Listen Up! Some election musings while we wait for the writ to drop



Hugh Mackenzie
Huntsville Doppler

Election Fever

One sure sign for me that summer is over, is that the Canadian National Exhibition closes its doors for another year and schools, colleges and universities, open theirs. Officially we still have three weeks left, but for all intents and purpose, we are into the fall season.

It will be a busy few months, especially with a federal election on the horizon. The writ will be dropped any day now and then we will really be off to the races. In my view, it is going to be a horse race, not just across the country, but here in Parry Sound-Muskoka as well.

National polls are showing the Conservatives and Liberals neck and neck. That must be somewhat worrisome for the Grits because by usual standards, a first-term government is often given a second kick at the can in Canada, and at this point they should be ahead in the polls.

It will be interesting to see how forgiving voters will be of a government that has been steeped in controversy, scandal and wanton spending of their money. In the past few weeks alone, the Liberals have made pre-election promises totalling $7.7 billion. All this in spite of a total failure to deal with a current deficit many times what they promised and a staggering and unsustainable debt of $691 billion. A terrible place to be in, especially if we face a recession in the next few years as predicted. Sad to say, but I wonder how many people will really give a damn and will simply reach out for more election goodies.

The other side of the coin, of course, is that if there is going to be a change in government, people need to know for whom they are changing. In practical terms, only the Conservatives have a chance of defeating the Trudeau Government and yet too few people, in my view, know what Andrew Scheer really stands for when it comes to the important issues of government. He is not a newcomer. He has far more experience in the political realm than does Justin Trudeau.

However, during this election campaign it will not be enough for Andrew Scheer to tell us what is wrong with the Trudeau Government. Many of us already know that. What we really want to know is how he will do better than they have, how he will bring integrity to government, how he will protect the interests of every Canadian regardless of their circumstances, and how will we all be better off under his leadership. We need to know how he is going to bring Canada’s natural resources to market, how he will improve our international trade relationships, what initiatives he will substitute for the carbon tax to effectively fight climate change, and how will he bring badly needed unity to all parts of Canada. Andrew Scheer has just seven weeks to do that.

It is too early to predict the outcome of the federal election but if the Liberals and Conservatives continue to slug it out on wedge issues and personal mudslinging, instead of dealing with the real issues of government that affect the lives of every Canadian, then it is quite possible we will elect a minority government. If that happens, in my view, the Green Party and not the NDP will hold the balance of power. That may not be such a bad thing. The perception is that because of their environmental priorities they are a party of the left. The reality is that they are not. The Green Party leans more to the middle of the road and they have reasonable fiscal policies. They do not spend for the sake of spending. That may not be a bad thing.

The election in Parry Sound-Muskoka will also be a close one although not, in my opinion, as acrimonious as at the national level. There are five candidates that I am aware of. Contrary to some people’s opinion, this is not a safe riding for anyone. In the last three decades we have elected representatives at either the Federal or Provincial level from the three major political parties.

In my view, the winner in this riding, as at the national level, will be either the Liberals or the Conservatives, although the Green Party candidate, while not well known here, has a strong environmental and political background and will finish well.

Trisha Cowie, the Liberal nominee, is not new to this arena. She is a lawyer with an Indigenous background and she was a candidate in the last federal election, defeated by Tony Clement. She has maintained her public profile and she is well known and largely respected across the riding. She has a strong network of support and she will be a formidable candidate

Scott Aitchison, who is the Conservative nominee, will also be a very strong candidate. He has spent more than 20 years of his young life as an elected representative in Muskoka. He is serving his second term as Mayor of Huntsville and is well known throughout Parry.Sound- Muskoka. He has been an outspoken champion for two acute care hospitals to serve Muskoka and East Parry Sound. He knows how government operates at all three levels because he has worked with them, and he is an excellent communicator.

Both Scott Aitchison and Trisha Cowie have pledged they will run a respectful campaign and I believe them.

As of today, Scott Aitchison has taken an unpaid leave of absence from his position as Mayor. Karin Terziano is now acting Mayor and will be until after the federal election. She is not new to the game. She is third generation Huntsvillian and has served as both a local and District Councillor and as Deputy Mayor. She served as Acting Mayor previously when Scott Aitchison underwent heart surgery and as the Mayor himself said, everything went off without a hitch. We are in good hands.

If Scott Aitchison is successful in becoming the next Member of Parliament, we will be seeking a new Mayor in Huntsville. While Karin Terziano has made it clear we are not there yet, she has also made it known that should a vacancy occur, she would give serious consideration to seeking the position. She is certainly well qualified and perhaps the time is approaching when Huntsville should have its first woman Mayor!

All in all, a season of election fever!

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  1. Great story Hugh.
    The truth is no matter what you or anybody else says or what party we elect
    they are all the same. The people count for 6 weeks every 4 years and then it’s back
    to representing themselves and the party. This has been stated time and time again, but nobody seems to get the message.
    Are any of them really worth voting for?
    To each their own!
    P.S. Yes I shall be voting!

    • Frances Botham on

      I read your commentary with interest and acknowledge the fact that you love our local politicians.
      I only have some basic questions.
      What did they do to follow up on the train station initial agreement? It is apparent that the agreement was not adhered to, is it not?
      Has specific initiative been taken to reduce the town’s sunshine list? Taxpayer money is flowing out at great speed to pay this while many of our citizenry are below the poverty level and cannot make basic ends meet. Food is needed for school kids so they don’t have to spend the day in class hungry! Something is deperately wrong there.
      What Town input has gone into planning? Now it appears okay for homes to be built in swampy areas. Docks are going in everywhere like a blight. Every day construction is evident in places that appear questionable. One wonders how long we can allow wildlife habitat to be destroyed before someone stands up to oppose?
      Is there any concern for facade control on new construction in our commercial area? A prime example is the ugliest building in town, Meet Beer.
      There are a multide of issues such as rock quarries, vehicles parking half way on the sidewalk on Brunel Road before Kent Park. And Kent Park which is the mish mash of all!
      I am just asking, what did our politicians do to address and remedy these few-issues, some of many. One can only assume the good deeds were not reported in our media, and the politicians must be dutifully applauded as you say?

  2. Scott has done a tremendous job as our mayor in Huntsville during the past two terms. I believe that Scott truly understands the needs of our community and will do an excellent job in Ottawa. As one of his former teachers, I am very happy to endorse his attitude and the energy he will bring to the Federal government if he is chosen by the electorate. Do a good job Scott, the community is behind you

    • While this is conventional wisdom, I am at a loss as to why objectively anyone feels that the mayor (or indeed this council) is seen as having done a “good job”. I am and have been looking at the census data since 1996, and by all measures (older, less productive, great income inequality, not as well educated, affordability, lower “real income”) the citizens of Huntsville are worse off. Just to confirm all this, this summer, Macleans magazine published an analysis of the largest 415 communities in Canada, Huntsville ranked 367 (pretty close to the bottom 10%). This was on a host of metrics that matter. I understand that the Mayor is well liked and he may be a nice guy……but please he and this council are oblivious to the issues that challenge Huntsville or are just incapable of dealing with them.

  3. I for one am sick of hearing about global warming. It’s been going on for at least 10.000 years and is not going to stop or be stopped by anything we do. That being said if we reduce the pollution then it might slow it down but I don’t think even that will help much. this taxing carbon is just an excuse to put more money in Govt for them to waste. If we take a look at history we see that Canada was tropical at one time and I see no reason to think that it will not be like that again in the future.

  4. While i agree with Hugh that we do not know how Andrew Scheer will make things better for Canadians, or his plans to rectify Liberal initiations, I am not convinced that this is such a bad thing. When you consider all of the promises and planned activities put forth by the Liberal government prior to the last election that never even remotely came to pass, maybe just low keying any great changes pre-election is a good thing. He still has the mentioned 7 weeks to state his plans, but with the current Liberal messes he will have to face if elected, it has to be a daunting task. Promises made are not only hard to keep, but often impossible to live up to until the former governments housecleaning is done, and that takes time. Unfortunately, voters are impatient and want instant action which is unfortunately more controversy in the making. Maybe some day is the future, political candidates will finally listen to the voters who have been saying for decades that ALL parties have good ideas and input. The wisest leader will be the one that listens to it all and rather than looking for creating/leaving a single party “legacy”, will realize that working together is a better solution, taking input from all.
    “Takes a village to raise a child” and should take all parties to run a country.

    • Doesn’t it seem there are Lots of issues, but light on policies for what’s written?
      Balanced article, if 2 Candidates only, slight mention of something green, but isn’t there more? I know of one, Michelle Smith, People’s Party of Canada running in Muskoka Parry Sound & from what is on Maxime Bernier’s and the PPC’s website, utubes, Facebook, their policies are substancial about Canada, global warming/environment, healthcare incentives to provincial governments, prioritizing immigration, standing for veterans, Internal trade; getting rid of interprovincial barriers, supply management, fixing the tax system, conservative values on government, freedom of conscience and speech, allowing one of our main resources to grow; oil & gas, espousing key principles of individual freedom, personal responsibility, fairness, & respect. People’s Party of Canada. ca Thats just one other Candidate to consider. I’m sure there are others but not included in this article.

  5. As I see it, Justin Trudeau started out in good form and did so until Donald Trump showed up. Having to deal with all this “Trump nonsense etc.” is beyond me. Having said all this, one should note, the fastest growing economy in the G. Twenty is CANADA.

    • Trudeau’s economy is a total failure
      The reality is that Justin Trudeau’s economic policies have been a total failure. And while Trudeau and the elites can escape the consequences, the Canadian people are paying the price.
      In America President Trump has increased economic growth to the fastest economic expansion in over 4 years due to implementation of tax cuts and deregulation, the direct opposite of the damaging socialist approach.

      Spencer Fernando, 3 months ago 3 min
      Canadians are getting poorer everyday.

      There are many funny games the government and elites play in order to hide the true state of the economy.

      For example, they love talking about “GDP growth,” while almost never wanting to discuss GDP per capita.

      That’s because GDP growth includes population growth, and while it claims to be “inflation adjusted,” it often seems that real inflation far surpasses what the government claims.

      Why would the government want to make sure population growth factors in to how they report economic ‘success?’

      Turns out, if immigration numbers are high, it’s almost guaranteed that the economy will look like it’s growing—even if things are actually getting worse.

      For example, Canada’s annualized GDP growth for the first quarter of 2019 was a paltry 0.4%. Population growth over that time was 1.2%.

      So, Canada’s economy declined by 0.8% on per capita terms. And since each of us is only one person, it’s the per capita measurement that matters for our actual well-being.

      As an example, Monaco—the independent city-state in Europe—has a GDP of about $6 billion. North Korea has a GDP of about $25 billion. So, North Korea has a much bigger economy than Monaco.

      But Monaco has a population of just 38,000 people, while North Korea has a population of around 25 million.

      So, on a per capita basis, Monaco is dramatically more wealthy than North Korea. And each person in Monaco experiences only their own level of wealth, thus giving them a higher standard of living than people in North Korea who each experience their own much smaller income.

      Yet, here in Canada, we still constantly hear about national GDP as the marker of how great things are going, ignoring the actual per capita picture.

      The reality is that if our economy is growing just 0.4%, while our population is up 1.2%, then it means most Canadians are actually getting poorer.

      Imagine that our population doubled in a year and went to 74 million. Then, imagine that our GDP increased by 50% in that same time. Technically, our GDP would have surged massively, yet each Canadian would be dramatically poorer and worse off.

      Of course, measuring by per capita GDP on a regular basis would more often show that things are stagnant or getting worse, so the government doesn’t talk about it.

      And when we look at the inflation rate, things are looking even more dire for Canada.

      The most recent measure of inflation showed it going up at 2.4%, a big increase to the cost of living.

      Rising inflation can be a good thing, if it accompanies an economy that is growing at a strong rate.

      But that’s not what’s happening in Canada.

      Here, the cost of living is rising, the population is growing, and the economy is stagnant. Thus, it’s no surprise that Canada’s household debt—already among the highest in the world—is rising even more, with bankruptcies going up as well.

      Just contrast the economic numbers in the US with the numbers here in Canada.

      The US population is growing at 0.7%,while their GDP is growing at 3.1%, meaning they have real growth.

      Their inflation rate is currently 2.0%.

      So, the US has lower population growth, higher GDP growth, and lower inflation than we do.

      And all of this occurs as the Trudeau Liberals are running large budget deficits year after year. At the very least, those deficits should create a temporary economic boom, but we simply aren’t seeing it.

      The reality is that Justin Trudeau’s economic policies have been a total failure. And while Trudeau and the elites can escape the consequences, the Canadian people are paying the price.

      • No offense, BJ, but if you admire Mr. Trump so much; then perhaps you should emigrate to the States. Re their economy, he is simply reaping the rewards of Mr. Obama’s initiatives in that arena. And his tariffs on steel and aluminum severely impacted that section of our resource-based economy.

  6. Hugh, if the race between Mr. Aitchison and Ms. Cowie is too close to call; why is only Mr. Aitchison depicted? As usual, your bias is showing. There will be a Liberal minority government (with the NDP as king-maker). As you know, with the NDP as the national conscience, we have enjoyed our most productive years.

    • Elizabeth Rice - Doppler Publisher on

      Hi Rob,
      In fairness to Hugh, he does not choose the image that accompanies his commentary. That is done by one of our editors.

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