Time to vote

The provincial election is now just days away. Soon campaigning can stop and the winner will get a chance to govern.

For the ridings of Wellington-Halton Hills and Perth-Wellington we figure much will stay the same. Progressive Conservative Ted Arnott remains a stalwart choice for people demanding good solid constituency work. Conversely, Liberal John Wilkinson has managed a cabinet position and his constituency outreach very capably.

Politics remains one of those never-say-never professions where the public could decide a change is in order. If that is the case, there are some good candidates to choose from who care deeply enough to offer up their names and reputations for the ideal of serving people.

While we have no sense that a dramatic change will occur here, the race province wide is a much different story. Perhaps in places where the candidates aren’t so strong, a second look will become a longing look for something different.

These continue to be trying times, and despite rosy forecasts and optimism sounded by all leaders vying for election, there will be tough choices to make in the near future.

The fact our provincial debt continues to climb is not easily assuaged by notions of stimulus or expansion of government services. There is no doubt in our mind that money could be spent better. That does not mean reckless cutting, but it does mean some thoughtful debate on straightening up our finances.

Tim Hudak, a former Harris cabinet minister and the spouse of one of Harris’ inner circle advisors, offers little in the way of new ideas or hope for the future. Having covered dozens of election contests, his promises to cancel contracts and re-jig the role of government don’t go too far with us. The simple fact is Premier Dalton McGuinty has set up a house of cards, expanding services and costs to the point that he, himself, will have a hard time pulling back the reins on expenses.

Andrea Horwath, leader of the NDP, lacks any real experience to form a government. Ontario was down that road once before and we do not see an appetite for that again.

There is one thing that stands out for us and we will watch with interest on election night to see if our assessment rings true. This election was Hudak’s to win.

Through inexperience, very close ties to former Premier Mike Harris and a seeming inability to stay focussed on McGuinty’s record, this race is now Hudak’s to lose. For McGuinty, the Liberal machine has done its darnedest through attack ads and misrepresentations on the campaign trail to obliterate the competition.

Our point of interest is where the personal aspirations of McGuinty and Hudak include any regard for the voters of Ontario.

McGuinty has hung on too long as leader, witnessed by the exodus of his MPPs this election and the departure of big names over the years who saw no point in hanging around. Hudak and members of the Progressive Conservative caucus couldn’t move quick enough to expel John Tory as leader after the last election. Tory, as readers will recall, had the nerve to mention charter schools and lost on an issue that McGuinty actually implemented weeks after the election was over.

Our point is, until parties, leaders and their members act with a measure of thought for the people rather than out of self-interest, voters will continue to see a system in contempt of itself.