For a lot of voters in this or any election, voting none of the above just makes sense. For those voters, they might be interested that in Guelph there’s a candidate running under that banner. Workers’ rights advocate Paul Taylor is running again for the provincial None of the Above Party, and conveniently located at the bottom of the ballot, Taylor says he’s the best choice for those sick of the big parties and their promises.
“What speaks volumes, to be quite honest, is the people that don’t vote,” Taylor told Open Sources Guelph last Thursday. “When you talk to the average person and say, ‘Did you vote? and they say, ‘No.’ And then you say, ‘Why?’ And they go, ‘What’s the point?’ They’re frustrated, they’re upset!”
So what’s the remedy? The three Rs. “Let me do the three R’s, which is referendum, recall, and reform,” Taylor explained. Recall especially is of interest to Taylor because, as he puts it, “You should be able to fire a politician when they suck.”
“I think the biggest negative side of recall is people saying, ‘Well, then we’d have elections every five days.’ No, there would have to be a proper process where people would file a petition of actual electors with over 50 per cent or 60 per cent and then a by-election would be called,” Taylor added. “Who knows, the voters might say, ‘That’s cool. We like a corrupt politician.'”
Taylor set himself apart in one of the few debates he was able to participate in by telling those attending the Guelph-Wellington Coalition for Social Justice forum that Guelph’s very expensive housing market priced him out of the riding he’s running in. Taylor lives in Hamilton, where he’s taking classes at McMaster University, but even if he could find an affordable place to live in Guelph, we would have a hard time getting to his classes without a vehicle at his disposal.
“I said this to Mike [Schreiner] after he was elected, Why is there no GO bus going from Guelph to Hamilton?” Taylor said in aside. “Unfortunately, Guelph doesn’t do labour studies, or I would have loved to been there, which is a five-minute drive from home. So that was one of the reasons I moved, and then there’s the cost. I’m looking around, and rent went from $1,500 to start when I moved there in 2013/2014 and now I think it’s almost $3,000 a month.”
Unlike other candidates Taylor doesn’t see housing options like basement apartments and granny flats as viable solutions to the housing crisis.
“When I was a kid, it was impossible to rent a basement apartment because it wasn’t legal. You couldn’t do it, you had to have building permits, you have to have electrical permits, and then you have to have a license to be a landlord,” Taylor said. “Now, you can get one, and most of the time they don’t even have proper evacuation routes, They say, ‘Here’s this window you can fit through,’ and I’m like, ‘I’m pushing 300 pounds, I can’t fit through that window!'”
Taylor is particularly concerned about how far we can fall if the issue of housing isn’t addressed in the near future. He recalls his days on the road as a truck driving and seeing the result of an uncaring community while travelling around the United States.
“I was in New York City inside a loading dock, and on this big wide street there was a car parked beside a fire hydrant. I had been there several times over the course of many months, and I wondered why the city never towed that car? It’s because a family lived in there. I couldn’t believe it,” Taylor recalled. “That’s where we’re headed, and I think that’s what scares me the most.”
Revisiting the reasons why a None of the Above candidate is an appropriate choice, Taylor notes that even predictable changes have not come to pass. “I thought when the baby boomers got older we would be guaranteed a total protection of health care, because with the baby boomers getting older, they would be impacted directly, but it seemed like they went the other way,” Taylor said.
Similarly, Taylor hopes votes might be interested in going on another way on June 2.
You can hear the whole interview on Open Sources Guelph by downloading the episode on your favourite podcast app at Apple, Stitcher, Google, TuneIn and Spotify.