The Toronto Star knows.

Joining a small public relations firm 40 years ago was a turning point for your writer.  Imagine the shock walking around that office one day in quest of a dictionary to check the origins of a word.  There was none.  The managing director defended himself from his office, calling out to us, “In this business, we know.”  Mind you, nobody complained when a new copy of Oxford Concise appeared after lunch that day and was prominent on our secretary’s desk, to be borrowed as needed.

That same smug attitude of ‘knowing’ is evidenced often in Canada’s largest circulation daily newspaper, The Toronto Star.  And as parent company, Torstar Corporation, also owns much of the really sad excuses for local newspapers around Ontario, this arrogance is doubly insulting.  Yet, with nothing better to read, The Toronto Star is consumed in Babel by many as routine with the morning coffee.

When it comes to elections, The Toronto Star likes to show its muscle.  Imagine the surprise of the editors when earlier this year they promoted the NDP and Stephen Harper’s Conservatives won the election.  That way, The Star took credit for both the rise of the NDP and the success of Harper’s Tories.  The Star has much to answer for.

In the current provincial election, The Star has constantly tried to promote Andrea Horwath of the NDP.  Not very successfully.  That lady is not ready to sing.

The Star editors needed a new strategy.  They found it in an improbable poll that is only noted for its gross numbers.  This poll is based on some 40,000 times that people answered an automated telephone call.  A recording asked whoever answered—ages three to 100—to select a number representing the party for which they intend to vote.  While the large number of completed calls is meaningless on a province-wide basis, it is considered sufficient for each individual electoral district.  This appears to be the best information the editors have been able to get!

To say that the poll is suspect is an understatement.  Politically knowledgeable people quickly pick out some obvious errors but there are other figures that leave you scratching your head.  The prospect of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party candidates winning in 94 electoral districts (47 each) is so mathematically unlikely as to be amusing.

And while she does not get our vote, we should be embarrassed if Andrea Horwath’s NDP candidates only win 13 seats.  She and her cohorts worked hard.  Her campaign never gained much momentum but she still has the television debate to strut her stuff.

And as for Tiny Tim Hudak and his Conservatives: somebody is smoking something while tallying those figures.  Hudak does not compute.  His campaign is a tissue of half truths and conjectures.  He might have a good candidate here and there who deserves to go to Queen’s Park but not in any numbers to worry McGuinty.

Whether you like Dalton McGuinty or not he deserves to win.  As Premier, he does know what he is doing.


Copyright 2011 © Peter Lowry

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