- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

Polls close in the 2018 Ontario election in 32 hours, as of this writing. The Owen Sound Hub has published letters to the editor and opinion pieces from candidates, supporters and citizens of all political persuasions.
Now it is our turn.

All the candidates in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound are men and women of commitment and passion. But they are all members of political parties whose leaders are under particular scrutiny in this election.
When the votes are counted, one or more of those leaders will be going to the Lieutenant Governor and asking to form the government of Ontario. That person (or persons) will have to work with their MPPs from around the province, and perhaps require the cooperation of the other parties to maintain their government status.

Leadership ability will be the key to our next four years in Ontario.

Throughout the local campaign, Doug Ford's name has barely been breathed by the PCs. No FordNation signage, no photos of Ford. We know that Bill Walker supported Christine Elliott for the party leadership, and the local PC membership followed suit. But Walker's future work and position in the legislature will be decided by Doug Ford.

Perhaps Doug Ford did not understand the implications of Tanya Granic Allen's rhetoric and personal platform or know that he was illegally attending a fundraiser or that his offer of free PC memberships breached the party's constitution. But he should have.
And perhaps Renata Ford's lawsuit is indeed a family feud and not mismanagement and "plundering". We will not know the truth of that before Ford asks us to hand him the keys to the Premier's office.

But most importantly, if you want the changes Ford is promising, you need the truth about how they could or couldn't be accomplished.
Minimum wage is an important example. On January 1, current legislation will increase it to $15 an hour. The only way that will not happen is if the PCs can get enough MPPs to vote to repeal that law. If Ford does not get a majority government, the other parties have made it clear he will not have those votes.

Andrea Horwath has been leader of the NDP since 2009 and enjoys strong support among party members. Any gains she makes in this election will require many who do not identify with the NDP nevertheless to give Horwath their vote. This would demonstrate trust in her ability to move beyond partisanship and ideology – something her opponents say is not possible. Again, some of her most significant platform planks – returning Hydro One to public ownership, pharmacare and dental care - could be subject to the compromises of a minority government.

Without doubt, Kathleen Wynne will be stepping down as Liberal leader after this election. That party will soon have a leadership convention. But in the meantime, Wynne or an interim leader will need to work in the government we elect on Thursday, whether as part of the opposition, or in cooperation with a minority leader.

A fourth party leader, Mike Schreiner of the Green Party, has no illusions that he will be the Premier of Ontario on Friday. He could, however, be the first elected Green in the legislature. After nine years of working with all parties at Queen's Park, he is committed to doing politics differently; collaborating on the good ideas and fighting the damaging ones. His role in Ontario's future is "to be determined".

Politics, said Prussian Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck, is the "art of the possible, the attainable."
Leaders in Ontario after Thursday may have to demonstrate just how adept they are at the art.

The polls will open in – now – 21 hours. See you on the other side.


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