Saturday, September 19, 2009

Taking a Look at the GPO results in St. Paul's - Without the Rose Coloured Glasses

Irrespective of the actual results in any election, it is always expected that supporters of a particular party will do their best to put a favourable spin on the results. That is part of the political game. Congratulations are offered on a "great effort" and all the "hard work". Having been involved in the electoral process as both a campaign manager at the municipal level and later running as a provincial candidate I appreciate the immense amount of energy and commitment required. ANYONE who chooses to become involved in a campaign deserves our thanks and admiration. They are participating in a democratic process and encouraging debate.

However, there also is a time for supporters to take off the rose coloured glasses when they review the results. This is of particular importance for members of the Green Party of Ontario as they analyze the figures in the recent provincial by-election in St. Paul's. Yes, I suppose it is appropriate for Jim Harris to post warmly on Facebook his "Congratulations to Chris Chopik who ran a fantastic campaign in the St Paul's by-election!" However, if the campaign was so "fantastic", why are the numbers down so much? Comparing the results to the 2007 general election the Green share of the total vote dropped by more than a third from 8.3% to 5.4%. The total vote count for Greens in St. Paul's was cut by more than half from 3744 to 1514. Where did those 2200+ voters go?

Does anyone know? More importantly, does anyone care?

If the GPO is to ever elect members to the provincial legislature, it must start finding answers to these, and many other difficult questions.

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