Ford, Conservatives win majority in Ontario election

June 7, 2018

Ontario's Progressive Conservatives, Led by Doug Ford, secured a considerable majority government in Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, conveniently ending 15 years of Liberal power in the province.

The Tories managed to win 76 seats, up from the 27 they held when the campaign kicked off in May. They made significant gains in the 905 and throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

Liberal's had the worst showing in the party's history, with a 19.6 per cent of the popular vote share. It has never before finished with less than 20 per cent.

“We have taken back Ontario. We have delivered a government that is for the people,” said Ford, promising economic growth and prosperity in a speech to supporters in Toronto.

Ford, 53, is the brother of the late mayor of Toronto Rob Ford, who made international news in 2013 when he admitted to smoking crack cocaine.

Ford’s stronger than expected showing and the Liberals’ significant losses to the New Democrats may worry supporters of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberal party, up for re-election in 2019.

With about a third of Canada’s population of 36 million, Ontario is the country’s economic engine and home to its biggest city, Toronto. It has one of the largest sub-sovereign debts in the world, at nearly C$350 billion ($272 billion) in March.

The Tump Effect

Blunt and combative with the media, Ford has drawn comparisons with U.S. President Donald Trump, although he has tried to appeal to voters in the immigrant communities that sway elections in many Toronto suburbs.

“I do think there’s a bit of spillover from populism in the United States that could have washed over the Ontario election,” said Jonathan Rose, a professor at Queen’s University.

The contest in Canada’s industrial and manufacturing heartland became a fight between Ford and the left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) after Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne, premier since 2013, dropped to a distant third in opinion polls.

Wynne, the first female premier and first openly gay premier the province has had, said she would resign as leader of the Liberal party.

Ford, who served on Toronto’s city council when his brother was mayor, has spent much of his life running the family’s label business.

 

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