Tomorrow is the day that five by-elections - those are again Windsor-Tecumseh, London West, Etobicoke-Lakeshore, Scarborough-Guildwood, and Ottawa South - will be held. So far we've seen polling that is pretty much doom and gloom for the Liberals in pretty much ever riding, as well as super-low turnout numbers for the advanced voting that spells doom and gloom for democracy. Not that advanced voting is a sure-fire predictor of general turnout, but its a good measure of how engaged people are.
And let me tell you - I don't think anyone but us politicos really give a damn anymore. Ontario voters are right now stuck in a situation where they have reasons to dislike all three major party leaders and their parties. Kathleen Wynne is not doing the best job ever keeping the agenda off of McGuinty's scandals, thereby leading to a downward spiral in her numbers; Tim Hudak is widely disliked and distrusted, only winning by default because the Liberals can't find their footing; and Andrea Horwath, despite being the most popular leader, has pretty much destroyed her party's credibility as a viable opposition by continually propping up the Liberals and the constant indecision that seems to plague her leadership (very similar to the pre-2011 Opposition Liberals). Voters are looking at this crowd and wondering how Queen's Park ended up with these three weights around it's neck.
Unfortunately for the Liberals, the people taking the brunt of the blame for the plague of ineffective governance is, rightly, the government. The Ontario Liberals have had a great spell in government that has lasted a decade, a good long time for a government to leave a lasting impact. The problem is that now its a bit long in the tooth, and the renewal we needed - the new agenda, the new faces, the new legacy - has been held up by the mistakes and scandals, real or perceived, of McGuinty's time in office. Wynne has been unable to change the channel, and everyone's frustrations with the government over the past decade has been brought to bear upon her premiership. They may not like Tim Hudak, but they're blaming Kathleen Wynne.
Even worse, as unengaged as voters may currently be, its those voters that are fed up with the government that will be out in force. These by-elections, which are usually tools of exacting revenge upon parties in power, couldn't have come at a worse time. I hate to be pessimistic, but I could easily see all five of these ridings going to the Opposition. I definitely wouldn't be surprised.