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TV DEBATE AS POLITICAL THEATRE

Posted on September 27, 2011 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

TV DEBATE AS POLITICAL THEATRE


Ontarians are expected to tune in to the only televised Leaders’ debate of provincial election 2011 tonight at 6:30 p.m. That’s been confirmed by a poll claiming one-half of the population intends to tune in for some of it, Why?

Well, political campaign history shows that for most voters the signal that the race is officially “on” doesn’t come with the Writ being dropped, but rather with the televised Leaders’ debate. This campaign, there is only one Leaders’ debate so tonight the campaign starts for voters.

There are three things that seem interesting about all this –

1. A consortium of broadcasters set the date, time and moderator for the debate and then decided to prohibit the leader of the Green Party of Ontario (GPO) from participating.

2. If the political strategists for the opposition parties are correct in running under various slogans related to the need for “change,” then why deny the only newcomer from talking about, change?

3. Politics as theatre gets the stage set by mainstream media and many of those political commentators appear to have already written the final act of this election.

So, will the only poll that really counts – Election Day – be different than what is being predicted currently? Maybe social media will play a role in that final debate. That’s the piece worth watching.

This election was billed as Tim Hudak’s to lose and pollsters seem to think that he may have already done so. There has to be a victor and a loser in the blood sport of politics. The media are focused now on Dalton McGuinty having the most to lose tonight and NDP leader Andrea Horwath having the most to gain. Again, in the process the media has denied the Green Party even a walk-on role. Is that fair? Is it “right”?

Horwath may also have much to lose tonight. If the pollsters have it right and if the group-think of the Ontario voter is McGuinty (Liberal) and Hudak (Conservative) tied at roughly 35% -35% then Horwath’s unusually high 24% may erode. Those who fear a return to Mike Harris-type conservatism and program cuts à la Rob Ford (Toronto) decide not to vote NDP and strategically put their “X” beside a Liberal candidate rather than risk Hudak squeaking in with a minority government.

But, let’s go back to the undercurrent of sentiment that the Ontario voter is feeling “none of the above” when they check out the three standard options. The option of change is Mike Schreiner. Mike who? Yep, the “green” guy who despite a recent columnist’s view that the Green Party has disappeared under his leadership is actually boasting better than ever responses at the door, lawn sign requests, funds in GPO coffers and with a greater number of candidates.

The energy issues being battled between mostly Hudak and McGuinty were red flagged two years ago by Schreiner when he boldly challenged the new Green Energy Act because of its circumvention of municipal due process and its ability to over rule environmental legislation. His view was confirmed by the Ontario Environmental Commissioner. If Schreiner had a place on tonight’s debate stage he might be the only one to spark real controversy and discussion on some fundamental voter issues. But alas, exit stage left.

Maybe, the most to lose tonight is we voters.

As the pundits hover over the cancellation of gas generation plants in Liberal ridings in Oakville-Mississauga, York Region may be watching. In fact, York Region political watchers have an eye on both Liberal MPP Helena Jaczek and Conservative MPP Julia Munro who each have a piece of the area where a controversial gas plant is proceeding. Will either of them be at risk because a gas generation plant plunked in a provincially-designated significant wetlands area linked to the Holland Marsh and the Oakridges Moraine and strongly opposed by the community is being ignored by both those political parties? The champion for the locals was Mike Schreiner of the Green Party who stood with the Holland Marsh farmers and local environmental lawyers and activists.

Politics may be best unscripted, but voters don’t often get to see the real play.

Tune in tonight, maybe.

Front of the line has mass appeal except when it’s as a voter.

If Hudak-McGuinty both fighting gas generation plants why no attention to Holland Marsh peaker? Maybe because Green Party not in TV debate?  http://twitter.com/#%21/yorkregionvotes

 Nancy Coldham, CG Group   www.cggroup.com

HEAD OF THE VOTING QUEUE

Posted on September 22, 2011 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Are you excited about the provincial election yet? It’s only 14 days away. In fact, voting was possible through ADVANCE POLLS yesterday.

That’s right; you can cast your vote now if it would be more convenient.

Advance polls opened – September 21 – across Ontario.

To find your advance poll location, visit Elections Ontario and enter your postal code or address. Advance polls are open until Thursday, September 30th.

You can also cast your ballot at any time that works for you. And if you are away from home, you can vote by mailing in your ballot. Get more details here.

Democracy Watch wants voters to also know they have the right NOT to vote. The democracy watchdog issued a media release today about a court challenge they are planning against Elections Ontario. Apparently, Elections Ontario has failed to mention that Ontario voters have the right, under section 53 of the Elections Act, to decline their ballot and have it counted separately from a vote for a candidate or a spoiled ballot.

Why does it matter? Well, you may be one of those voters who may not support any party that has a candidate in your riding, or may not support any of the parties' platforms. You have the right to be informed by Elections Ontario that you have the right to vote for 'none of the above' by declining the ballot. You still have to appear at a polling station to exercise this right.

Many people have come to Canada for the freedom most of us take for granted and that includes the right to vote. So, on this last official day of summer, think about your right to vote or decline the ballot in protest, but think about it in terms of making sure you get to a polling station. Go out early. There’s lots of time to express your view through the ballot.

Front of the line has mass appeal except when it’s as a voter.
Get to an advance poll and vote conveniently.  http://twitter.com/#%21/yorkregionvotes

 Nancy Coldham, CG Group www.cggroup.com

 

 

WHO GIVES A WIT ABOUT THE WRIT?

Posted on September 22, 2011 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

They’re off!! The countdown to the Ontario provincial election is now official with the “WRIT” being dropped. Know what that means? Dropping the writ is the informal term for a procedure in some parliamentary government systems, where the head of government -- in this case Premier Dalton McGuinty – visits the Lieutenant Governor (the Queen’s representative in Ontario) and advises him to dissolve the Legislature. It is standard procedure that the Lieutenant Governor grants the Premier’s request and issues a WRIT of election for a new parliament. This triggers the election. 32 days to get voters engaged. Are you ready?  http://twitter.com/#%21/yorkregionvotes
  Nancy Coldham, CG Group  www.cggroup.com


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