Ontario Election – T’was the night before…

In case any of you missed it, the election is in its final day and tomorrow the eligible voters of Ontario will cast their ballots in the 43rd provincial election.

Yes, tomorrow is election day!

In what has been one of the sleepiest elections ever, voters will have a say in the direction of the province for the next 4 years. They will have a chance to analyse the party platforms, the leaders and their abilities. They will take a look at many factors and then go in and vote.

Or they will just vote.

In all probability, tomorrow’s low voter turnout will see most vote for who they know and who they don’t know. The campaign has done very little to change that. In fact, almost every poll is pointing to a PC majority, some with numbers even surpassing the majority they received in the 2018 election.

So how did we get here?

Andrea Horwath of the NDP ran a negative campaign on everyone else’s agenda but her own. While she made announcements, she never made an impact with her messaging — she no sooner announced her policy position than she commented on her opponent’s positions. Just yesterday, she spent the day condemning gun laws, an issue clearly dominated by the Liberals.  And while the PC’s and Greens both commented on guns during the campaign, they did so as an aside and didn’t let it get in the way of their own messaging.

Michael Schreiner increased his presence, largely because of a relatively strong showing in the only official debate between leaders. However, it’s safe to say that he continues to lead a one-issue party not seen as a true alternative on other key issues besides the environment and climate change.

Steven Del Duca floundered and struggled with having any positive impact on most issues. He did a good job by owning the gun control issue, but then his federal counterparts came along and took it over, leaving him on the sidelines to agree with them, just as his provincial counterparts all did. The staging of his events was dull with little enthusiasm. Watching an announcement surrounded by supporters can be a great communications tool. But get the right supporters to stand with him – not those who stood expressionless and unreactive to his comments. Most looked like they were attending a wake, and maybe they were. Add all this to his own bland style and its hard to see where Del Duca makes a breakthrough. He may not even win his own seat.

Premier Doug Ford did exactly what he had to do. He spent the campaign doing very few events of substance. The PC platform was dealt with in the April 29th budget and nothing new was announced over the campaign. Instead, Ford re-announced key budget items that were winners in the public eye. He did people-events such as mainstreeting with candidates and regional rallies, the things Ford does best. He avoided the media when he could with limited scrum opportunities and virtually no one-on-one interviews – he didn’t have to! And when he did speak, for the most part, he kept to the script.

And so tomorrow voters will cast their ballots and soon after the polls close at 9:00 pm we should know the results – a PC victory. The opposition ranking remains to be seen but with a PC majority, it matters little.

On June 3rd, the jockeying for Cabinet positions begins. Look for the focus to be on who will be the next Minister of Health and the domino effect it will create.

The 43rd Ontario provincial election will not be one to remember – unless you’re Doug Ford.

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