In the 2018 Ontario election, more people didn't vote than who supported any party or leader.
I met quite a few of these people. I knocked on their doors, and asked them about the upcoming Ontario election. They would say things like, "what's the point?" or "why would I waste my time?" For many, the answer was even more definitive:
"I'm not voting. I hate politics."
I heard this line over and over and over again. I'd then ask, "well, is there anything you'd like to see change in Ontario?" Funny enough, not a single person had difficulty answering this question. People had all kinds of ideas about things they wanted to see in their province, their community, their street or their school. We are not short on problems and injustices, big and small, that need to be addressed; we are not short on ideas about how quality of life in our province can be improved.
Almost everyone can think of something they would like to see change. The problem is that many people have stopped believing that politics is a way to make those changes.
I think we should be paying close attention here. If politics is such a turn-off, or doesn't seem like a meaningful way to make progress or solve problems -- well, then we need to change politics.
I teach at a university. I tell my students that we live in a system where everyone has power, and can shape decisions that affect them. But when I look at our politics, that's not what I see. Our politics today keeps some people out. Divisive partisanship turns people off. It can feel like a sales pitch, phony and rehearsed. Parties can seem more interested in blaming and ripping each other down, rather than genuinely listening to each other or working together.
It's not inspiring. It's not engaging. And, it's not productive.
So here's one of the things I'd like to see change in Ontario: how we do politics. Change doesn't happen on its own. It happens when people step forward -- and that's exactly what I'm doing. I'm taking a big step and running to lead the Ontario Liberal Party.
These moments don't come along often. Voters (and non-voters) sent a clear message in 2018, and it's up to us to hear that message, to change, and to earn back people's trust. It's a time to be bold, to try new things, to shake it up. Our party, and our province, is ripe for transformation. It will require people stepping up in every part of our province to build something new.
is there anything you'd like to see change in Ontario? If your answer is yes, then it's time to step up.