Bland still works

Election 2007: It seems like a lot of trouble to go to to have what is in effect a cabinet shuffle, doesn’t it?

Some high, or low, lights:

– The Tory campaign couldn’t change the channel, as we all know. One of the big problems, it seems, is that they didn’t have anything to change the channel to. The platform was vague and thin, and some of the more concrete promises (moving public service jobs outside Toronto, for example) were sops to appeal to rural voters that didn’t move Toronto-based Queen’s Park reporters. The Tory platform promises to “improve”, offer “better leadership”, “listen to advice” on things like health care and class sizes, but those aren’t dynamic policy proposals the public (or the media) can get excited by.

It was about ten days into the campaign when a press release crossed the wire announcing something like “John Tory stands by supply management”. Supply management? *This* is the attempt to turn the channel? As I wrote in the subject heading of an e-mail to a friend on the campaign, you’ve got to be kidding me.

– Nobody likes Dalton McGuinty. Sure, 22% of Ontario’s voting-age population turned up to vote for the Liberals, but not because they like the Premier. So why did the Tories run such a negative campaign from the get-go? I understand the thinking — remind people why they don’t like McGuinty — but given the unease people already felt, and will continue to feel for four more years, about McGuinty, it wasn’t necessary. In the end far more time in the campaign was spent talking about McGuinty’s transgressions than about what a Tory government would actually do. And anyone who was thinking about voting against McGuinty, but had bad memories of the Harris years, was not willing to take a vague promise that things would be different under John Tory on faith.

– On the plus side, does this mean Move Ontario gets off the ground? In interviews after the initial announcement (made before the official campaign, but indisputably part of it), it was suggested that even though the plan calls for the Federal government to put up 1/3 of the costs, the plan could go ahead in a lesser form even without participation from Canada’s eternally new government. With Ontario’s economy in ever-rougher shape, opening employment opportunities through a few major public works projects right now seems like an extremely good idea.

– Overheard by a deputy returning officer as someone asked about the additional ballot for the referendum: “Ooh, the referendum. I definitely think Quebec should stay in.” RIP MMP.

– Plans for Family Day, anyone?