The month after I turned 18, I was part of an International Exchange program called Canada World Youth, and I was sent to live with a family in Deseronto, Ontario, for 3 months. That October, I also got to vote in an election for the first time in my life. I voted for the green party representative because it seemed cool I think. And you know what?
Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seriously studied an election. You Know, like really went out of my way to find out about the candidates and their platforms, their parties’ platform, what their ideas are and so on and so forth. Inspired by a few friends of mine Mark and his podcast discussion PodCast “The Civics Factor” all about BC Politics, and Megan, a great politically thinker and social advocate I don’t know many people who go as in depth as she does in her work, studies and research who I think should meet and co host a podcast on “How to learn about how to vote for your and our best interests?”, I decided that I would look into myself. The following is what I found.
At first I couldn’t understand anything, surplus, deficit, balanced budget, billions, 40 million for a project, these are all things I have to learn about to understand this whole process. I started writing side articles about those subjects to explain them as well, but they will be for another time. The election is in 4 days, and I know next to nothing about them. So, I searched: “ontario provincial election”, and these were the results:
The Macleans’ “Ontario Election 2018: Your guide to the Liberal, PC and NDP platforms” is a great beginner’s guide from Maclean’s that explain the issues at hand in this election, and presents the candidates in an objective manner.
The platform topics are generally split along these subjects:
- Work and Taxes
- Health Care
- Drugs and alcohol
- Environment and energy
When it comes to the provincial deficit, the 4 parties, the “Ontario PC’s” (OPC), “Ontario Liberal” (OL), “Ontario NDP” (ONDP), and the “Ontario Green Party” (OGP), view things thusly:
|Ontario P||Ontario Liberal||Ontario NDP||Ontario Green Party|
|Deficits||Promises to quickly balance the books by cutting “Inefficiencies” without defining the efficiencies, or providing a timetable.||No deficit reduction for another 2 years. Will use surpluses to repay provincial debt.||Doesn’t care about balancing the deficit right yet as their main focus revolves around Health Care and Social Services.||Plans to decrease the deficit by raising taxes on the rich, corporations, and other infrastructure.|
|Work and Taxes||Scrap minimum wage hike; cut corporate taxes; and basically follow a Trump model of trickle down economics.||Getting rid of some taxes, to redistribute them other places, 1.8 million ontarians will see an increase of $130-$200. Cigarettes will cost more.||Taxing corporations and raising income taxes. Make pension plans more accessible, and increase to 3 whole weeks of paid vacation.||Raising taxes for corporations and for 1%’s; lower payroll taxes to raise small business ability to hire people.|
|Hydro||If they can pull it off, it would be interesting to see the Conservatives cut hydro bills by 37%. As well as prevent executives from those ddpartments to receive retroactive payouts.||The liberals mucked this up by selling 60% of it off, and trying to convince voters to to vote for the party that increased their hydro bill is going to be tough even with a hydro bill cut of 25%.||Cut hydro bills by 30%, and regain control of Hydro One from private investors. They also want to set a flat rate instead of fluctuating throughout the day. Also want to remove HST from hydro bills.||They want an overhaul of everything by canceling the Liberal’s hydro plan, commit to 100% renewable energy by 2050, and oppose the building of a nuclear station.|
|Health Care||They want to make healthcare more comfortable. At the same time they want to fund mental health and addiction support, but are opposed to safe injection sites.||The Liberals want as many people as possible to get health care, and not be stressed about the bills.||Hiring, spending, and creating a new ministry of mental health and addictions as well as covering everyone’s dental care and medicine.||They basically want the same thing as the NDP, but with the same local health integration for isolated communities as the Conservatives.|
|Drugs and Alcohol||Don’t believe that the government should intervene in “private matters” but wants to privatize marijuana selling and sell alcoholic beverages in grocery stores like the liberals.||Making booze and medical marijuana more accessible via grocery stores and the LCBO. They are copying the federal government’s plan obviously.||Pot only for adults, worried that agricultural land will be turned into marijuana fields that would be more profitable. Doesn’t want to expand the sale of alcohol to grocery stores.||Test a pilot project for dispensing marijuana by private retailing.|
|Education||Get rid of a sex ed curriculum and not say a word without parental consent. Interesting request to implement investigations of violations of free speech.||Increases everywhere that favours the development of high school and university students making it more accessible.||The NDO once again reinforces that it is the party of the people by eliminating debts, creating more child care spaces, ending standardized testing and make school more accessible to lower income families.||Implement a cap on the number of students in a class, therefore increasing the number of teachers. Provide interest free loans for postsecondary education. The goal being to move towards fully public tuition for all Ontarians.|
|Environment and Energy||Cut out of environmental accords, and promote development within cities. Cancel energy plans in the planning phases.||Lots of spending in new greener and more efficient technologies.||Lots of spending in all aspects of power saving and environment cleaning. Updating acts and Bill of RIghts to help those affected by environmental pollution.||Basically want to change everything and throw money at everything that isn’t environmentally friendly or efficient.|
|Transportation||Cut aviation taxes to make the provinces more accessible to one another. Expand public transportation for the GTA and southern Ontario.||Increase accessibility to public transportation for all of the public methods and infrastructure.||Spendin money to expand services in southern Ontario and cover 50% of all municipal operating costs.||Make everythgin environmentally friendly and improve infrastructure for electric vehicles.|
|Sources||Compiled from press reports, party press releases and social media posts.||From the Ontario 2018 Budget.||Party platform on their website||Party platform on their website.|
Now that I’ve told you all of this, and probably lost you in the details, the real decision is up to you. I tend to feel pretty insignificant when I vote as there are over 36 million Canadians and 13.6 million Ontarians, but I don’t get to complain about the government if I don’t express myself when I can.
To conclude, elections are huge, having the right to express one’s interest for their social influences stemming from political decisions is a blessing in itself. It allows all of us to delve deep within ourselves and find out what really matters to us as individual and members of a society. It allows us to try and make a diverse array of thoughts, behaviours and beliefs work together as coherently as possible.
It’s a tough job, but we’re all in this together!
So, what can I say? Go out there and vote on June 7th!
Thank you for watching (or reading), I’d love to know what you think about all of this, and see what I could improve in this video and script.
Pictures and Sources:
Thanks for reading!