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Bread and Circuses – The Aftermath of the Provincial Election

June 9th, 2018 by Michael Dyet


Hmmm, was the most telling aspect of the provincial election the fact that it was a victory of rhetoric over truth?

Now that the dust has settled, we need to take a look at what went down in the election and what we can learn from it.

Lesson 1: Political experience is now detrimental to a candidate’s chances. The public, disenchanted by politician’s behaviours, now favours the common man – untested and unsullied by time in the political trenches.

Doug Ford fit the bill perfectly. He has only one term as a city councillor to his credit. He fell short in the Toronto mayoralty race but regrouped and was the dark horse winner in the Conservative party leadership race. Now the political rookie is Premier.

Lesson: The most powerful tool in an election campaign is a simple, unequivocal message powerfully and repeatedly delivered. Sadly, it does not matter if the data to back up the message is flawed, lacking, or missing altogether.

Lesson: There is a different ethical code – or perhaps a total lack on one – when it comes to election advertising. The gloves were off like never before in this campaign. The bile and vitriol that jumped off our television screens would result in slander charges in any other situation.

Lesson: Increasingly, people cast their votes on the basis of what, or who, they do not want. Election candidates spend more time digging up dirt on their opponents and mud-flinging than on proclaiming what they will do – and regrettably that is rewarded.

Lesson: Voter apathy is at a dangerous level. The numbers of people who do not vote is as worrisome as the numbers who vote against rather than for. This election had the highest voter turnout since 1999 when Mike Harris won a second term. But that high water mark is still only 58% of eligible voters.

Lesson: One person’s decision can affect a party’s future. Liberal Liz Sandals elected not to run this time in her Guelph riding. That decision opened the door for Green Party leader Mike Schreiner who became the first Green Party candidate to hold a seat in parliament.

Considering that the Liberals fell one agonizing seat short of the minimum number required for official party status, Sandal’s decision to step aside could have been the difference-maker in that fall from grace for the Conservatives.

Aside: I would bet my last dollar that Liberal insiders are scrutinizing the riding by riding results looking for a riding where the Liberal candidate finished second by a small margin so they can call for a Hail Mary recount in the hopes of clawing back that one all-important seat.

Have you heard of the bread and circuses metaphor? It refers to the satisfaction of shallow or immediate desires of the populace at the expense of good policy. I fear that is what this election boiled down to in the final analysis. Will we spend the next four years paying the price?

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ 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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