I live in the half or so of the country made of one province called Ontario. Five days into the election I only know one thing. I do not want the Tories to get in again. I knew this six days ago. If I am honest with myself, the party I really agree with are the Greens but I am too much of a slacker to get out there and think locally and act globally - it's all that thinking and acting stuff... I just never get around to it. I fear I will vote Liberal out of fear of the Tories - nothing as desperate as organizers 13 years in the wilderness expecting a hand out in return for that loyalty. Howard Hampton of the NDP is the best educated and best spoken of the three top leaders - but it's hard not to be when you are up against Eves and McGuinty.
The Globe and Mail's lead story in its first section Saturday was about the first poll showing the Liberals now five percent ahead of the Tories where they were 13 percent ahead a month ago while the NDP still rot at 12%. Goody. Why the Tory rebound? Why, given the meat factory scandal, on top of blackout, Walkerton, the second wave of SARS - all of which to one degree or another can be pegged to the failure of the Tories to inspect, maintain or anticipate parts of the community and economy under their care? Is McGuinty that much of a ninny in the public's mind? (A faint "yes" is heard...) And are the NDP still so unloved for Rae-days, a socialist cutting costs? (There's that "yes" again...)
Rex Murphy's column at the end of the same newspaper section compares Ontario's Tories to those of his home Newfoundland and finds our bunch lacking - hard to pin down Ernie as a Tory, really as anything in particular - no fire, no nothing. [Given that the next Liberal leader in Ottawa will be the man who made Mulroney's promises of spending cuts and payments on the debt come true, its hard to tell Tory from Liberal there, too.] The local candidates - contending for one riding with about as many voters as the entire electorate of PEI - are compared in The Whig but they come across as not much better than caricatures: incumbant Liberal gliding, cranky Tory business guy and NDP tree hugger. Having watched recent elections in Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, all where parties had to work for their votes by being clear about what they were going to do and how they differed, it is all a bit sad here in the Middle-of-It-All. People ought to be raring to boot the bums out but it feels in this late summer that they are just having a nap like the Jays, happy enough that the air conditioning is working, worried more about Canadian Idol or quietly uneasy about that anniversary coming up next Thursday.