A great victory, now what?
Well, the numbers are in, and the people have spoken. We Liberals are feeling pretty good about ourselves right about now. We managed to take 71 seats, compared to only 26 for the Conservatives and 10 for the NDP. In all, we managed to capture approximately 42% of the popular vote. Liberals across Ontario should be proud of the great work we've done, considering the strong campaign that was expected from John Tory we really managed to exceed expectations. While it's true that a poorly run Tory campaign was a big help, the October 10th results are a major endorsement of the McGuinty government.
Here at Ottawa U, we managed to hand a crushing defeat to the NDP, in spite of that party's best efforts to pass itself of as the party that best catered to student interests. Of the eight polls considered "campus polls" we managed to win every single one, and in several cases actually collected double the ballots cast for the NDP. While it should be noted that six of the 8 polls are actually for certain residents of the Sandy Hill neighbourhood, a large portion of these were students. The remaining two polls consisted entirely of students living on campus, and were both easily won by Liberal candidate Madeleine Meilleure.
Still, we Liberals should not be so quick to break our arms patting ourselves on the backs just yet, since this week's results actually reflect a small decrease in voter approval. Our majority at Queen's Park has been reduced from 72 seats won with 46% popular support in the 2003 elections. Still, governing a province is not easy, and when you actually have a record in office to defend, an opposition party is bound to steal away a seat or two. When you consider all of the hype that was created by the creation of the health tax, the results actually show that we have done a good job of getting our message across.
I cannot say that I am pleased to see that MMP was so handily defeated. I rather expected that it would not meet the formula required to pass, but was sort of holding out against hope that it might obtain a majority of votes so that the present government might be encouraged to continue searching for a more acceptable form of democratic renewal. Oh well, the people have spoken. Still, all that the results of the referendum really say is that at least for now, the people who voted prefer the First Past The Post (FPTP) system to MMP (or perhaps just didn't feel comfortable with MMP). I sincerely hope that Premier McGuinty will continue for ways to add proportionality to our system. As pleased as I am to see so many Liberals in office, it just doesn't seem fair that we should have 42% of the popular vote and 66% of the seats at Queen's Park.
No matter what, I am most displeased with the voter turnout. I am aware that there has been a growing trend of voter apathy throughout the western world, but somehow I just can't wrap my head around the lack of interest in this particular election, with a referendum to change the way we elect our MPPs one would think that voter turnout would be at least at a normal level. Oh well, I suppose there's only so much that can be done.