Doug Ford, PCs win majority government in Ontario

Elias Hubbard
June 8, 2018

She told a crowd of visibly disappointed supporters that it was time for her to pass the torch to another generation.

Doug Ford - the brother of controversial former Toronto mayor Rob Ford - is the new leader of Canada's most populous province, winning a majority government in a local show of strength for the divisive wedge politics that have rattled much of the world.

Premier Kathleen Wynne, who narrowly hung on to her seat, resigned as Liberal leader and all but seven Liberal ridings fell.

Horwath easily ran her best campaign with a well-organized agenda, clever and effective ads, and she at the centre with her now trademark accessible charm.

Wynne congratulated Doug Ford on his win, noting, "I've committed to making the transition as smooth as possible".

The Tories have won a majority government.

The NDP under Andrea Horwath will form the Official Opposition, marking a turnaround for a party consistently stuck in third place since Bob Rae's New Democratic government was defeated in 1995.

And he promises to work to win the support of those who did not vote for him.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp projected that Ford's party would win the majority of seats in the provincial legislature, giving Ford broad powers to pass legislation.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has won her seat in the provincial election. Her late husband, Doug Ford Senior was the first member of the family to sit at Queen's Park, having served as an MPP in the government of former premier Mike Harris in the 1990s.

Wynne's low personal approval ratings helped drive the Liberals way down in the polls. Wynne had managed to walk away with a majority government after polls had suggested for months that she would lose to the PC's under Tim Hudak.

Wynne's party may drop below the eight seats needed to be recognized as an official party in the province's legislature, said Barry Kay, a professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, part of a team running seat projections.

Wynne has declined to say whether she'll stay on as party leader, but many expect her to step down.

Some of the NDP candidates that were criticized for being "too radical" have been elected: Jessica Bell in University-Rosedale, Gurratan Singh in Brampton East, and Joel Harden in Ottawa Centre.

Wynne acknowledged it's been a "difficult night" for her Liberals, who saw their party's presence in the legislature all but disappear.

And Treasury Board President Eleanor McMahon lost to Tory Jane McKenna in the Burlington riding.

He campaigned on the promise of a "Ford Nation", the name the Ford brothers adopted years ago to represent the populist conservative agenda they shared.

In a scrum with reporters, Horwath said she is "absolutely" going to stay on as leader of the Ontario NDP party. Ontario forbids the publication of new polls on election day, until voting has wrapped up.

The election has also marked a stunning collapse for the Liberals, who governed the province for the last 15 years. There were loud boos when PC leader Doug Ford claimed victory.

A former city councillor, he was close to his late brother Rob, who took infamously took drugs in office.

After numerous candidates for the 2018 election had been nominated and the PC platform released, former Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown was forced to resign amid #MeToo allegations levelled at him by former female staffers.

Ford also rolled out several pledges designed with populist appeal in mind, from cutting gas prices by 10 cents a litre to introducing buck-a-beer and cutting hydro bills. He has not released a fully costed platform, leaving bond investors unsure that he will be more fiscally prudent than the Liberals.

The race was thrown open for this election when the incumbent and prominent Liberal Liz Sandals announced she would not run again.

Pundits said the NDP leader had tapped into the prevailing mood with a mostly sure-footed folksy pitch. Eastern Time, Horwath's NDP were elected or leading in almost 40 ridings, compared to Ford's 74, Kathleen Wynne's eight, and Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner's confirmed one.

The low numbers might not have been surprising considering the situation Wynne inherited from her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty.

Many voters, it seems, decided Horwath might be better at that.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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