Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Ontario votes, as populist Doug Ford leads in opinion polls

Ontario votes, as populist Doug Ford leads in opinion polls

In many books, NDP leader Andrea Horwath was poised to be the Cinderella premier: the patient, working class, single mom who had quietly built momentum that saw pundits predict that she just may be crowned government leader by scooping up all those voters sick and exhausted of Premier Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal government.

Paul's, University-Rosedale, Spadina-Fort York, Parkdale-High Park, Toronto-Danforth, Davenport and Beaches-East York all went to the NDP.

The premier-designate has voiced support for Donald Trump, though he has dismissed the direct comparison and has been careful to avoid controversial comments during the hotly contested race for Ontario.

The New Democrats, led since 2009 by Andrea Horwath, 55, surged ahead of Wynne's Liberals in polls in early May, winning strategic voters hoping to block a Ford government.

When the legislature was dissolved, the seat was vacant following the retirement of long-time NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo at the end of 2017.

The PC party was forced to hold a last-minute leadership election in March after its former leader resigned over allegations of sexual misconduct.

Wynne spoke beautifully to her followers at campaign headquarters, eventually folding into her speech every man, woman and child in the province of Ontario.

Ford positioned himself during the campaign as a defender of "the little guy", promising to put money back in people's pockets by lowering taxes, cutting hydro rates and eliminating the province's cap-and-trade-system.

An often controversial figure, Ford served on Toronto's city council along with his late brother, Rob Ford, the former mayor of Toronto who made global headlines after he admitted to smoking crack cocaine.

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As Tory leader, Ford rolled out several popular promises, from cutting gas prices by 10 cents a litre to introducing buck-a-beer to cutting hydro bills. By 9:15 p.m., CP24 declared a majority for the PCs, returning the party to power after 15 years of Liberal rule.

Despite repeated promises, Ford never did release a detailed plan of where these cuts were going to be made or deliver a fully costed election platform.

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As the results came in, Wynne, Ontario's first female premier as well as its first openly gay premier, announced that she would step down as party leader. She won in her riding of Don Valley West, one of but nine seats captured by the Liberals.

In her third campaign as leader, Horwath clung tight to the hard left.

Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford.

The governing Liberals, who have been in power for the past 15 years, are fighting for survival following Premier Kathleen Wynne's stunning admission of defeat last week.

After the initial shock, they could take solace in the NDP's increased fortunes: They're now the official opposition with an expectation that they've doubled their 21 seats, including many in Toronto. Ontario forbids the publication of new polls on election day, until voting has wrapped up.

The province used new technology in this election, and problems with some of the electronic vote tabulators caused delays in a few polling stations.

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