Old Abe Lincoln pronounced, “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all of the time…but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.
This is an axiom that the Oshawa City Council should think about.
They may have fooled the majority of the voters who, many mistakenly, voted to return to the general vote. This is quite understandable as few people had heard of the question or considered its significant before entering the voting booth. Council in its strategy to fool the people refused to provide information about the issue to the public. Two doctors I talked to did not understand the concept of the general vote and if they didn’t understand it, I presume there were many others also who did not understand it.
I doubt that the 16,000 Oshawa voters who ended up voting for the general vote would want to lose their ward representation or would want all of the council members to reside in a few of the richer areas of Oshawa leaving most of Oshawa without representation on Council. I doubt that they would support a system that makes politicians less accountable to the people. I doubt they would want a system that guarantees incumbent’s re-election until death or retirement no matter the value of their leadership to Oshawa. I doubt that they would want a system that will produce a stale and aging council devoid of new ideas. I doubt that people would want council members unresponsive to neighbourhood concerns that might arise. I doubt that they want politicians elected based on name recognition only rather than their service to Oshawa voters. As old Abe would have observed, “You can fool some of the people some of the time,” and council did fool a significant number of the 16000 voters who voted for the change but they did not fool the 9000 who voted to retain ward voting.
Old Abe would have surmised that some of the 16000 voting to adopt the general vote would have voted that way no matter what the effects to Oshawa would have been because he said, “Some of the people can be fooled all of the time.” We have seen some of these people’s letters to the editor who insist that the plebiscite result be implemented come hell or high water no matter how the vote was achieved, no matter how much council gerrymandered the question to get the result they did, and no matter the level of devastation the general vote would cause to Oshawa’s long term health. One would have to be a fool to want Oshawa of perhaps 180,000-200,000 population when the next vote is held in 4 years to move to a system used only in the smallest municipalities of 10,000 or so.
Interestingly, these letter writers supporting a change to the general vote only spout the necessity of upholding the plebiscite result. None have given any rationale beyond that in their letters and none have presented any benefits to be achieved to Oshawa from the change. That is understandable, of course, since there are no benefits to be achieved. If there were, wouldn’t other municipalities use the general vote? The
If we do get the general vote with its impossible ballot of upwards of 70 names, I predict that Abe’s pronouncement, “You can’t fool all of the people all of the time,” will prove to be true.
Abe knew that you could not take the voters as fools…something the Oshawa Council has yet to discover. You can trick voters once but not twice. The unmanageable general vote ballot itself will easily focus voter attention on the folly being mitigated on the Oshawa people. It will be easy for the VOTES group to focus this anger on turfing out the self serving members of council.
We shall run the VOTES leader against the Mayor as this will be the only race to get any media attention and exposure. All of the VOTES Mayoralty efforts in the campaign will be focused on harnessing the public resentment toward the change and the politicians responsible. We will constantly and incessantly name names and encourage the people to hold the politicians accountable for their vote. All VOTES advertising and brochures will name “self-serving” incumbents also holding them accountable for their votes. We are confident of bringing the VOTES party to power in Oshawa with a city council dedicated to returning ward voting to Oshawa as its first order of business.
We do not need city council members who mistake the people as fools to be toyed with and want to use the electoral system for their own benefit. We will harness public sentiment to turf these self-serving politicians from office.
The election system must serve the people, not the politicians.
Our election planning and election strategy is already under way. Prepare to be amazed Oshawa!