Our democratic underpinnings have been reduced to this?

di Joe Volpe del 19 September 2018

TORONTO - Anger sells. In politics, it seems to be overtaking sex and related issues as the prime electoral strategy for motivating voter intentions. Ideological reasoning has gone out the window.
No, make that simply: "reason has gone out the window". People are angry, and they are not going to take it any more! At whom? About what? Why? and what will they do about it? If they are told often enough eventually they will believe they are hard done by and "take to the streets".
The results of last Ontario Provincial election can arguably be attributed to people being so angry at, and fed up with, Kathleen Wynne that a dead donkey could have beaten her in a race.
Yet, from an economic perspective, workers and businesses never had it so good: a booming economy, unemployment rates at quasi historical lows and salaries on the rise. The public punished her [for this success] by destroying her Party while re-electing her to witness, from within, the political carnage she had induced by her obstinacy to stay in office.
On the other side of the aisle, Doug Ford rose to the top by campaigning against the "rot and corruption" - his words - within his own Party. Somehow, the public gave a "rotten and corrupt" Party the keys to Government at Queen’s Park. He would "put money in their pocket" was the winning slogan.
Along the way, he would make cuts and drive efficiencies, he promised. But, with so much "rot and corruption", where to start? Toronto City Council of course. Cut down its current number of Councillors from 44 to 25.
It’s a convenient punching bag. Everyone hates Toronto anyway. What is unclear is how [forced] savings at City Hall translate into net savings for the taxpayer in Ontario.
They are two separate jurisdictions even if Toronto (the municipality) is a child of the Province, and the "parent" has the right to make decisions for the "child". Municipalities can never become stand-alone, (constitutionally recognized, mature), entities, remaining perennially dependent. City Hall challenged the decision in the Courts. Unfair, it claimed.
Justice Belobaba, reputedly an old friend of former Conservative Premier Bill Davis, seemed to agree. Only because, in his view, the rules of the game were changed in midstream.
His view of the Charter “infringement” is fashioned by “timing”. Candidate registration had closed Friday, July 27. On Monday, July 30, Premier Ford, very aware of the "realities of June 7" (an electoral majority), introduced the cuts via Bill 5, declaring the old boundaries null and void while extending the registration period for candidates under the new configuration.
Justice Belobaba declared Bill 5 violated the Charter and threw it out. Premier Ford filed an appeal and invoked the Notwithstanding Clause for good measure.
The political environment has become a charade of buffoonery and theatrics ever since. Overnight sittings of the Legislature; Appeals and counter-appeals in the Courts; suspension of Legislature sittings in order to attend a Tractor Pull; counter appeals and interventions by “political personalities” with their opinions and admonitions.
With no discernable outcome. If there were ever an exercise in futility, then the letter signed by Toronto’s twenty five (25) Members of Parliament, including Cabinet Ministers, must surely reign supreme.
They cautioned their provincial counterparts to withdraw their support for Bill 5/31in the Legislature. Poorly considered, it was rebuffed with a symbolic slap in the face for those considered by many to have no clout in Ottawa … much less in Ontario.
Not surprisingly, the tactic rebounded on their leader, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. When it was suggested that he invoke Federal “set aside” constitutional authority against the autocratic measures by Premier Ford, he responded with a deferential “no thanks”. Ford will get his way, after the Tractor Pull.
Toronto will transfer whatever savings accrue from the redrawing of the electoral map to Queen’s Park. Somehow, I think, it will be difficult following the paper trail.

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