Laura Albanese and Paul Ferreira were polished and careful at the debate last night. Andrew Ffrench, the PC candidate was, by far, the most fun to watch, though. He spoke without notes or polish, laid it all on the line, and said some funny things as a result, like when he said, seniors “take up a lot of space” in hospitals.
But in this race, Ffrench can afford to be the most fun: he has nothing to lose. Only Ferreira and Albanese are serious contenders.
Ferreira was sharp, sometimes aggressive, and fast. He hammered his opponents, and especially Albanese.
Albanese was very good too; she struck the right tone at the right occasion—with one, very notable, very disappointing exception.
But that one exception decides my vote.
On policy there was little to separate Ferreira and Albanese (and anyway, few people in the room were undecided. The different flactions clapped like they were on the set of Oprah.) Albanese and Ferreira agreed on auto-insurance, seniors’ issues, transit, pensions, electrification, small business, even sports.
They only really disagreed on history: the history of the Liberal party and of Metrolinx. Ferreira thinks, rightly, that Metrolinx is broken and needs to be fixed. Albanese thinks that it should be given a larger mandate.
The most interesting part—and the part that settled my vote—was about the gas plant scandal and the history of Liberal mismanagement. At first, Albanese answered to these issues well, and said contritely that her party could have done better.
But at the end of the debate she blew it. Ffrench mentioned, again, the wasted $1,300,000,000. Speaking over him, and out of turn, Albanese “It’s over 20 years. And you promised it too. Done, done, done!”
Oh. No. No you don’t.
This was shocking. First, there is Albanese’s disavowal of the facts: Andrew Ffrench did not promise any such thing. He was not in government. Yes, all parties did promise to cancel the gas plants, but only the Liberals knew the true cost. They lied about it and tried to hide it in a shameful bid to spare themselves embarrassment.
And a billion dollars is a billion dollars whether it is wasted slowly or quickly. Those gas plants cost my family $500 in wasted tax money. I expect more than “done, done, done”.
There’s also the implication.
I doubt that Laura Albanese had anything to do with the gas plant scandal— governments are big places—so she probably has little to apologize for. But, by the same token, its easier for her to distance herself from the scandalous waste by saying something along the lines of “Hey, my party did a stupid thing. I think it’s awful. But rest assured, I’m your representative first and a Liberal second.”
But that’s not what she said. Instead she implied that a billion wasted dollars (but hey, over 20 years) is not a big deal.
It is a big deal.
And, worse, she implied that wasting that kind of money is politics as usual. Maybe it is. It shouldn’t be. And I, for one, will tear up my ballot before I vote for someone who thinks it should.
So I won’t be voting for Laura Albanese.
With little to differentiate between the Liberals and the NDP in this election, I think it is perfectly reasonable to vote for the person you trust the most. I trust Paul Ferreira more than I trust Laura Albanese. He seems sharp, principled, and decent.
I only hope that he will acknowledge when his party is wrong. Ms. Albanese missed her chance.
I’ll be voting for Paul Ferreira.
PS: Jessica Higgins, the Green candidate, didn’t show up for the debate. I emailed to find out why. She hasn’t responded.
The other candidates (an independent and a libertarian) didn’t show up either. Seriously, what do people get out of registering but not campaigning. Is it a tax thing? Honest question.