If you are a resident of Kingston and the Islands and your preferred outcome for this election is an NDP majority government under Andrea Horwath, then your vote is undoubtedly for Ian Arthur. If, on the other hand, you are not certain that would be the best outcome, then the considerations discussed below may be helpful.
In light of Kathleen Wynne’s forthright June 2 acknowledgement that she will no longer be Premier after June 7, I now consider the optimum outcome for Ontario as being a Legislature in which neither the NDP nor the PCs command a majority. In that scenario, even if the PCs win the larger number of ridings, it is quite unlikely that sufficient NDP and Liberal MPPs would support the mandatory confidence vote on the Speech from the Throne, which means that Doug Ford’s proposed government would fall and Andrea Horwath would then likely become Premier. Minority governments have historically been quite productive and make far fewer expensive mistakes because their leaders must temper their impulses, listen to the views of others and seek acceptable compromises to advance their policy agendas.
Here in Kingston, all that one can be concluded from the most recent local polling data is that it has become a very close three-way race between the Liberal, NDP and PC candidates, since the differences between the candidates’ rankings are less than those polls’ margins of error. Hence the outcome will be determined by the large number of still-undecided voters. Given the degree to which popular incumbent MPP Sophie Kiwala’s share of the vote was being depressed by the unprecedented unpopularity of her party leader, she will more than likely now be in the lead and hence the best bet for voters whose overwhelming concern is to do what they can to avoid Doug Ford becoming our majority Premier.
That said, our primary responsibility as voters remains to choose the candidate who will best represent us and our community in the Ontario Legislature for the next four years. By all objective criteria, Sophie is that candidate. If you view and critically compare the content rather than just the images on all three candidates’ campaign websites, you will find that Sophie’s has by far the most substance. Where the others make vague promises as to what they hope to do for us, Sophie has a host of proven achievements which conclusively demonstrate that she has what it takes to turn her promises into reality. Most MPPs have relatively little to show after their first term in office, which is quite understandable given the very steep learning curve which they face in a highly complex environment, and the fact that it takes time to earn sufficient respect and trust of one’s colleagues to garner support for one’s initiatives. Sophie was able to hit the ground running, in part because of who she is and in part because her previous seven years working closely with MPs Peter Milliken and Ted Hsu had given her a deep understanding of how to perform the real job of an elected representative. Over the past four years, she has grown to be one of Ontario’s most effective MPPs. As individual voters and as a community, therefore, it would be foolish for us waste that considerable investment on her part and ours by electing someone who would have to start all over from scratch.
There is one more very important consideration which applies to this particular election. Our next Legislature is likely to be both fractured and fractious, with the majority of the most experienced MPPs gone. Therefore, Kingston’s best contribution to good government in this province would be to return Sophie to the Legislature. She is the only one of the local candidates with the necessary experience and personal skills to build bridges, find consensus and help get things done. She has a reputation for being unfailingly gracious and respectful to MPPs and staff of all parties, while retaining her fierce determination serve the interests of the people who elected her and of all those in need. Those attributes are evidenced by the fact that all of Sophie’s private member’s bills were passed unanimously, which is almost unprecedented.