Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday May 28, 2022
Doug Ford and Ontario’s race for second
Doug Ford is heading toward a second majority at Queen’s Park — not that anyone is paying attention.
In the unlikely scenario all the polls released in Ontario ahead of its June 2 election turn out to be wrong, or if tens of thousands of voters do indeed vote strategically to deny the premier his majority, I stand to be corrected.
Many observers, including yours truly, yearned for movement in the polling numbers — not for partisan purposes, but for the sake of storylines that might capture the attention of an electorate seemingly apathetic to the campaign: Will the Liberals get over 30 percent? Will the Ontario NDP — ONDP — go in the tank? Or will it regain second place to keep Liberals at bay? Alas, none of it was to be.
But if the writing is on the wall of this 2022 campaign, the race for official opposition could still be compelling.
The PC gained the reins of the Ontario Legislature in 2018 by winning 76 seats (out of 124) with 40.5 percent of the popular vote. The NDP climbed to official opposition with 40 seats (33.6 percent of the vote). The Liberals, after forming government for 15 straight years, collapsed to 7 seats and 19.6 percent of the vote.
In the campaign now underway, the Ontario Liberals and ONDP have attempted, repeatedly and unsuccessfully, to dent the PC armor: More money for public education and long-term care, less for new highways. Remember when Ford closed playgrounds during the pandemic? All legitimate points, but not enough to rattle his base.
Ford has been playing 1995 New Jersey Devils-style defensive trap, both soporific and highly effective. Add to the mix an electorate suffering from Covid fatigue, the long-awaited return of sunny patios, the NHL and NBA playoffs (although it went by fast in Ontario), and it is hardly surprising many voters do not feel engaged. Sometimes defense is the best offense.
As of Tuesday, the 338Canada Ontario model has the PC leading voting intentions with an average of 37 percent, a 9-point lead over the Ontario Liberal party, which is at 28 percent.
The ONDP takes third place with 23 percent.
The Green Party of Ontario, which had earned just under 5 percent in 2018, has climbed to an average of 7 percent.
With a little more than one week to go before ballots are counted, the OLP and ONDP stand in a statistical tie in terms of seats, as it appears the anti-Ford vote has yet to coalesce behind one single banner.
And that’s just fine for Doug Ford. (Politico)