Doug Ford, who started 2018 outside the Ontario parliamentary spectrum, will be the next premier of Ontario as the Progressive Conservatives won the 2018 Ontario election.
The PC party won 76 seats as compared to the 27 seats at the dissolution of Parliament. The number of seats went up to 124 seats, up from the previous 107 seats in Queen's Park.
The NDP will be the official opposition with 40 seats, a significant jump from the 18 seats before the election. The actual NDP vote percentage was a lot closer to the PC vote percentage, but the NDP vote traditionally has had fewer seats vs. vote percentage.
The Liberals had 55 seats when the election started, but fell dramatically to 7 seats. The 7 seats means the Liberals barely missed official party status.
The Liberals missed the 8-seat mark to be a "recognized party." With 8 seats, the party would get funding for administrative staff and research activities as well as keeping designated time to speak in the legislature.
Mike Schreiner won a seat in Guelph for the Green Party. Schreiner is the first Green Party member to be a MPP in Queen's Park in Toronto.
Ford took the highly unusual move of speaking before Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horvath spoke to their party faithful. He also didn't speak any French; while Ontario's official language is English, there are significant Francophone communities in Ontario. Both Horvath and Wynne used French in their speeches.
The Ford campaign won despite a number of issues, lapses, and ethical concerns. Renata Ford, the widow of the late Rob Ford, sued Doug Ford and his brother Randy over allegations of depriving her and her children of millions of dollars.
The other major oddity was the concession speech from Premier Kathleen Wynne to say the party was not going to win the election. The strategy wasn't enough for the Liberals to have official party status.
Premier-designate Ford has a significant challenge on the horizon given that the tariffs war will hit the Ontario economy particularly hard. Unlike the other parties, Ford didn't put out a plan that included how cuts would be paid for in the budget.
We have noted that Canadian newspapers are rather conservative. The Globe and Mail is not a liberal or progressive bastion, so the following from the paper's endorsement should be noted.
Mr. Ford is unfit to be premier. No one should be fooled by his performance in the election campaign – a tightly scripted production built around a series of populist slogans recited off a teleprompter, followed by curt Q&As with reporters kept at a safe distance.
We all know this populist chancer too well. Unleashed by the constraints of the campaign, Mr. Ford will return to the form we remember from Toronto’s experience.
When Rob Ford was mayor and his brother Doug was de facto deputy mayor, there was political chaos, lies and evasions, attacks on the press, and content-free ranting virtually every day. And that was before the crack scandal that enveloped Rob Ford.
When Doug Ford ran for mayor in 2014, he made numerous false claims and misleading statements on the campaign trail.
It defies recent experience to believe that a person like that will be moderated by high office. Mr. Ford has furthermore failed to explain how he will pay for his many promised tax cuts. He is no fiscal conservative.
Voter turnout in Ontario was almost 58%, up from 51% in the last provincial election. The last election in Prince Edward Island had more than 80% turnout.
The individual CBC stations in Ontario went with the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs Game 5 instead of the Ontario election results. The stations did get an update during the 2nd intermission. This might have been good news for those American viewers in places such as Detroit and Buffalo who would have relied on their CBC station to see the hockey. Given how quickly the race was called, hockey might have made sense. Canadians had options including the CBC News Network as well as online options.
The CBC never really went out to NDP headquarters to get the perspective of the new opposition party. At one point, Rosemary Barton talked about the NDP trying to get attention. The NDP gets ignored by Canadian media, especially by the CBC. The CBC spent more time at Liberal headquarters, the party that finished with fewer than 10 seats.
And then there was 1. Rachel Notley will be the only female premier in Canada once the transition is complete. We have noted that Canada had 5 female premiers on New Year's Day in 2014. Kathleen Wynne might not have won regardless but her leadership style became a campaign issue.
Wynne becomes yet another female premier not to get re-elected. The mood in Ontario was more about change since the Liberals have been in power since 2003. There did seem to be an extraordinary amount of hostility toward Wynne herself. The concession shortly before the election might have been more about Wynne than the Liberals.
The storm of controversy over Martine Ouellet, the now ousted leader of the Bloc Quebecois, centered on her leadership style as well as her actions. As we noted a few times, Canada did have 5 female premiers on New Year's Day 2014, but the track record since then has sparked a pattern worth studying.
Doug Ford defeated 5 women between the PC primary and the general election. Given that the Liberals will have a new leader, the party may be inclined to pick a male permanent party leader against Ford.
Wynne also was 1 of 2 openly gay premiers in Canada. Prince Edward Island Premier Wade MacLauchlan is the only remaining premier who is openly gay.
photos credit: CBC News