The Stratford Beacon Herald
Political stories tend to be told from the urban perspective. Examples are plentiful. Most recently we have been told that if the Conservatives are serious about taking power, then they need to break through in the 416 and mimic the success of their federal counterparts. As important as our big cities are, it is prudent to take a broader view.
Truth be told, Tim Hudak did as well as he did because of the rural anti-wind vote. If you’re not convinced then just ask John Wilkinson, Leona Dombrowsky or Carol Mitchell. The anti-wind vote has grown into a political force that will demand ongoing attention.
If Dalton continues to ignore the rural vote by forging ahead with unfettered wind-turbine development, in a desperate attempt to create an environmental legacy, he will simultaneously sacrifice any hope of a rural revival for his fellow Liberals.
If Hudak takes the rural vote for granted, he needs to think again for he will find that the road to the premier’s office may be longer and harder than what he anticipates.
As for Andrea Horwath, she will undoubtedly be looking to build upon the gains earned in northern Ontario and will need the support of southwestern Ontario for that to happen. If she expects her momentum to continue, she will need to listen attentively to rural residents who are becoming increasingly upset at seeing their communities taken over by foreign wind developers.
Queen’s Park politicians of all stripes need the rural vote. They ignore it at their peril. We should not allow ourselves to become disillusioned, despite the fact that Dalton McGuinty has been given somewhat of a reprieve.
DR. MARK WAGNER SALEM (WELLINGTON COUNTY)