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Maxed out

Sheepish Ontario voters have one final chance


By G.D. Maxwell

I don’t know what the link between politics and love is but I’m certain there is a link. This is not to be confused with the tight dovetailing that’s existed for centuries between power and lust, a connection most recently demonstrated, nay perfected, by Slick Willie Clinton in his memorable quartet for bimbo, cigar, special prosecutor and tortured thesaurus.

And if you’ve ever been in a bar as the clock ticked down the last half hour to closing and watched the uncoupled size each other up, squinting through blurry eyes, abandoning any semblance of desirable attributes they’ve always considered essential in a potential mate, you know there’s a fine and oft-crossed line between love and lust. But that’s not the link of which I speak either.

No, I’m referring to love. Silly, chemically-fuelled, endorphin squirtin’ love. Love that turns the world into puppies and rainbows. Love that makes even sane people mistake a sodden walk in the rain with a romantic experience. Love that spawns both the best and worst poetry ever unleashed on an unsuspecting civilization. Love that inspires sappy Carpenter songs, Hallmark cards, and unplanned tattoos.

You know the kind I mean. You’ve probably survived it once or twice or several dozen times. It’s the kind of love that either leads to self-destructive behaviour or marriage, the latter being more a survival tactic to hopefully avoid being swept away again in the whirlpool of love any time soon than being its true embodiment.

Love makes people goofy.

So does politics.

And nowhere is that more true than the province of Ontario.

Now, this isn’t just another gratuitous Ontario-bashing column, not that Ontario doesn’t deserve all the bashing it receives across this great country, from sea to sea to sea, as the song goes. I lived in Ontario for nine years of a possible life sentence and I’m here to say Ontario’s alright by me. In fact, Ontario’s a damn good place to be from.

But if there’s any justice in this country, Ontario ought to be on its very last chance votewise. If they blow it again in this election, they should lose their franchise, be traded to the U.S. or walled in by a massive structure that would make the Great Wall of China look like a picket fence.

The sad fact of the matter is this: Ontarian’s can’t be trusted with the vote. They all vote like sheep… scared sheep… stampeding sheep… stampeding sheep with nary a buffalo jump in sight to put them out of their – and our – misery.

While Canada dithers with navel-gazing talks about electoral reform, proportional representation, an elected senate and other trivial matters, the real debate should be engaged on stripping Ontario of the right to vote in any federal election. The Eastern Bastards just can’t be trusted.

That may seem harsh to you. It seems harsh to me. But sometimes Tough Love™ is what the situation calls for and, considering the historical record – okay, the recent historical record – I think we can all agree Canada would be better off as a country if Ontario’s franchise was limited to provincial elections and even then, only with UN inspectors or some other neutral, third-party oversight to prevent, well, not exactly fraud but silly, silly results.

Consider the record.

When I moved to Toronto in 1983, Bill Davis and his Progressive Conservatives ran the province and had done so for several hundred years, Bill being well over 200 himself. Ontario, at that time, was making great strides to shed its Hogtown, slow-witted, dull image. For example, that very year was the first time in history an Ontarian could go to a baseball game, buy a cold beer and actually drink it in his or her seat while watching the game. Until then, if one possessed such loose morals as to be depraved enough to drink beer and watch baseball, one either had to do it in the privacy of their own home or hive themselves off to a dark Corner of Sin in the bowels of Exhibition Stadium, a ballpark made for cattle auctions if ever there was one.

Then something pissed Ontarians off. I don’t remember whether it was Sunday shopping or the LCBO beginning to stock wine you could drink without gagging but whatever it was, the electorate ditched the PCs and handed the reins of power over to Davie Peterson, as smarmy a Liberal as ever walked the halls of power. So smarmy and self-assured was he that when he called an unnecessary election in 1990, not quite three years into his term, the voters not only turfed his sorry butt out but somehow – historians are still arguing the mechanics – handed Bob Rae and the NDP a majority government, an act often compared to letting an eight-year-old drive a Corvette the wrong direction down the 401.

So appalled at what they’d done, and faced with the prospect of a full-term NDP government – I think Bob finally called an election four years and 364 days into his term – they elected Mike Harris who beat them senseless with his Common Sense Revolution.

Having fouled the air, poisoned the water, bankrupted the province and generally acted like Generalissimo Horse’s Ass for two terms, Ontarians put the boots to the PCs last year and elected a fresh-faced Liberal who promised, before God and television cameras, who in fact signed an oversized, photo-op prop of a contract, to never, ever raise taxes.

Which he did almost immediately, just before Little Pauly Martin called the current federal election.

Ontarians are so stupid – How stupid are Ontarians, Max? – they’ve forgotten that no less an august body than the very Supreme Court of Canada, in the case Everyone in Canada vs. the Scurrilous Brian Mulroney , opined that politicians can’t be held to the promises they make during political campaigns because even a cabbagehead knows they’re lying through their teeth.

But Ontarians – cabbageheads all – are so peeved at Dalton McGuinty they’re about to take their wrath out on the federal Liberals and hand the province’s federal ridings, and therefore the country, over to Stevie Hapless and the New Improved Conservatives. Or the Bloc; who knows what those nitwits will do.

Since 1988, when they pretty much split the province’s vote between the PCs and the Libs, Ontarians have voted like sheep. In 1993, the entire province baaaahed their way to the polls and handed all but one seat to the Liberals. In 1997, same result. In 2000, two more sheep strayed from the herd and all but three ridings went to the Liberals. I think the pattern is clear.

This is not to say the whiners of British Columbia are any less muttonheaded. While Ontarians were lined up behind Little Bo Chrétien, B.C. buds were wasting their votes on Reform… Alliance… whatever. And we won’t even begin to delve into B.C.’s colourful provincial politics.

But that’s not important. No one in their right mind would ever give B.C. enough votes to swing an election. That pride of place belongs to Ontario and all Ontarians should consider this fair warning. Do it one more time and the rest of the country will be voting you off the island.