The day has come for Ontarians to head to the polls to vote for the next premier of the province. Before you wake up for work tomorrow morning, the new leader of Ontario will be revealed.
Pre-election polls have Doug Ford’s Conservative party in the lead with 38 per cent support, followed by the NDP led by Andrea Horwath.
Current premier Kathleen Wynne publicly conceded the weekend before election day, admitting she will not be Ontario’s premier when the race comes to an end. She has also urged Ontarians to vote for their local Liberal MPPs to stop a majority Progressive Conservative or NDP government.
Ontarians are also wondering if Wynne will step down as leader of the provincial Liberal party once the new premier is named. David Henderson, candidate in Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, has said he plans to bid for the party leader position.
Wynne and the Liberal government received extensive criticism on the increase in electricity prices in Ontario. In 2017, the provincial government introduced the Ontario Fair Hydro Plan, which reduced electricity bills for residential consumers by 25 per cent and between 40-50 per cent for consumers in rural or remote areas of the province.
“Electricity prices were going up in this province because our government..had to make investments in the electricity system to rebuild lines and wires across the province, billions of dollars because we had a degraded system,” Wynne told the media.
Despite the government’s resolution action in 2017, Ontarians and Wynne’s opponents continued to bring up the hydro debacle frequently throughout the election campaign.
Not only could the Liberals lose power after all the votes are counted, but the provincial NDPs might be in power for the first time since Bob Rae in the 1990s.
The provincial NDPs promise free child care for families that earn less than $40,000 and a fully implemented universal pharmacare program by 2020. If elected, Horwath would increase taxes by one per cent for individuals earning more than $220,000, and two per cent for people earning $300,000 or more.
Similar to the Liberal plan, the NDPs are anticipating multi-year deficits, totaling $3.3 billion in the first year and peaking at $5 billion in 2020-2021. The party anticipates reducing the deficit to $1.9 billion in five years.
Horwath’s main opponent has criticized both the NDP and Liberal debt projections throughout the election campaign.
“The NDP want to double down on Kathleen Wynne’s tax-and-spend policies,” the Ontario PC plan states.
If Ford is named the Ontario Premier, he plans to get rid of the carbon tax, reduce gas prices by 10 cents per litre and fire the Hydro One CEO. Ford also wants to scrap discovery math programs in schools and introduce a minimum-wage tax credit in the province.
Ford has received significant criticism from his opponents for promising numerous tax cuts without releasing a fully costed platform.
The Ford family has also made headlines this week after it was revealed that the Ontario PC leader is facing a lawsuit from his sister-in-law, wife of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford. Renata Ford is alleging that he mishandled his brother’s estate and deprived her and her children of shares in the family company Deco Toronto.
Ontarians, particularly those around Toronto, will be watching to see if Ford’s personal scandal impacts the provincial election results.
Sitting at an estimated 5 per cent support, the Green Party leader Mike Schreiner spent the election campaign sharing his platform with Ontarians.
The Green Party has heavily criticized the media consortium for excluding the party from televised debates. During the election campaign, Schreiner used social media to answer questions live as they were asked to his Liberal, NDP and Progressive Conservative competitors on television.
“I think it’s a slap in the face of the people of Ontario and it’s a slap in the face of our democracy,” Schreiner said.