A teenager’s view of the Ontario election

Four years ago this week, when I was 9, I went on this same campaign trail but it felt so different.

I think the mood is one of the big changes compared to the last election. Four years ago, people on the bus were cracking jokes and chatting with one another, now it feels very sombre and sorrowful. Although there is a fair share of sadness, I saw lots of hope in Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne’s supporters here. They had smiles in their faces, tears in their eyes and Liberal signs aplenty.

Grade 8 student Reed Benzie interviews Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne at a campaign event in Newmarket on Monday.
Grade 8 student Reed Benzie interviews Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne at a campaign event in Newmarket on Monday.   ( Robert Benzie / Toronto Star )

At the rally I attended in Newmarket for candidate Chris Ballard, most people looked as if they were saying goodbye to an old friend and had an almost bittersweet attitude.

I think I know what she means with this statement. She’s trying to say that even though she will not be premier, she still wants to be involved with her community and with the Liberal party.

During this rally she was much more retrospective and acted as if she had already been defeated. It was very interesting to observe a party that was winning versus one that is losing. The party seems demoralized and in acceptance of their defeat.

This campaign trail also contrasts the last one because just as the Liberal party has changed, I have as well. When I was 9, my knowledge of politics was minimal and I didn’t really have a connection with the MPPs.

Now, having been a legislative page last spring, I know almost all of the current MPPs in all three parties and know lots more about politics. Now that I have more of a connection with the politicians, it makes me kind of sad to see them losing their jobs and admitting defeat.

The Liberals have been in power for my entire life. This makes me very interested for what the future holds. In politics, you win some, you lose some.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Reed Benzie is a Grade 8 student in Toronto and the son of the Star’s Robert Benzie. These are his impressions of life on the campaign trail compared to the last time he covered an election in 2014. He wrote this himself on his laptop aboard the campaign bus.

Robert Benzie is Queen's Park Bureau Chief for the Toronto Star gives a behind-the-scenes look at the Kathleen Wynne's campaign trail on May 9, 2018.

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