Friday, 21 October 2011

Wes Keller's view of election differs from WCO's

Orangeville Citizen Editorial
October 20, 2011
Wes Keller

Heads buried firmly in the sand

Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) appears to be taking credit for the success of Tim Hudak’s Tories and Andrea Horwath’s NDP gains of 11 at the expense of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Grits in the Oct. 6 election.

As justification, it is excerpting articles from the London Free Press and the Ottawa Citizen on its website, in which the writers have indicated that such is the view of the electorate in at least some ridings.
I’ll not hold myself out as a political analyst but it seems to me that, given an anti- Liberal climate, the Tories should have picked up even more seats that it did in traditionally Conservative rural Ontario.
There’s little doubt that WCO influenced some of the vote in former environment minister John Wilkinson’s Perth-Wellington riding but it has to be kept in mind that he had come under fire over what many viewed as his delay in calling for an environmental assessment of the proposed Melancthon mega-quarry and, before that, his stance (when minister of finance) on the much-hated HST.
Even so, Mr. Wilkinson needn’t be ashamed of his showing at the polls. The electorate mustn’t have been all that angry, as only about half of them bothered to vote. Even then, the former minister came within 631 ballots of winning. PC Randy Pettapiece had 14,282 votes. Mr. Wilkinson had 13,652.
Two other ridings should be of interest in this regard – Scarborough Centre, and Kingston and the Islands, both of which reelected the Liberal candidate.
One might suppose that an anti-turbine electorate would turn out in droves to unseat the minister responsible for the Ontario Power Authority which, at ministerial direction, had recently awarded about 1,800 large-scale wind farm contracts.
Yet only about half (45.51%) of the qualified voters turned up at the polls in Scarborough Centre, and they gave Energy Minister Brad Duguid a clear majority of the vote – 16,150 of 31,477 ballots cast. Tory Carol Williams garnered only 7,630 for second place.
Liberal John Gerretson won Kingston and the Islands handily, with 21,040 votes to NDP candidate Mary Rita Holland’s 10,229. That riding is home to Wolfe Island’s 198 MW wind farm. Less than 47% of the electorate went to the polls.
For the complete editorial, click here.

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