Sunday, June 06, 2021

Ontario's Next Election

Ontario is a year away from an election. COVID has been a game-changer. And each of the three major party leaders has significant deficits. But, Bob Hepburn writes, the contours of the race are beginning to form:

Since the Conservatives won the 2018 election, Ford has undergone more resets than Kathleen Wynne did when she was Liberal premier. At this stage, though, his campaign strategy is clear: lower his personal profile, shuffle his cabinet yet again to give his beleaguered government a “fresher” look, and try to shift the blame for the pandemic response by attacking the federal Liberals over Ottawa’s handling of the pandemic.
It’s all designed to take the spotlight off Ford, whose mere appearance on television turns off many voters. Don’t expect any major new campaign promises leading up to election day. Instead, expect to see lots of ads about how Ford “cares about the little guy” and how, depending on the state of the pandemic, he led the province through the COVID crisis.

The Dippers think they're in the catbird seat:

For the NDP, strategists claim the party “has never been in a better position” heading into an election than it is now. It has more money and more volunteers than ever. It has already unveiled three major platform policies. They also believe this will be a “leader-driven” election, which is why they will make Horwath the focal point of their campaign, believing she proved in 2018 to be the best campaigner. They will portray her in ads as upbeat, positive and inspirational, which they say worked for her in 2018.

The problem for the Liberals is that their new leader, Steven Del Luca, doesn't generate any excitement:

Inside Liberal campaign headquarters it’s a given that Del Duca is not a charismatic leader. Given that, they will portray him as a motivator, a guy who will put in the work, who has political experience at a high level from his days as a minister and who has a road map on issues such as health care, long-term care and education.

So much depends on vaccinations and a rebooted economy. And, if things pan out positively, it's not clear who can take the best advantage of that.

Stay tuned.

Image: Th Toronto Star


Anonymous said...

Horwath has had three kicks at the can since becoming NDP leader. In 2009 the NDP increased seats by 20%, in 2011 they held firm, and in 2016 they narrowly lost and became the official opposition. I'd like to see them win the next election.

That said, my biggest fear is that the Libs and NDP will split the non-Con vote, and an unpopular DoFo will be re-elected. As always, the Libs will fearmonger about vote splitting, painting the NDP as interfering with their natural right to govern. If the Libs had a more popular leader this may work for them, but with a drip like Del Luca it's more likely to reelect Ford. We're not out of the woods yet.


Lorne said...

The three really represent poor choices for the electorate, Owen, Ford for pretty obvious reasons. But some people will surely remember the Del Duca corruption when he was Transportation Minister, trying to finagle extra stops from Metrolinx to his political advantage. As for Horvath, Hepburn recently suggested she should be ousted as leader after 12 years of disappointing election results. I have been underwhelmed by her performance during Covid, as very few constructive suggestions ever emerged from her office. Her reflexive criticisms without presenting any viable alternatives just left me cold.

Such is the state of democracy in Ontario.

Owen Gray said...

Horwath might do it, Cap. But there are too many uncertainties to make any solid predictions.

Owen Gray said...

Right now, Lorne, things look pretty uninspiring.

Ben Burd said...

The problem with the optimism is that that Ford has not reached the tipping point of defeat. Wynne was dead in the water a good year before the election. I don't see Ford in that situation yet.

I do agree that the leaders up for a choice aren't anything to write home about especially Horwath - a dismal failure who should be riding high. But for the lack of good press or the lack of material for good press she is as unknown now as she was twelve years ago - a searing indictment of political incompetence.

I'm with you Owen - totally frustrated at the lost opportunities!

jrkrideau said...

I am not wildly impressed by Horwath though I did not think her last campaign was too bad. OTOH Steven Del Luca? He's what? Oh, leader of the Libs!

In any case, I think a lot of the campaign will consist of trying to hide Doug Ford. It was bad enough when the Scheer and the federal Cons had to dodge Ford, it gets much more complicated when the provincial party has to dodge its leader. I get the image of riding execs doing a hot potato routine trying to pass him around the province.

On a more serious note, I get the feeling that both the Libs & NDP can really pound Ford on his handling of the education portfolio. I suspect he has antagonized parents, teachers, and school boards and probably bus drivers.

Owen Gray said...

Ford has a talent for making people think the worst of him, jrk.

Owen Gray said...

All three of the leaders don't inspire confidence, Ben -- which is not a good sign for any of them.