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  • Writer's pictureLinda Silver Dranoff

Women, Use Your Power

#Women, it's up to us. Defy the polls. We have the opportunity in this #ONpoli #election to swing the vote to policies that support #equality and maintain the momentum of change benefitting women and families begun by Kathleen Wynne’s #Ontario Liberals. I have always been non-partisan, but in this election, I am voting for equality.

Give #Wynne credit—she has proven herself to be the agent of #change many of us wanted to see for a long time. Over the past 5 years, Wynne has demonstrated her ability to govern, first by successfully fighting the deficit and then by to turning to much-needed program spending.

Kathleen Wynne has shown the courage of her #progressive convictions. Consider these important existing and impending programs: A minimum wage increase to $15 an hour; more accessible and affordable #childcare options with 100,000 new spaces plus free child care for pre-schoolers; initiatives combating gender-based harassment and violence, including a specialized program to end violence against #indigenous women and children; free or subsidized post-secondary #tuition for lower income families; expanded #OHIP coverage on prescription medicines for those under 25; supports for community-based elder care; investments in #apprenticeship, skills training, #transportation, #health, and #education infrastructure; plans to close #payequity gaps through pay transparency rules; expanding and strengthening women’s centres—and more. The Wynne policies are ambitious, far-reaching, and should be given an opportunity to succeed.

Nothing beats #experience. Wynne has already scaled the learning curve. She has been an MPP for 15 years, and served as a Minister in four Cabinet and two parliamentary assistant posts before she became Premier in 2013.

Contrast this with Wynne’s political opponents. Andrea #Horvath has experience only in Opposition, and none in running a large enterprise. And do we know what she really believes and will do if she gains power? At the last election, she promoted right-of-centre policies.

Doug #Ford has no experience in provincial politics at all, not even as an MPP, and no background in managing anything but the family business founded by his father. A single term as a municipal councillor is not enough to prepare him for the complexities of governing a province the size of #Ontario with a population of more than 13 million people.

Doug Ford took over a PC party in chaos in which he had had little prior personal involvement. A vague slogan for change is not a good reason to vote for an unskilled leader who lacks a clear policy platform and is at the helm of a party in disarray. Information has surfaced about Ford’s hidden promises to developers to allow construction of housing on the protected Green Belt. Allegations about privacy data breaches have come to light. With 25 candidates skipping the local debates (so far), transparency and democratic accountability appear unimportant under Ford’s PCs.

We have a lot to lose if Doug Ford gets elected. He opposes abortion and sex education. He’s against imposing a carbon tax, an environmental initiative already mandated by the Federal government. He has no position on issues like child care, pay equity and violence against women. Saying he is “for the people” is meaningless.

And consider this: Ford removed incumbent Michael Harris from the Kitchener-Conestoga riding in order to give it to former Ontario Premier Mike Harris’s son, Mike Harris Jr. How many will know they aren’t voting for the incumbent when they choose “Harris” on their ballot?

Women need to remember how much Ontario suffered under Mike Harris in the 1990’s, with actions like the repeal of the Employment Equity Act and huge funding cuts to social programs. And let’s not forget that the decision to force amalgamation on Toronto and other Ontario communities was based on the untested assumption that money would be saved. Independent studies have shown that this ill-advised exercise in fact proved to be very costly, and was never ultimately justified by overall savings.

I haven’t forgotten about Hydro. I didn’t like Wynne’s decision to sell part of it. But Wynne didn’t create the Hydro problems; previous governments did, especially Conservative Mike Harris when he split Hydro One in two. It’s time to forgive her for trying to solve the problem with the partial sale of Hydro’s transmission lines. Instead, look at Wynne’s plans to make Ontario a better place to live for women. Consider her experience, her past accomplishments and her potential achievements to come. Right now, she is the best #alternative. Let’s vote with our best interests at heart.

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