Thursday night was not a good one for the Progressive Conservative Party in the Ontario election.
Canada’s largest province re-elected the Liberal Party
, led by Premier Kathleen Wynne, to a majority government gaining nine seats in the process. The Liberals have been in power in Ontario since 2003. In 2009, they were re-elected to a minority government and were propped up by the NDP until last month when its leader Andrea Horwath decided to bring down the government instead of supporting the Liberals budget which was considered very NDP friendly.
During the campaign I spoke with an old friend who was once an NDP candidate in the 1999 provincial election and he and many NDP supporters were mystified as to why the NDP would reject an NDP friendly budget and trigger an election. The NDP won 21 seats which is what they had prior to the election. But they are considerably less powerful now that the Liberals have a majority at Queens’ Park.
But the Conservatives had the worst night of all. Although they were within percentage points in the public opinion polls, the Tories lost 10 seats and its leader Tim Hudak stepped down despite having an effective performance during last week’s leadership debate. I’m sure the increasing unpopularity of the federal Conservative government of Stephen Harper didn’t help Hudak much. But the public clearly didn’t believe Hudak could balance the provincial budget and create a million new jobs over the next 8 years either. It just wasn’t their night.