Tag Archives: rob ford

A region-by-region guide to Canada’s election

Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who declined to run for reelection last year, showed up at an Etobicoke rally for prime minister Stephen Harper last week. (CBC)
Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who declined to run for reelection last year, showed up at an Etobicoke rally for prime minister Stephen Harper last week. (CBC)

One of the reasons why it’s so hard to predict the results of tonight’s federal election in Canada is the diversity of political views across a country that contains 10 provinces and three territories across over 3.85 million square miles. Canada Flag Icon

By the time the last polls close at 7 p.m. Pacific time, we may already have a good idea of who will lead Canada’s next government. Or we may be waiting into the wee hours of the morning as results from several hotly contested British Columbia ridings.

With plenty of three-way races pitting the Conservative Party of prime minister Stephen Harper against both the Liberal Party of Justin Trudeau and the New Democratic Party (NDP) of opposition leader Thomas Mulcair, there’s room for plenty of fluidity on a riding-by-riding basis. The contest is even less predictable because it’s the first election to feature an expanded House of Commons that will grow from 308 to 338 seats.

All of this means that as returns come in, it’s important to know what to expect from each region of Canada, where political views vary widely.

The state of play after the last federal election in 2011. (Wikipedia)
The state of play after the last federal election in 2011. (Wikipedia)


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Ontario

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Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne hosted a large rally for Liberal leader Justin Trudeau in August. (Facebook)

The most important battleground of them all, governments are won and lost in the country’s most populous province. Since the 2011 election, Canada has added 30 seats to the House of Commons, and 15 of those new seats are in Ontario, giving the province 121 of the 338 ridings across the country.  Continue reading A region-by-region guide to Canada’s election

Toronto’s Ford era is over (for now)

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As usual, the supporters of Rob and Doug Ford proved a potent force in Toronto’s municipal politics, bringing the mayor’s elder brother much closer than polls predicted to winning the city’s mayoral election tonight.Canada Flag Iconontariotoronto

John Tory, however, the former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, managed to unite center-right and moderate voters, narrowly edging out Ford (pictured above) and third-placed candidate Olivia Chow.

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Chow, a former city councillor and the widow of Jack Layton, the former leader of the progressive New Democratic Party (NDP), began the race earlier this year as its frontrunner. Since July, however, Chow sunk to third place, falling behind Rob Ford who, until his cancer diagnosis in September, was still running for reelection. Incredibly, both Fords commanded a strong core of supporters among the self-proclaimed ‘Ford Nation,’ despite a turbulent four years in which the mayor admitted to crack cocaine use and alcohol abuse, was stripped of many of his executive powers by the Toronto city council, and attended a recovery program for substance addiction.

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RELATED: Rob Ford’s crack cocaine scandal, urban politics and the new face of 21st century Canada

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Such was the power of Ford’s everyman charm that he retained the loyalty of the suburban and working-class voters that fueled Ford Nation. His supporters include a surprisingly high number of racial and ethnic minorities, despite Ford’s sometimes culturally uncomfortable moments (swearing, perhaps drunkenly, in Jamaican patois, for instance). The lingering regard with which ‘Ford Nation’ held for Rob meant that Doug Ford was always a potent candidate for mayor.

Notably, Rob, whose chemotherapy treatments limited his campaigning, still won a seat on the city council from Ward 2 in his native Etobicoke with around 59% of the vote — it’s the seat that he held in 2010 when he was elected mayor. Opponents breathing a sign of relief at Doug Ford’s loss tonight might not want to relax too much. A wiser and healthier Rob Ford could easily return in 2018 as a formidable candidate.  Continue reading Toronto’s Ford era is over (for now)

Wynne lifts Ontario Liberals to majority government, 4th term

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Heading into Thursday’s provincial elections, polls showed that both the center-left Liberal Party of Ontario and the center-right Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (PC) both had a chance of winning at least a minority government.Canada Flag Iconontario

Late-breaking polls on Tuesday and Wednesday, however, showed the Liberal vote creeping up, matched by a decline in support for the progressive alternative, the New Democratic Party of Ontario (NDP).

As it turns out, those late polls were spot on, and Ontario’s new premier Kathleen Wynne, who inherited a minority government from her predecessor Dalton McGuinty just 16 months ago, reinvigorated Ontario’s Liberals and won a majority government in her first campaign leading the party.

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RELATED: Meet Kathleen Wynne, Ontario’s premier and the 180-degree opposite of Rob Ford

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The Ontario Liberals won 59 seats in the 107-member Legislative Assembly with nearly 39% of the vote, while the Ontario PC won just 27 seats with just over 31% of the vote, a nearly disastrous result that found the Tories losing ground in what was shaping up as a PC landslide a year ago:

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It’s an unexpected trajectory for a party to go from two terms of majority government to one term of minority government and, then, back to a majority government. Part of the reason is that Ontario’s voters simply never warmed to PC leader Tim Hudak.   Continue reading Wynne lifts Ontario Liberals to majority government, 4th term

Ontario election too close to call with 48 hours left to go

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Just two months after Québec’s extraordinary election, which devastated the sovereigntist Parti québécois (PQ) and replaced the minority government of Pauline Marois with a federalist majority government under Philippe Couillard, Ontario voters will choose their own provincial government on Thursday in what has become a tight two-way race.Canada Flag Iconontario

Politics in Anglophone-majority Ontario, however, looks nothing like politics in Francophone-majority Québec.

As in most provinces, Ontario’s political parties have only informal ties to federal political parties. But Ontario’s political framework  largely maps to the federal political scene. Accordingly, the center-left Liberal Party of Ontario is locked in a too-close-to-call fight with the center-right Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (PC), with the progressive New Democratic Party of Ontario (NDP) trailing behind in third place.

All three parties have led provincial government the past 25 years. The Liberals are hoping to win their fourth consecutive election, after Dalton McGuinty won majority governments in 2003 and 2007 and a minority government in 2011. Under the leadership of popular former premier Mike Harris, the Progressive Conservatives won elections in 1995 and 1999. Bob Rae, formerly the interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, led an NDP government between 1990 and 1995.

ThreeHundredEight‘s current projection, a model based on recent polling data, gives the Liberals an edge over the Ontario PCs of just 37.3% to 36.5%, well within the margin of error. The Ontario NDP is wining 19.8% (though individual polls show that the Ontario NDP could win anywhere from 18% to 27% of the vote) and the Green Party of Ontario is winning 5.2%.

Voters elect all 107 members of Ontario’s unicameral Legislative Assembly in single-member ridings on a first-past-the-post basis. That, according to ThreeHundredEight, could result in anything from a Liberal majority government to, more likely, a hung parliament with either a Liberal or PC minority government.  Continue reading Ontario election too close to call with 48 hours left to go

Former Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty has died at 64

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Less than a month after he stepped down as Canada’s finance minister, Jim Flaherty died in his Ottawa home earlier today at age 64. Canada Flag Icon

When he left the role in March, the Globe and Mail‘s John Ibbitson wrote the following about Flaherty:

“Brand Canada” today stands for a well-ordered financial sector, prudent fiscal and monetary policy, skilled management of the recent financial crisis, and a rigorous approach to restoring balanced budgets. 

As finance minister from February 2006 until Tuesday, Jim Flaherty played a starring role in that story, though he was by no means the only star. Whatever Canadians might think about Mr. Flaherty’s legacy, the world will remember him as the man who sat in Canada’s chair when Canada set an example for the world.

That’s about as strong a eulogy as any will deliver for Flaherty, who rose to prominence as prime minister Stephen Harper’s finance minister from the first day of Harper’s Conservative government in February 2006. Though Harper and Flaherty (pictured above) inherited a strong fiscal position from the outgoing Liberal government, Flaherty’s financial management steered Canada away from the worst of the 2008-09 global financial crisis, with a healthy assist from Canada’s sound, if conservative, banking system.

Over the course of his eight-year tenure as finance minister, Flaherty steered an Canadian economy that often narrowly outperformed  even the US economy in terms of GDP growth:

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Flaherty came to national politics only after a decade of somewhat feistier political warfare in Ontario’s provincial assembly, where he also served (briefly) as finance minister at the end of former Ontario premier Mike Harris’s government from 2001 to 2002. He unsuccessfully sought the leadership (twice) of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party, losing the 2002 contest to Ernie Eves and the 2004 contest to John Tory.

But the Tories have yet to wrest back power from the Liberals, who have controlled Ontario’s government since Harris left office in 2002 — under Dalton McGuinty until 2013, and now under  Kathleen Wynne. It’s ironic to note that if Flaherty had won the Ontario PC leadership, he might have been waiting around today to become Ontario’s premier. Instead, he’ll be remembered as one of the leading lights of the Harper era, and one of the ‘grown-ups’ who have given credibility to the Conservative Party as a party of government after years of disunity and fracture.

He was also a loyal guy. Flaherty was a longtime family friend of the Fords, the family that gave the world a punchline and Toronto a mayor in Rob Ford. It’s not often that you see a finance minister of a G-8 economy become teary-eyed, but his tender remarks on the occasion of Ford’s admission of using crack cocaine were some of the more memorable — and humanizing — comments of the entirely sad Rod Ford saga.