The percentage of eligible voters casting ballots in Wednesday’s Ontario election hit an all-time low despite changes introduced in an effort to boost turnout. Only 52.6 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot, or 4.4 million of 8.4 million possible voters, according to numbers released by Elections Ontario.
The turnout was worse than a previous record low of 54.7 per cent set in 1923. It also fell below the 2003 voter turnout of 56.9 per cent.
Legislation introduced by the previous Liberal government since the 2003 election to boost declining turnout in recent elections did not seem to have the desired effect.
Those changes included:
* Setting a fixed election date.
* Extending the hours and number of days of advanced voting.
* Boosting the number of polling stations.
* Extending polling by one hour on election day.
However, there was a significant gain in voting at advance polls. Elections Ontario reported that 451,949 electors voted at the advance polls this year, up from 356,396 in 2003.
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Polling is an interesting subject. Over the weekend the Toronto Star published the various polls, which seem to indicate that the Liberals will be victorious on October 10, 2007. However, what is more interesting is the 905 region. There are a lot of, dare I say, extremely close ridings. Who knows how the vote will swing now that the faith-based issue is off the table. The Conservatives have a lot to gain in these ridings and we really do not know the “mood” of the public. It will definitely be an interesting night indeed. The spread in predicted Liberal seats, based on the polls below, will definitely be something to watch on election night. Another item that has been overlooked is Toronto and the NDP. Are people angry enough with Dalton McGuinty to cause them to lose seats? My gut tells me that the NDP will steal some ridings from the ‘Grits’ on Wednesday, but that is to be seen. If the Liberals come out as the winner, they will definitely get a “bloody nose” from the electorate.
For poll and predication information, on the October 2007 vote, go to http://www.democraticspace.com
Posted in GTA Politics
Tagged 2007, 289, 416, 647, 905, Ajax, Angus Reid, Brampton, Dalton McGuinty, Decima Poll, Don Valley, Durham, election, election night, Evrionics, Halton, Howard Hapton, Ipsos-Reid, John Tory, Liberals, Markham, Mississauga, NDP, Ontario election, Oshawa, PC, Peel, Pickering, polling, polls, richmond hill, seats, SES Research, The Green Party, Thornhill, Toronto, Whitby, Willowdale, www.democraticspace.com, York Region
The faith based funding issue should have been about simple human rights. The U.N has already indicated that the practice of funding only Catholic schools in Ontario is unjust. John Tory hoped to address this issue by fixing the problem and allowing fairness. Fund all or fund none, and he opted to fund all. Unfortunately, reality occurred and we found out that Ontarians are actually a lot more racist, ignorant and bigoted then they like to believe. Not all Ontarians are like this, but based on call-in shows and the general mood of people, many are. In reality the question should have been “would you like Islamic schools to get public funding”. Many Ontarians have extreme stereotypes about Islam, to some no fault of their own. The images they see, and are bombarded with, tend to be on the extreme. On the radio comments, in regards to faith-based education, revolved around fundamentalist Islam elements and “terrorists”. I have even heard a voter say that they do not what terrorist schools to get funding. Now a lot of this is based on fear, since 9/11, but in essence we still extremely fearful and ignorant in Ontario. Now the question is, does that fear show how successful the media has been in planting the wrong image about Islam in the minds of Canadians? Because it’s absolutely amazing how clueless people are about various religions in Ontario. Rather than be properly educated about any group of people, we like to remain in our sheltered domain; ignorant to the facts around us.
What was really sad, and not becoming of an elected leader, is how Premier Dalton McGuinty used this situation to the advantage of the Liberal Party of Ontario. Dalton McGuinty, at one point, called the funding of religious schools “segregation”, along with others in the Liberal Party who called it divisive. This was one of the most irresponsible things for Dalton McGuinty and the party to do. Dalton McGuinty ignored that fact that he was educated in a Catholic school. His wife is a teacher in a Catholic school and his children attend one. Does Dalton McGuinty, and the Liberal Party, believe that Catholics and Catholicism are better then all other groups? Are other groups like Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims somehow not pure Canadians, or dare I say white or Anglo-Saxon Canadians? Are they not as enlightened somehow? What is amazing when asked by reporters Dalton “never” responds to the question with a “straight” answer. I assume that proper “political spin”, and his handlers, are making sure that he does not. Now another question to be asked is are the Liberals themselves only using this situation to play on the fears of Ontario voters? Regardless of how you feel in this election, this was an issue of fairness. The status quo was not good enough. Also, those who like to state that it only an issue of the constitution, hide in it. Tell me just because something was done years ago, does not make it right. With that fuzzy logic should a lot of old racists and ignorant laws should remain on the books; keeping the minority at bay.
To address the fears of Ontarians we must think deeply about the idea of funding faith-based schools. No fundamentalist Islamic or Christian school would accept funding or want to be under the umbrella of public education. It would require them to teach the curriculum, which may come in conflict with some of their essential beliefs. But for those who fear “terrorist schools”, they are probably already here. Even one Global TV reporter asked John Tory what he would do if Islamic schools wanted to “separate the boys from the girls”. This was an ignorant and, quite honestly, a stupid question. I have to believe that Global TV was obviously trying stir up trouble and play to the ignorance and fear of Ontarians also, seeing that Catholics already have some of their schools divided between boys and girls. I do not want to forget the element that legitimately, without the racist or ignorant feelings, have wanted to remove faith-based funding for years from Catholics. In the end this may be the only solution to the problem; however those who want this option, and can properly argue this point, are not the majority of enlighten and learned individuals. We must accept that there is still a lot of fear, ignorance and racists in the generally public. Let me be clear, not all are racist; but the element of it exists, however suttle. No sense trying to hop on the high ground on this issue. There is nothing wrong with those who fear, however they must face those fears and learn from them. Ignorance is unacceptable and racism should just not be tolerated. In the end, however ironic, it seems that the Liberals have used that fear and ignorance to their own advantage. For a party that claims to be for all, including the immigrants of Ontario it makes me wonder. What does Dalton McGuinty really believe? Is his only aim to get into power at whatever the cost? Playing to the fear of Ontarians is a low-ball strategy that will fail in the end. Do you want to live in a province based on fear, intolerance and ignorance? Liberals around Ontario should ask themselves if they truly want to continue down the Dalton McGuinty path. However I sense that they will wake up the next morning and wonder, what in the world did we just do?
By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Posted in GTA Issues, GTA Politics, GTA Religion
Tagged Canwest, Catholic, Christian schools, Dalton McGuinty, democracy, education, election, faith-based education, fears, fundamentalist, Global TV, hindu, Human Rights, ignorance, islam, Islamic, Islamic schools, jewish, John Tory, Liberal, Liberals, Ontarians, Ontario, Ontario election, Ontario Liberals, racism, terrorist, Vote