On October 21, Canada and Downsview voted for a new Federal Government. After a very messy election, the result was a Liberal Minority government and the Conservatives as the official opposition, with the NDP and Bloc Québécois holding the balance of power.
Every time there is an election in Canada, Ontario voters seem to be given two picks. With one exception 30 years ago, since Confederation in 1867 voters have only made one of two choices at the ballot box in Ontario: red or blue. We vote Liberal when we cannot stomach the cuts that the blue team is promising to carry out. We vote Conservative when we cannot stomach the corruption and waste of the red team. In this riding we lean red federally for decades.
Here is a list of what bouncing between the blue team and the red team have gotten us:
- Housing that is unaffordable in the GTA because the government stopped building cooperative housing and affordable rentals in the 1990s.
- Nearly 30 years of unfulfilled promises for a Universal Childcare Strategy.
- Rising medication costs, because pharmacare is not a priority for the two main parties.
- The most expensive phone bills in North America, and bad internet coverage.
- The most expensive monthly metropass in North America, and bad bus service.
These issues affect all of us day in and day out. Whether we are stuck in traffic because public transit is not an efficient way to get around, or we are jammed in a hospital where there are not enough nurses to treat us when we need help the most. Many people have to choose between buying their prescriptions and paying their rent on time, even if they work more than 40 hours per week.
These are all things that governments in other places have tackled and worked on. Collectively, people in Ontario seemed to feel that we avoided the cutting of programs from another Conservative government. But same as the blue team – the priority of the red team on the first day after the election were tax cuts for the rich and to build a pipeline for Alberta.
There is very little difference between the priorities of the blue and the red teams. This is why when we vote for the same people, we get the same results.
All of Toronto’s representation is from the red team. It is as if we threw a red carpet over all of the GTA to cover up all that is wrong from the last decision we took in Ontario – hoping it would make up for it.
The good news is that minority governments tend not to last the full term, so there might be an opportunity to demand more and to demand differently sooner rather than later. The same old decision to go back and forth between red and blue is not moving us forward as a society.