By Chad Ingram
Published May 10, 2018
The provincial election campaign is officially underway and in just less than a month’s time, we’ll know who Ontario’s next premier will be.
While many of us may cynically assume the election’s result to be a foregone conclusion -– the next government will be a PC one, whether minority or majority – a lot can happen during the course of an election campaign. They do matter.
A week is a lifetime in politics, the adage goes, but in the era of the internet and 24-hour news channels, that week can be shortened to a day. What was news at breakfast can become a footnote by dinnertime. A scandal that seemed poised to decimate an entire party is so washed away by a constant barrage of digital information that no one even thinks or talks about it anymore.
Patrick who, now?
Since he won the PC leadership this spring, former Toronto councillor Doug Ford has consistently led in the polls. For a time, current Premier Kathleen Wynne ranked second, although she has slipped to third place in many polls in recent days.
Ford and Wynne are both widely disliked, even by members of their own parties. A poll conducted for Maclean’s magazine shows that many partisan voters will hold their noses as they go to the ballot box, voting for their party not so much because they like or believe in the leader, but to prevent the other from winning. It seems many Ontarians will not be voting for someone in this election; they will be voting against someone.
That is not an ideal situation.
The unpopularity of Ford and Wynne should leave lots of room for experienced NDP leader Andrea Horwath to come up the middle. If there’s an election Horwath can win, surely, it should be this one, and if she doesn’t, it seems likely the NDP will seek out a new chief.
Locally, we have finally learned that we will have both an NDP and Liberal candidate on the ballot in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, those candidates just announced in recent days. Both are ambitious young people and kudos to them for throwing their proverbial hats into the ring. If they don’t end up in Queen’s Park, the campaign process will certainly be a valuable experience for both of them.
A Libertarian candidate is the other competitor to popular incumbent MPP Laurie Scott, and it seems that, this time around, we will not have a Green party option in HLKB.
That said, a lot can happen during an election campaign.
In fact, the next month may feel like an eternity.