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October 4, 2007: Ontario's Next General Election Edit
On or before October 4, 2007, adult citizens of Canada who reside in the province of Ontario will go to the polls to elect 107 Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) to Ontario's Provincial Legislature: one MPP for each of 107 geographically-delimited electoral districts. It is expected that the election writ will be dropped 29 days prior, on September 5, 2007, which will result in a four-week election period. However, because all parties expect October 4, 2007 to be polling day, parties are expected to begin unofficial electioneering efforts as early as now.
Your Electoral District Edit
Elections Ontario's web site provides a convenient means for determining in which electoral district you reside.
How the Government of Ontario is Chosen Edit
Pursuant to Canadian constitutional convention, the Lieutenant Governor General of Ontario decides who will be Ontario's Premier. Once appointed by the Lietenant Governor General, Ontario's Premier chooses a "cabinet" of ministers to take responsibility for the administration of various aspects of the governance of Ontario. Pursuant to Canadian constitutional convention, the Lieutenant Governor General appoints, as Premier, the leader of the Registered political party whose nominated candidates win the greatest number of seats in an Ontario general election.
Want to be a Candidate in Election 2007? Edit
Any adult Canadian citizen who is a resident of Ontario has the right to run as a candidate in the Ontario election. The process is set out in detail at the website of the governmental organization that administers elections in Ontario: Elections Ontario. However, the basics are:
1. Attend the Returning Office in the Electoral District in which for which you want to become the MPP (NOTE: you do not have to live in that electoral district in order to be a candidate).
2. Ask for nomination papers.
3. Fill-out your nomination papers, and have them signed by not less than 25 people who are eligible to vote in the electoral district (adult Canadian citizens who reside in the electoral district).
4. Not sooner than 21 day prior to polling day, and not later than 2:00 PM 14 days prior to polling day, go back to the returning office with your duly signed nomination paper together with a certified cheque in the amount of $200.00 (CAN). Hand both to the returning officer. He/she will check the names on your nomination papers and determine whether or not at least 25 of them appear on the list of individuals who are eligible to vote in that electoral district. If the returning officer finds that the nomination papers have been signed by at least 25 eligible voters of the district, the returning officer will give you a receipt, which is your iron-clad confirmation that you are a candidate and that your name will appear on the ballot. It's that simple.
Improving the Odds of Winning: Getting a Party Nomination Edit
A candidate that has not also been nominated by one of Ontario's nine registered political parties is referred to as an "independent" candidate. Historically, independent candidates have not obtained very many votes (usually less than 1% of the total votes cast by voters in the electoral district). For this reason, most candidates seek the nomination (i.e., the offical endorsement) of one of Ontario's nine registered political parties.
In Ontario, ballots do not indicate whether or not you have the nomination of a registered political party. However, current practice is that, at each polling station, Elections Ontario posts a list showing the party affiliation (if any) of each candidate on the ballot. Many voters do not care who is the candidate, and simply vote for whoever has been nominated by the party that they prefer. Therefore, having the nomination of a registered political party can be to your electoral advantage.
There are few if any laws concerning how to obtain the nomination of a political party. Most of Ontario's registered political parties have written constitutions that explain - to one extent or another - how a person can try to obtain the party's nomination:
There are nine (9) registered political parties in Ontario:
Article 8, Section 2 
Ontario Provincial Confederation of Regions Party: Leader - (vacant)
- Candidates: http://www.netrover.com/~fcpont/ctable.htm
- Website: http://www.familyparty.on.ca
- Telephone: 1-888-613-2645
- Website: http://www.freedomparty.on.ca
- Platform:The Right Direction
- Constitution: http://web.archive.org/web/20060502114558/http://www.freedomparty.on.ca/party/documents/constitution.as.amended.November.20.2005.pdf
- Email: http://www.freedomparty.on.ca/e-mail/e-mail.feedback.htm
- Telephone (London, ON): 519-681-3999
- Telephone (Toll Free): 1-800-830-3301
- Website: http://www.greenparty.on.ca
- Constitution: http://www.greenparty.on.ca/welcome/6_Constitution.shtml
- Email: http://www.greenparty.on.ca/contact
- Telephone (Toronto): 416-929-2397
- Telephone (Toll Free): 1-888-6GREEN6 (647-3366)
- Website: http://ontarioliberal.ca
- Constitution: http://web.archive.org/web/20061008174158/http://ontarioliberal.ca/content/pdfs/OntarioLiberalPartyConstitution2005.pdf
- Telephone (Toronto): 416-961-3800
- Telephone (Toll Free): 1-800-268-7250
- Website: http://www.libertarian.on.ca
- Constitution: http://www.libertarian.on.ca/platform/constit.htm
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone: 416-283-7589
- Website: http://www.ontariondp.on.ca
- Constitution: http://www.ontariondp.on.ca/ONDP_constitution.pdf
- Email: email@example.com
- Telephone: 416-591-8637
- Website: http://www.ontariopc.com
- Constitution: http://web.archive.org/web/20060508040530/http://www.ontariopc.com/documents/Constitution_2005.pdf
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone (Toronto): 416-861-0020
- Telephone (Toll-free): 1-800-903-6453
Ontario's Biggest Issues Edit
There are issues that are common to all jurisdictions around the globe, such as poverty, pollution, and crime. However, each jurisdiction is faced with certain problems that are particularly pressing within the jurisdiction. Ontario is no exception in this regard. Here are some of the biggest crises facing Ontario at present:
As the demand for electricity increases, and as power generation stations and transmission systems (i.e., wires) age, Ontario is facing the prospect that electricity supply will not reliably meet the demand for electricity.
Aging, Inadequate Transmission System: the "Wires"Edit
Transmission lines and towers, which transmit electricity from power generation stations to various communities within Ontario, are extremely old in many cases. Some date back to World War I. Aged transmission infrastructure will increasingly lead to downed lines, which can put the entire international power grid at risk of shut-down: a tree branch touching a power line shut down much of the power grid in Canada and the USA in the summer of 2003. There is another problem: even were the transmission system not old and degrading, the transmission lines are already being used to full capacity. So, even if more electricity is generated, issues will remain concerning how to transmit that electricity to the communities that are demanding it.
Aging, Inadequate Generation: the "Power Plants"Edit
Generation is also a problem. The largest percentage of Ontario's electricity is produced by nuclear-powered generation stations that are wearing out prematurely. The current, Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty has announced that it will be spending tens of billions of dollars over the next several years to build new nuclear stations, and to squeeze some extended life out of old ones. However, building a nuclear-powered generation station takes years. In fact, shovels cannot even go into the ground before an assessment is performed on the environmental impact of such a station at a given site.
The generation issue is complicated by politics. During the campaign of 2003, the Liberal Party - which one the election of that year - promised to close Ontario's coal-powered electricity generation plants by 2007 because of the amount of pollution caused by coal plants. Given the real and already-pressing electricity shortages facing the province, the McGuinty government has announced delays to the shut-down of Ontario's coal plants. New, cleaner-running coal plants can be built relatively quickly and cheaply as compared to nuclear stations, and Alberta, Canada reportedly has enough coal to meet Canada's needs for the next 800-1000 years. However, given the Liberal party's 2003 promise the Liberals are unlikely to propose the building of any coal plants, no matter how cleanly they can now be made to run.
The generation issue is also complicated by natural resources. Ontario has already built hydro-dams by its supplies of running water. There is little or no more running water from which to generate electricity.
The generation issue is also complicated by geography. When nuclear, coal, and water are taken out of the equation, few choices remain. Electricity can be generated by wind and solar sources, but electricity cannot be stored. Some days are windy and would supply electricity, but on non-windy days, wind power would produce little or no electricity. Ontario's latitude and climate are such that, during the late fall, winter and early spring months, the province has relatively short periods of daylight: solar power generation would fail when demand is highest, due to darkness.
Finally, the generation issue is complicated by prices. When nuclear, coal, and hydro sources are removed as options for providing a base load of electricity, few options remain. The most obvious fuel source - natural gas - is currently under very high demand which makes it an expensive fuel for the generation of electricity.
Solutions currently proposed fall into two main camps: rationing (decreasing the demand for electricity) and producing more electricity (increasing supplies of electricity). Given the crisis facing Ontario, the current government is trying both approaches to some extent and, indeed, most parties are proposing both approaches to one extent or another (Liberal, NDP and Green parties, in that order, want an increasing focus on rationing, rather than on the production of more electricity).
The main differences among the parties on this issue relate primarily to implementation and they can be complex. For example, most of Ontario's parties want the government of Ontario to maintain controls on the prices of electricity, whereas Ontario's Freedom Party and Green Party take the view that, by removing price controls, wasteful consumption will be discouraged. Yet such similarity is nowhere to be found when it comes to the issue of production vs. rationing: whereas Freedom Party opposes government-regulated rationing and favours private-sector profit-motivated increases in generation capacity, the Greens propose the province's most dramatic proposals for electricity rationing and oppose increases of generation capacity.
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Paying for education: Public vs. Private SchoolsEdit
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