I am among the forgotten. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be one of those “poor me” rants.
On June 2, Ontario is holding a provincial election, which naturally means the leaders of the four parties presently represented in the legislature are making all kinds of promises. Those four parties are the Progressive Conservatives, the current ruling party; the New Democratic Party, the official opposition; the Liberal Party (third party status) and the Green Party, who have one representative, Mike Schreiner who is the leader of the party.
I am a senior, living on my own. I have heard nothing from any of these four parties that will significantly affect my life.
The Conservatives have been talking mainly of highways. One such project, which has been approved, is for a bypass north of Toronto. One already exists, but it’s a toll road and not that well used, so the Conservatives want to build another one. In other words, a bypass for the bypass. The problems with that are that not many of the communities along the projected route want the damn thing. And this proposed route will destroy some of the best agricultural land in southern Ontario. Holland Marsh provides much of the produce we have available in supermarkets in and around Toronto and this proposed route, Highway 413, will apparently run through this area. As the leader, Doug Ford, keeps harping on how this will save commuters 30 minutes a day, I haven’t heard much more of the party platform. Fine, but I don’t drive and I don’t live anywhere close to the proposed route. And I’d much rather have access to a greater selection of produce.
Based on news reports, this Highway 413 project sounds like a vanity project for the Premier. It starts west of Toronto, but rather than span the entire width of Toronto, it stops about two-thirds of the way. That will funnel traffic onto the already crowded north/south Highway 404, which in turn leads to possible the busiest highway in the country, Highway 401. So other than Doug for getting to say “I built this road”, it doesn’t really do much. That fifteen minutes saved each way will rapidly dissolve when drivers get to the existing packed roadways.
The New Democratic Party, led by Andrea Horwath, is talking about making long term care homes non-profit. She also wants to hire more nurses, which the province could certainly use. News reports state that long term care homes are terribly understaffed, so that is a good proposal. The only thing she’s said that has any appeal for me is the proposal to start a provincial dental care programme. This would be similar to the current health plan, but would be a temporary measure as the feds are apparently starting one in about two years.
Steven Del Duca and the Liberal Party are also making promises but … Both he and Andrea Horwath would cancel the Conservatives Highway 413, which is good. Del Duca said, in one of his campaign speeches he would reduce transit fares on all transit systems in the province to $1 a ride. The additional deficits to the various transit authorities would be offset by using funds from the cancelled 413. (Keep this in mind – that money is discussed again later). The catch to his dollar a ride is that it’s only for three months. He has also taken aim at the education system and promises to hire more teachers and give additional funding to school boards. Guess where the funding for this will come from? That’s right, the cancelled 413.
The Green Party have been talking about the environment – naturally – and creating affordable housing. While the environment is of concern, at my age, I’m not buying a house.
In all the campaign rhetoric and from what I can find on the websites for the four parties, I can find nothing that will have an impact on my life. Well, other than the dental proposal. The transit proposal would have a minor effect as I rarely use transit. As for the rest, well, I don’t drive so the highway proposals – yes there was more than one – are meaningless to me and I don’t live anywhere close to where these projects are planned. I live on my own so while I care whether or not residents of long term care homes receive proper care, there is no direct impact on my life.
So it appears that I and many others in my situation have been forgotten by the politicians of this province. We are in essence invisible.