Thursday, August 02, 2007

Ontario Election General Preview

My view is that this is McGuinty's election to lose. Elections are usually a referendum on the current government and the general feel I get from everyone is that by most standards, the Liberals have delivered.

The biggest factor anyone I talk to mentions to me is education. There has been no labour dispute regarding teachers in the last four years - a constant fact of life under Mike Harris. Class sizes are on their way down, and it actually seems teachers are plentiful. However I do share a concern with this writer that some standards are getting lower.

The government has also provided money hiring more police officers (as promised) and even though we hear of shootings in and around Toronto, most people generally feel safe (and thus crime is not a big issue).

Immigration doesn't seem to catch anyone's attention (nor does terrorism - these are mostly federal issues) but immigrants as a whole are worried about recognition of foreign educational credentials, but these are again not blamed on McGuinty.

Where the Liberals have failed to pacify the voters is health care. This is of course my gut poll, very unscientific, but there are many people who are very angry at McGuinty on this issue alone. Not only did he put that much hated health tax (call it premium, whatever) but also took away eye care. We are getting less bang for more bucks, and every time we look at the pay stub we are reminded of this issue.

So the general preview is that even though the polls say it's 50-50, I feel it is the Liberals' election to lose. In the coming couple of months, three issues could rise into prominence where Tory will try and differentiate himself.
  • Funding for the TTC and easing the provincial downloading to cities.
  • The Cricket-Gate mismanagement of $32 million
  • Funding for non-Catholic schools.
It remains to be seen how much of a traction each of those issues can take.

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