...blogging from a possible future of October 3, 2003...
Looking back on this election, the moment when the Eves government sealed its fate came when it postponed the 2003 election one too many times. The air of desperation around the Eves government just kept building and building, and this act of (some would say) cowardice just capped things off.
It's held true for every party that has done so, from Kim Campbell's and Robert Bennett's Conservatives, to Trudeau's 1979 Liberals, to even Bob Rae's NDP. Any governing party that stayed in power too long after the fourth anniversary of its election, gains the appearance of clinging to power, desperately waiting for the right conditions to call an election, conditions which never materialize.
Ernie Eves took over from Mike Harris with some promise, with soft words of healing the rifts of this province and governing with a better ear to the public. Then came the hard summers of 2002 and 2003, with questions flying over Walkerton, hydro rates, the state of the health care system under SARS. The Eves government flipflopped from the centre to the hard right, moving with increasing desperation from half-baked solution to half-baked solution, like a government that wasn't in control. They matched the Liberals' visionless campaign with their own incompetence, leaving the provincial voters with little to choose between. Eventually, we found McGuinty's soft-spoken managerial style of the centre easier to believe and take than Eves centrist words and hard-right actions.
We might be wrong about McGuinty, but we seem to have voted for four years of mediocrity. At least it's centrist mediocrity. The province has been through a fractious decade, and like the aftermath of Mulroney, the time has come for everyone to lick their wounds.
The snooze alarm on Queen's Park has been set. See you in four years.