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"Oh..my gosh!"

Friday, October 3, 2003

Dalton McGuinty stepped to the podium, surveyed the sea of humanity in the ballroom, leaned back from the microphone, and the first words from our new Premier’s mouth were “Oh, my gosh”.

Well, watch your language you rapscallion, you. Was this the beginning of a kinder, gentler Ontario?

I am nothing if not a cynical prick. But watching McGuinty’s speech on election night, I found myself…optimistic. ‘Twas an odd, foreign feeling. OK, maybe “optimistic” is a bit of an overstatement. But for one, tiny metric second I felt that yes, there was going to be some real change. That quickly dissipated, however, when I realized that I hadn’t felt that way since Bob Rae and the NDP won in 1990.

And then the darkness came.

What of the NDP? Where was the official opposition status that Howard Hampton was forecasting? Hell, where was the official party status? Hampton is a sincere cat, standing on guard for our sacred public institutions. Was this message lost? They gained almost 5% in the popular vote, and lose seats. Strange days, indeed. Here’s the way I look at it; The NDP have only seven more seats than my party. I’m catching up.

Face it, for all of the spin and all of the election night cliches, the NDP were the real losers. We all knew that the PC’s were going to be decimated. We all knew that the Liberals would win. The only variable we had left was where the NDP would end up. Hampton promised us that we’d be surprised on election night. Well, we were Howard…we sure as hell were.

Last night’s election results are a glaring example of the typically Canadian political phenomenon that I refer to as “the rubber band theory”. We pull and pull and pull on the government, stretching our love and dedication to them, and when we’ve stretched it tighter than Ernie Eves’ hair, we let it go and start all over again with the next party. It’s like dating your ex’s best friend. Rebound.

And speaking of girlfriends, what in the hell was with Ernie Eves? In defeat, I had hoped to see some sense of charisma. Some sign that he wasn’t a replicant. Where can I pick up a retina scanner? Onstage with Isabel and his daughter he looked especially wooden. Maybe they should have left him in his cryogenic chamber in the first place. Or at least let him thaw out a bit more. Besides, what does he care? He wasn’t even elected as Premier in the first place, right?

Here’s a rather conspiratorial take on Eves’ motives:
He calls the election, knowing full well that there is no way in hell that the PC’s can win. On election night, they get slaughtered and the rumblings begin to find a new leader. He’ll stick around as an MPP just long enough to save face, then quit and head back to his million dollar gig on Bay Street, paving the way for Jumpin’ Jim Flaherty to hop into the trenches. Ah, but what the hell do I know?

I do know that the Liberals better make some real, sweeping changes. Our class sizes better get smaller. Our water better get safer. Our hospitals better get less cluttered. They had just better damn well keep their promises or, so help me God, I’ll just vote for the PC’s next time and wipe Ontario clean of the red…um…well, off-red-burgundy stain. The bastards. Wait…where was I?

It’s hard to talk or write about politics without spinning off on some tangent that ends up exactly where you started. No one, no matter how “brilliant”, should try to pretend that they know what any of this shit really means. Oh sure, we can sit around and wax poetic about “strategic voting”, “proportional representation” or “the politics of division”, but at the end of the day, there are just winners and losers.

Now, we just wait and see.

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