the campaign, or whether this was the first instance. I also don't know if the other parties had done something similar (if you know, please leave a comment).

What I do know is I quite liked it, and not just for the geekiness of it. The more interesting element for me was that for the most part there was very little commentary about why someone should not vote for the PCs or the NDP. Fear mongering was in relatively short supply. Instead I heard the candidates outlining their record as a government and their priorities going forward.

I found Mr. McGuinty's tone, in particular, to be very positive. It was calm, earnest and focused. Education was a recurring theme and to my ears he effectively used personal anecdotes to make his remarks less like a sound bite and more like a conversation.

So, did the Liberals finally start reading A Guy Watching Politics and other blogs and commentaries which are demanding more from our political discourse? While I would love to say yes, the answer is likely no.

One argument to make is that what I heard were the final arguments of a party comfortable that the outcome will favour them. This was the tone and confidence of a front-runner.

Another perspective is that this was the tone of front runners here in the Ottawa ridings. The Liberals are confident here, and therefore could appear more positive and statesman-like.

What I don't know is whether other Liberal virtual towns have taken place tonight, and if so whether they took a different tone and were more confrontational and partisan. What would one in a 905 riding sounded like, for example?

If you know, please let me know. Otherwise, let's connect tomorrow and see what the voters bring us. Polls are open 9:00-9:00, with result coming when they close. Oh yeah, and CBC is carrying hockey.


  1. Since I don't live in Ontario I feel left out, but let me say this: Go Leafs go! That is all.

    All the best on election night!

  2. If you weren't happy with the oligarchy of the cons, libs and ndp, join the Socialist Party of Ontario


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