By now, you may have noticed the headlines dominated by campaign coverage for the upcoming provincial election. And, by now, if you have no clue what’s even happening, it’s a little embarrassing to ask (but, hey, we don’t blame you).
Luckily, we’re here to help fill you in on what’s happening in the Ontario election – which will be held on Thursday, June 7, 2018.
You’ll find a general overview here, a breakdown of the Liberal Party here, and an overview of the New Democratic party here. If you have questions about Doug Ford and the Conservative Party, you’re in the right spot.
Here are the basics on the Conservative Party of Ontario and its newest leader.
The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (PC), who are also referred to as the Tories, are a centre-right party (we told you we were talking basics).
The party started the year off on a rough note as former PC leader Patrick Brown resigned in the wake of sexual assault allegations (of which he vehemently denies) and the party was left to scramble for a new leader.
Etobicoke-based businessman Doug Ford – older brother of the late (and highly controversial) Rob Ford – is the newly elected leader of the PC party.
The last five years
Back in the 2014 elections, Tim Hudak led the Tories, who were widely expected to win. The Liberals, led by Kathleen Wynne, however, returned with a majority government. This is widely thought of due to Hudak’s campaign pledge to cut 100,000 public service jobs by attrition rather than by layoffs.
Hudak subsequently resigned, and Patrick Brown was elected leader of the PC party on May 9, 2015. After Brown resigned earlier this year when faced with sexual misconduct allegations, – and a subsequent leadership race that included Doug Ford, Caroline Mulroney, Christine Elliott and Tanya Granic Allen – Ford was narrowly elected leader on March 10, 2018.
Ford was a Toronto City Councillor for Ward 2 Etobicoke North from 2010 to 2014, during the time his brother was mayor. As you may recall, the older Ford brother ran for mayor in 2014, placing second after John Tory.
Unlike the Liberal budget, details aren’t yet crystal clear in terms of Ford’s platform. Under Ford, the Tories said they would keep the recent $14 minimum wage increase imposed by Kathleen Wynne for this year, but would freeze it at that amount, scrapping Wynne’s plan to raise it to $15 in 2019.
The Tories have also vowed to clean up the “hydro mess” made by the Liberals, with initiatives like removing the Smart Meter charges on electricity bills, and getting rid of the Green Energy Act. They’ve promised to lower hydro bills by an additional 12%.
Ford has also promised to drop a cool $5 billion to build the subway in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). During a March 19 rally, Ford announced he would bring back jobs in the manufacturing sector, claiming that Ontario has fallen from an “economic engine,” to a “have not” province, and said he would make Ontario more business-friendly to an American audience.
In more controversial promises, Ford has said he would scrap the updated sex-ed curriculum put in place by Wynne’s government, and has advocated for girls who require abortions under the age of 16 to have consent from their parents.
He has also promised to lower hospital wait times and tax cuts for both the rich and for the poor.
It seems that Doug Ford has the support of Ontario’s working class, in the same manner as Donald Trump won over voters south of the border.
Ford Nation remains a strong force, with original bandwagon-jumpers from the Rob Ford days uniting loud and proud in support of Doug Ford.
Doug Ford is definitely not without haters. Toronto Star writer Heather Mallick ridicules Ford for his response to Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne’s announcement of free daycare for toddlers, to which he questioned why the Province would spend billions on children who aren’t even born yet.
Other journalists have questioned Ford’s allegedly shady past, describing him as a former hash dealer.
An online guerrilla campaign has organized to perpetually attack Ford. Most recently, a group called notdoug.com plastered Markham with dozens of posters slamming the PC leader. He’s also being repeatedly portrayed on social media as a bully.
In his vows to “take back the province,” (as he said at a March 19 rally, his first public appearance since being elected), Ford said he would be offering tax breaks for the rich and poor and a more modest budget, as opposed to Wynne’s “spending spree.”
Recent headlines concerning Doug Ford have included quotes by Kathleen Wynne that, if elected, Ford would “take a bulldozer” to Ontario.
Last month, the headline of a MacLean’s article read, “Is Doug Ford the Populist Hero Canadians are Looking For?,” claiming that his promise to “fight for the little guy” could result in a Trump-style victory.
Most recent headlines discuss how the specifics of Ford’s platforms will be released “piece by piece.”
As opposed to revealing all of his cards a la Kathleen Wynne, a senior advisor to Ford has said anonymously that Ford will reveal his platform slowly. Apparently, it will be concise, consisting of five main points all of which we’ll have to wait to hear more details on.