A tenuous mandate
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Jun 25, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

A tenuous mandate

Listowel Banner

A quick look at the provincial election results, as seen on a map of Ontario, leads to several conclusions.

The first is this — regardless of the outcome, there are some very serious differences of opinion on the best party to lead the province, depending on where you live.

In northern Ontario, vast swatches of territory — albeit sparsely populated territory — were held by the New Democratic Party, with only two ridings (Thunder Bay-Atikokan and Thunder Bay-Superior North) going to the Liberal party. The Progressive Conservatives were essentially shut out of any seats north of Owen Sound.

Then we can see the blue belt of PC support, a swatch across southwestern Ontario, until you get to urban areas like Toronto (a sea of red, with occasional influxes of NDP orange). ?It looks like someone decided to divide up the province according to colour using markers, trying to keep each colour separate from each other.

And this represents quite clearly just how different the various parts of the province are.

Urban centres seemed to buy the Kathleen Wynne Liberal plan to continue to spend our way to prosperity, while rural areas again showed their skepticism of any plan that didn’t involve a strong dose of fiscal responsibility. Northern Ontario seemed to decide that if Tim Hudak didn’t care enough to debate northern issues during the election, they didn’t care enough to vote for him, while the NDP held its own in its traditional base.

These election results are alarming, for it shows once again how urban centres in the province have the power to control the agenda, simply because of the massive voting block they represent. And it shows that election platforms designed to appeal to the urban masses will get a party elected to power, every time.

The election results also show something else.

In this provincial election, roughly 52 per cent of Ontarians actually took the time to vote, which means that while the Ontario Liberals collected 38.6 per cent of the popular vote that only translates to roughly 20 per cent of Ontarians that gave Wynne her “mandate” to govern. Tim Hudak’s Conservatives, at 31.3 per cent of the popular vote, had support from 16 per cent of Ontarians. Together, the two parties did not get votes from even half of the province.

All of this is starting to make proportional representation, in which parties receive the number of seats that correspond to their actual percentage of votes, a much more palatable election option than the one we just endured.

And while we don’t expect the Liberal Party to do anything to fix the broken electoral system — after all, it’s how they got elected in the first place — we must remind them of this fact. Their mandate, if they have one, is very tenuous indeed.

They should govern with that fact in mind.

- Special to the Banner

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