The result of Ontario’s Election 2022 is disappointing for anyone who works to protect animals and the environment.
The Doug Ford conservatives won a large majority of 83 seats, meaning they are free to introduce any legislation they choose, and no opposition party can stop them.
Animal Alliance of Canada registered as a third party during the campaign period so we could be clear we were urging Ontario citizens to vote against their local PC candidate, hoping to hold that party to a minority government. Instead, Doug Ford will again be free to bring in legislation that harms animals, the environment and vulnerable Ontarians, as he did during his last government. However, he is also free – if he chooses – to move forward with progressive improvements to the Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Act. And, he can choose to cancel Highway 413, a highway that will transect rivers and sensitive wetlands if built. These are also choices that he can make.
So, what do progressives like us and our supporters do? How do we work to encourage the PC government to reconsider its approach to animal and environmental protection and climate change?
We will use every opportunity to work with the PC government where we can make to make advances in animal and environmental protection. Otherwise, we fight on.
And, our fight is not new.
It’s always been hard to tear power and influence out of the hands of those who profit from exploitation of vulnerable people, the natural world and animals. Yet, there have always been those who push back against those who harm. Without those voices the levels of exploitation would be much higher. Societies have changed and improved, including our own. Policies and attitudes have become more progressive, thanks to those who stand against institutional exploitation. Thanks to people like you.
What will AAC do in Ontario during the next 4 years of a Doug Ford majority government?
We will continue to pressure individual politicians, knowing that at times MPPs are more sympathetic to progressive causes than their larger parties. Though individual MPPs don’t have the power to greatly influence party policy, they do have some. Reaching out to educate and develop relationships with MPPs is important and always worthwhile, and we will continue to do this.
AAC continues to work on its court challenge of Ontario’s Ag-Gag Bill 156, The Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Security Act of 2020, as we seek intervenor status to join the challenge launched by Animal Justice.
We will continue to support Fair Voting BC in its Charter Challenge. As Fair Voting BC’s web site states: “Since the Canadian Charter of rights and freedoms was established in the 1980s, the courts have been ruling in favour of fair and equal representation in Canadian and provincial elections. Now, it’s time to challenge the fairness of the first-past-the-post voting system itself.”
If there were proportional representation in Ontario today we would see MPPs of various parties working together co-operatively as is done in countries like Germany and Sweden. It is no surprise that in many cases some European nations have more progressive approaches to dealing with the global warming crisis than we have in Canada.
As long as we have first-past-the-post electoral systems, we can expect results like those of Ontario’s Election 2022.
Here’s a breakdown of the results:
The Progressive Conservatives received 40.8 % of the popular vote
The NDP received 23.7 %
The Liberals received 23.8 %
The Greens received 6.0 %
These are the parties that won seats in the legislature.
The New Blue Party and the Ontario Party, both parties seen to be right of the Progressive Conservatives, won a combined popular vote of 4.5 % but no seats.
That gives the more right-wing parties 45.3 % of popular support from Ontarians.
The three more progressive parties won 53.5 % of popular support from Ontarians.
There was 8.2 % more support for parties that made promises to better protect the environment and promised more progressive social policies.
Yet that majority of voters is now represented by the mainstream party with the worst platform on environmental protection. The new Doug Ford government has 100% of the power in Ontario, thanks to our antiquated electoral system.
One more thing: the previous Solicitor General, The Honourable Sylvia Jones, demonstrated sensitivity to the plight of dogs made to live primarily outdoors during the last government. AAC was pleased to be asked to sit on a Technical Table to examine this issue and we shared with you our report on new regulations that will provide some relief to outdoor dogs. The new regulations could make it more difficult for exploitative entities like dog sledding businesses to continue to house dogs in such poor conditions as has been the norm. We have yet to see if re-elected MPP Sylvia Jones will again hold the position of Solicitor General. But, the re-election of the government that established the new regulations should mean that those regulations will be upheld. We will monitor this and report back to you if the regulations are in danger of being weakened.
And so, we push on.
We know that you will push on with us, because you have stood with us in our ongoing fight for animals for so long. We’ve never promised it would be easy. And it never is. But we have made the lives of so many animals better, have eased suffering, have saved lives; and improved laws, bylaws and policies. We’ve increased respect for all animals through education, activism and advocacy.
Canada is a big country and we will do all we can to fight for all animals in every region. This electoral set-back is just another challenge and together we will face it as we have so many in the past.
You may be interested in our previous report on the new regulations concerning treatment of dogs made to live primarily outdoors in Ontario: