Shelburne Free Press
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Export date: Wed Nov 21 12:47:37 2018 / +0000 GMT

Jones reelected in Dufferin–Caledon




The June 12th provincial election sweep by the Liberals was more the result of a vote “against” something rather than a vote “for” something. Despite dissent over corruption and out of control hydro rates under the Liberals, Ontarians were not willing to risk a term under Tim Hudak's Conservative cleaver and they made that clear at the polls. Kathleen Wynne's Liberal team rose from the ashes of Dalton McGuinty's gas plant scandal like an unexpected phoenix, winning a stunning majority with 59 seats. Hudak, who misjudged the nature of his voters, much like he miscalculated his math, lost 10 ridings and led his party to defeat with only 27 seats. He had promised to resign if his “million jobs plan” failed, but did not even see June 13th as the leader of his party, resigning his leadership, although staying on to represent his Niagara riding. The New Democratic Party under Andrea Horwath, largely considered responsible for forcing the early election, remained at 21 seats, losing the power play and their hold over what had been a struggling Liberal minority.

In Dufferin-Caledon (D.C.), incumbent Sylvia Jones won a third term in the Progressive Conservative stronghold with 39.88 per cent of the vote, down from 47.03 per cent in 2011. On June 12th, The Toronto Star quoted MPP Jones as saying, “I'm obviously pleased Dufferin-Caledon has seen fit to say: ‘You're doing a good job and we want you to continue'. I am pleased residents have sent me back to Queen's Park to advocate on their behalf.”

In D.C. the voters went stronger for the Liberals than in 2011, pushing-back against Hudak's plan to cut 100,000 jobs and increasing the Liberal vote to 30.66%, up from 26.62% four years ago. Early polls predicted many of those votes would go to Green Party Candidate Karren Wallace, born and raised on a farm in Melancthon, and currently a resident of Shelburne. Wallace won an additional 4% for the Green Party from 2011, but finished with only 16.67% of the total votes on June 12th. As Shelburne's hometown candidate, Wallace, a municipal advisor with 20 years experience, made a strong showing at the debates and on the campaign trail.

Shelburne and the surrounding farm fields and hamlets were touched by Green, while Food and Water First supporters and a large community contingent dared to hope she might stand a long shot at representing the riding at the Ontario legislature. Six weeks on the campaign trail was not enough time for Wallace to reach thousands of partisan voters who keep Dufferin-Caledon Conservative and have done so since 1987. In 2011, of the 79,918 eligible voters in the riding, less than half cast their ballots; only 45, 210 residents exercised that right last week from a growing list of eligible voters. Wallace, already back on the job at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, working on legislation and advising politicians and staff, was reached early this week for a comment, “I want to thank the people in Dufferin-Caledon who voted for me and the Green Party. While the outcome was not what we hoped for, I believe a clear message was sent to the incumbent Sylvia Jones that she needs to be accessible and responsive to the people in her riding.”

Those who met Wallace or watched her debate saw something different – what the Green Party Provincial Leader, Mike Schreiner has dubbed as his party's “no bullshit” campaign. Schreiner is working to build a provincial reputation that follows on the heels of Federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May who has been voted Parliamentarian of the Year by her political peers in Ottawa and named hardest working MP by MacLean's magazine. On election night, Wallace called her campaign team “the best” and said the “loss was on her alone.” But Wallace's followers knew that to be off base; in political years, the Green party, which began in 1983, is still young and with less money to push their agenda and exclusion from provincial leadership debates, their party's slow climb to success will depend on a consistent breadth of quality candidates.

Carl Cossack, Chair of North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce (NDACT,) which threw their support behind the Greens as the only party to sign the Food and Water First pledge to protect prime farmland and source water in Ontario, says, “The Liberal government and Sylvia Jones now have something in common, they both have a new mandate to unite their constituents, for the Liberals it is to respect the conservative messages with regards to finances and for Sylvia Jones it is to listen to the voices who cry out for better representation on land use planning. We are a hopeful people.”

Kathleen Wynne's Liberal victory is owed in large part to Conservative Tim Hudak's bravado, starkly evident in his unwillingness to admit a mathematical miscalculation. Conservatives MPP's who proudly defended their leader's job cuts plan on the campaign trail were reported to be casting blame his way within days of the loss. The Provincial P.C. Party must find a new leader now, and will no doubt consider what they learned in this election: generally Ontarians care about neighbours, their jobs and the social programs that look after them; they might grumble about the school system, but are pretty sure “fewer teachers” and “bigger classroom sizes” are not the solution; they are generally an inclusive and forgiving bunch, but largely unfond of American style politics; and when a political leader leans too far right in Ontario, like Humpty Dumpty, he might just tumble off of his seat.

By Marni Walsh

Photo by MArni Walsh Green Party Dufferin–Caledon candidate and Shelburne resident Karren Wallace watches the 2014 Provincial Election results come in with supporters June 12th at the The Old Mill Creek Pub and Restaurant in Orangeville. Results brought the Greens up 4 per cent from the last election, but were not the results the party had hoped to see.

Photo by MArni Walsh
Green Party Dufferin–Caledon candidate and Shelburne resident Karren Wallace watches the 2014 Provincial Election results come in with supporters June 12th at the The Old Mill Creek Pub and Restaurant in Orangeville. Results brought the Greens up 4 per cent from the last election, but were not the results the party had hoped to see.

Post date: 2014-06-19 09:21:11
Post date GMT: 2014-06-19 13:21:11

Post modified date: 2014-07-02 13:29:08
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