Election needed

With not a whole lot of new faces sitting around the Cabinet table after Monday’s shuffle, Ontarians are sure to get antsy pretty quickly wondering just how Premier Ernie Eves plans to usher in a “kinder, gentler” government than that of his predecessor, Mike Harris.
And you can’t blame them. After all, Mr. Eves is now premier thanks to capturing a majority of the whopping 34,600 votes cast by party members during the second ballot of the leadership vote March 23.
Not exactly what you would call an overwhelming mandate from the people—especially, when you also consider the total number of ballots cast was just barely a third of the party members who were eligible to vote.
Sure, Mr. Eves doesn’t have to call a provincial election until 2004, five years after Mr. Harris led the Tories to a second-straight majority in June, 1999. As such, that’s plenty of time to put his stamp on government and then ask Ontarians if they want more of the same.
A more likely scenario, however, is that Mr. Eves will call an election a year from now—after sending MPPs home for the summer and then introducing a throne speech in the fall that outlines the direction he wants to take our province.
Trouble is, throne speeches are deliberately vague. Coupled with talk of a looming election, MPPs will be more concerned about getting re-elected through a long, drawn out “pseudo” campaign next fall and winter than actually doing any real business at Queen’s Park.
In effect, we’re looking at a lame duck government for the next 12-18 months. And frankly, there are too many pressing issues and problems facing our province that simply cannot be put on the backburner for that long.
Instead, Mr. Eves should call an election by this fall. The campaign would allow all parties to outline their platforms and debate the issues—and give the new government an actual mandate from the people.
More important, it would mean real governing at Queen’s Park within six months instead of merely going through the motions for the next year—if not longer. That’s just unacceptable.