Volume 93, Issue 5

Friday, June 11, 1999


Tory elitism 2 - Democracy 0

Performance arts are priceless

Tory elitism 2 - Democracy 0

The Progressive Conservatives, after winning only 59 of 103 provincial seats, mistakenly believe their tax cut-based mandate is supported by Ontario's citizens. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

First off, a majority voted against the PCs – 55 per cent, to be exact. This alone proves Harris has not been given the green light to continue his destructive gutting of our social services. Taking the low voter turnout of approximately 60 per cent into account, only a slim 33 per cent of eligible voters actively supported Harris.

Of those who didn't vote, many are likely to be elderly or marginalized. It can be safely assumed most of these non-voters are anti-Harris, since they are most affected by Harris' vicious cuts to health care and social programs. Similarly, homeless people, whom one can also assume would not have voted PC, are left off the voter list.

Some headlines in major papers this past month have read "Lower taxes remains PCs' #1 priority" and "Tories plan big cuts in spending if re-elected." Ontario's provincial tax rate, more than 5 per cent below average, is already the lowest in Canada. Yet the PCs insist Ontarians' biggest concern is tax reform. All public opinion polls released by major media sources show otherwise.

An Angus-Reid Group survey released in May revealed 75 per cent of those polled were against tax cuts. Other surveys ranked tax cuts last in importance behind health care, education, crime and violence, child poverty and homelessness and debt and public finances.

The Globe and Mail, a self-proclaimed right-wing PC-backing newspaper, reported May 17 that approximately half of PC supporters do not entirely agree with the party's new round of tax cuts. This suggests that not even PC supporters fully agree with Harris' tax cuts.

Clearly, Mike Harris will be acting against the overwhelming majority of Ontarians' wishes if he follows through with his proposed tax cuts – cuts that benefit the rich at the expense of most citizens.

The fact the PCs form a majority government, with free reign to implement their policies, shows fault in our electoral process. "Strategic voting" simply does not work. A representative government, based on a total number of votes and not constituencies won, would better serve voters' interests. And perhaps funding for campaigns should be evenly distributed to all political parties. That way, Ontarians can vote for who puts out the best platform, not who puts out their platform best.

With this said, we must continue to send Harris the strong message that Ontarians want democracy and equal opportunities, not further advancement of an elite agenda.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999