Notwithstanding the fact that Hazel McCallion was reelected with a huge margin (along with her counterparts in Brampton, Oakville, Markham, Richmond Hill and Ajax) there was quite a strong shift against incumbents. Vaughan's mayor, and several veteran councillors, went down to defeat yesterday, and so did the mayors of Burlington, Hamilton, and Oshawa. Five incumbent Toronto councillors, representing the right as well as the left, were defeated. Outside of the 905, the mayors of London, Ottawa, Greater Sudbury and Thunder Bay all went down as well.
Now I'd be more than happy to see this pattern repeat itself in Winnipeg tomorrow, but there's something about this that makes me a bit uneasy. The fact that this trend has victims across the political spectrum suggests that instead of voting for a clear platform (or even against one) they're voting against anyone they perceive as being too experienced. Under this mentality, once a politician gains sufficient experience to figure out how to do the job, he or she should be gotten rid of immediately. It's no coincidence that "vote out all incumbents" is a common cry from teabaggers, who would like nothing better than to insure that governments are unable to actually do anything. And consider this -- teabaggers are always going on about the need for term limits, but balk at campaign spending limits. Apparently it's better to stop someone from running at all, than to limit the amount they can spend on their campaign. And guess who that tends to favour?
So tomorrow, Winnipeggers, I'd like you to vote out Sam Katz, but don't do it simply because he's the incumbent. Do it because he sucks, and because Judy will be good.