Here’s our daily look at what’s making news in the lead-up to the next provincial election.
- Christine Elliott won the most votes and also won the most ridings on the final ballot of the PC leadership election. But Doug Ford is the new leader of the Progressive Conservatives. That’s because the winner was determined not by total votes or ridings won, but by a points system where each riding was worth 100 points (which the party called electoral votes). “Ford was able to win the leadership because he had better numbers in the ridings he won than Elliott did in the ones she won,” the CBC’s Éric Grenier writes. “In only six ridings — all in Toronto, except in the Whitby seat Elliott used to represent — did Elliott win more than 70 per cent of the vote on the last round. Ford did that in 11 (also all in the GTA).” Thanks to this system, the guy who once said he’d give the PC party “an enema from top to bottom” if he ever became leader won 50.6 per cent of the electoral votes to Elliott’s 49.4 per cent.
- After weighing a court challenge to contest Ford’s razor-thin victory, Christine Elliott has conceded and says she is backing Ford to become Ontario’s next premier. “After completing my review, I am confident of the results,” Elliott said in a statement Sunday night.
- Ford was magnanimous in the wake of Elliott’s concession: “Leadership races can be tough on political parties, and for the candidates that compete in them,” he said in an official statement. “For me, there was no tougher part than running against Christine Elliot [sic]. I have been fortunate to call her my friend over the last two decades, and with good reason.”
- There’s good news and bad news for the Ford-led Progressive Conservatives, according to a poll by Forum Research taken immediately after the leadership vote. First, the good news: the PCs are in majority territory, with 44 per cent support. But the bad news is that a lot of Ontarians don’t like Ford: 48 per cent disapprove of him, 36 per cent approve, and 16 per cent say they don’t know. More not-so-good news: the party didn’t get the “bounce” in support one typically gets after a new leader is picked. In fact, it’s down 5 percentage points from the last Forum poll taken before Ford was picked. The survey found that the NDP is the second choice of voters, with 27 per cent, while the Liberals are at 23 per cent and the Green Party is at 5 per cent.
- One group taking a measure of credit for Ford’s win: the religious right. In an email, Campaign Life Coalition said it recruited more than 9,000 PC party memberships on behalf of social conservative candidate Tanya Granic Allen, and asked supporters to rank Ford second on their ballots after Allen. “Their votes clearly played a large part in Doug Ford’s winning campaign,” the organization stated. The CLC said it expects Ford to repeal the “radical” sex-ed curriculum introduced under Wynne, support parental notification legislation for teens planning to have abortions, and protect free speech and conscience rights (presumably around protesting abortions near abortion clinics and allowing medical personnel to refuse to assist women in obtaining abortions).
- Both Premier Kathleen Wynne and NDP leader Andrea Horwath congratulated Ford on his victory. But attacks quickly followed. “There’s a stark choice for voters on June 7,” Wynne tweeted Sunday afternoon. “They will choose between Conservatives who want to slash spending just when families need it the most, and an Ontario Liberal Party that believes government is a force for good & knows that now is the time to invest in care.” In a press release, the NDP said Ford wants to cut and privatize services everyday people count on. In an allusion to the chaotic PC leadership race, the statement went on to say that “a party unable to govern itself can’t be trusted to govern Ontario,” and pointed out that Ford himself (when it was unclear he would win) called the PC voting process “scandalous” and “ridiculous.”
- Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s brother, Gurratan, is apparently mulling a bid to run as the provincial NDP candidate in Brampton East.
What to watch for
- Wynne will address a very important constituency of potential voters when she speaks to the Ontario Elementary Catholic Teachers’ Association Annual General Meeting this morning. NDP leader Andrea Horwath spoke to the same gathering on Sunday.
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