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> Monday, October 17th, 2011 > Opinion > So the election is over... Now what?
So the election is over... Now what?
Victor De Jong
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Published: Monday, October 17th, 2011
Three months ago, it looked like PC Leader Tim Hudak was going to coast into winning the Ontario provincial election. It was supposed to be a blowout. A poll by Forum Research Inc., Canada's largest survey firm, showed Hudak with 41 per cent of Ontario's decided voters, yet just a few months later Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty walked away just one seat shy of a third majority government. Despite the stunning feat of being the first Ontario Premier to do it in 34 years, McGuinty really didn't say anything he hadn't been for the last eight years.
Here's what this means for you. McGuinty is proposing a $1,600 grant for university students, and a $700 grant for college students starting January 1. On top of that, he is offering grants to cover up to 30 per cent of undergraduate tuition for students whose parents have a combined income of under $160,000 per year.
Hudak hasn't toned down his message since the election, though. The brash front that suffered several public opinion blows promised to keep McGuinty on a short leash. One of Hudak's chief concerns about McGuinty's spending plan includes $30 million from tax-payers to invest in foreign students. The argument is that Ontarians' tax dollars should be funding Ontario students.
The NDP will have an opportunity to weigh in this time around as well. With 17 seats, Andrea Horwath has significantly increased the NDP presence in the Ontario Legislature. Despite an additional seven votes, Horwath wouldn't comment about her expectations from a Liberal minority, simply stating that she'll continue to focus on affordability, employment, and healthcare.
So who decides what is going on in Ontario?
Dalton McGuinty does. Sort of. If at any time the Liberals were to try to force through a bill that the Conservatives and NDP both oppose, it can be voted down. That being said, all the leaders have common interests and some political analysts believe a minority government will actually be more effective as it will require a spirit of cooperation.
Closer to home, NDP member Teresa Armstrong won in the Fanshawe riding by a margin of 4,000 votes over Liberal incumbent Khalil Ramal, who had held the seat for the past two elections. Armstrong made her first trip to Queen's Park on October 13 to get her offices in order, but promises to "work with the people of London-Fanshawe to address the priorities of our community."
Your member of provincial parliament is the person to contact in many situations, from getting information about OSAP to landlord/tenant disputes. The office of your MPP is the avenue for birth certificates and death certificates, as well as the place to go in the event you lose all of your government ID. The role of an MPP is to represent the opinions and concerns of their constituency in the legislative assembly. We the voters have the power to demand policy change and decisions in the Assembly; get in touch with your MPP and make your government work for you.