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Signs, Signs, Everywhere a (Red, Blue or Orange) Sign

May 12th, 2018 by Michael Dyet


Hmmm, can decorum survive the month-long storm of rhetoric that lies ahead?

Here we are again in Ontario in the midst of an election campaign. Candidate signs are popping up like Dandelions on front lawns in my neighbourhood. Like a creeping vine, they quickly migrate to fences and any other structure that will hold them. The primary colours of political parties assault our eyes at every turn.

It calls to mind the lyrics of the popular Five Man Electrical Band song “Signs”:

Signs, signs

Everywhere a sign

Blocking out the scenery

Breaking my mind

Do this, don’t do that

Can’t you read the signs?

Change the last two lines to Vote for me, not for him / Can’t you read my signs? and it becomes the election theme song. It would not surprise me at all if a few people vote purely on the basis of who has the most signs – or perhaps even as arbitrary a criteria as “Which sign did I see last before I entered the polling station?”.

Party leaders are as usual doing their best to polarize our choices. They stake out positions and hammer away at them incessantly right up to election day.

Kathleen Wynn, who only survived the last election because of Tim Hudak’s slash-and-burn platform, is playing the Doug Ford is the Canadian Donald Trump card and ducking for cover whenever her government’s record of scandals is thrown in her face.

Doug Ford is proof that success in politics is more about opportunism and good timing than anything else. With only one term as a city councillor to his credit, he grabbed the Conservative leadership when the sexual harassment tsunami took down Patrick Brown. He is hoping to ride the Common Man, I’m for the Little Guy bandwagon all the way to the provincial legislature.

Andrea Horvath, to no one’s surprise, is playing both ends against the middle and portraying herself as the only reasonable candidate. Her main message seems to be: We need change after Wynn’s reign of shame, but for shame if you vote for Doug Ford.

And poor, Green Party leader Mike Schreiner is struggling to get noticed at all amidst the storm of rhetoric between the big three party leaders. I will admit that I had to do a Google search for “Provincial Green Party Leader” to find his name.

For the next month, we will be locked into the double-edged, sign-of-the-times metaphor as the party leaders duke it out on the political battlefield. Make no mistake about it. It is a war and there will be casualties – most notably the once cherished concept of decorum.

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~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at or the novel online companion at

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