Doug Ford is the next premier of Ontario. The Progressive Conservative leader was declared the winner within 15 minutes of polls closing at 9 p.m. Thursday, and moments later his victory was upgraded to majority status—one of the fastest election results in Canadian history.
You can explore the results with our live map. Maclean’s also carried live analysis of the election throughout the day. See our live blog (below and here).
(Can’t see the map on your mobile device? Go here »)
The Maclean’s Live Blog
Maclean’s reporters and commentators will be bringing you analysis and updates throughout the day. (Can’t see the live blog on your mobile device? Go here »)
A downtown Grit bastion goes orange
Toronto Centre has been Liberal red ever since it was created. Its original MPP, George Smitherman, was well familiar with Ford Nation, having lost the 2010 mayoral election to Rob. The seat, and its place at the cabinet table, was then taken over by Glen Murray. But tonight it’s a major NDP pickup, at the centre of an orange sweep of downtown Toronto. Well, they were never going to vote for a Ford…
Regarding how fast these results have come in, as Sarah Boesveld noted, it’s the first time Elections Ontario has employed the use of vote tabulation machines to count the results. They were in place for 50 per cent of the polling station with the hopes that the results would be counted faster and with less staff.
Looks like the machines did the job tonight, but that wasn’t the case for the 2014 New Brunswick election, where a software glitch was responsible for the results being delayed for hours.
Michael Coteau and Kathleen Wynne may survive this thing
As poll numbers continue to roll in, it’s looking like Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister of Children and Youth Services Michael Coteau will hang on to their seats. As the updated numbers flashed on screen, showing both MPPs leading in their ridings, the room broke into cheers for the first time.
It’ll be interesting to see what direction the party takes with regard to its leadership once this thing is over.
Every time the PC seat count ticks upward (they have the CP24 feed on here) the crowd here hoots with joy. Someone has a whistle.
Also, I need all of you to know that I'm pretty sure the "For the People" t-shirts are printed in Comic Sans.
— Shannon Proudfoot (@sproudfoot) June 8, 2018
“The room was silent as a crypt.” Except for the media, of course
Aside from media chatter and election night news broadcasts on the big screens, it’s a rather sombre mood at Liberal HQ. Once the PC majority was projected, hugs were exchanged and dour expressions filled the room.
The SPEED of these results coming in…wow
It’s literally just been 15 minutes since the polls started reporting and they’ve already projected a PC majority. This is so reminiscent of the pace at which Rob Ford was elected mayor of Toronto. I’m stunned to see the NDP really only manage half the seats of the PCs.
Ford Nation is oddly placid tonight
Polls close in a few minutes and results should start cascading in pretty quickly after that, but a good 15 per cent of the seats here at Ford HQ are empty. The crowd isn’t nearly as large or raucous as I expected given that this is the capital of Ford Nation and all indications point to a happy outcome for its citizens tonight.
Also lacking is the jagged, angry energy that I saw, for instance, at a Ford rally in Nepean in April. Then, his supporters seemed drunk on their own frustration with the long-standing Liberal government, and Ford himself was the strangely flat and nonchalant vessel into which they poured that rage.
The crowd tonight is both strangely thin and oddly docile and subdued given how it looks like this election is going to turn out for them. The one frisson of life I saw from them was when a reporter on one of the broadcasts on the giant screens alongside the stage discussed Ford’s tendency to vamoose quickly when the questions got tricky. That drew a snarl from the crowd, but the goosing didn’t last long.
It’ll be interesting to see how things look and feel here once the results start to come in, momentarily.
Last call for votes!
Kathleen Wynne arrives early
The Liberal leader walked in quickly, and not through the main entrance, according to our reporters on the ground.
Credit: Della Rollins
Two can play the indoor-bus game
The PCs have towed their campaign bus into the Toronto Congress Centre. Not to be outdone, the NDP have matched that move. No word on why the Liberals aren’t pro-party bus.
Credit: Chloë Ellingson
Standing room only (once anyone shows up)
It’s not as though anyone expected Liberal HQ to be packed, but the venue space for when supporters do arrive appears to be small enough that someone tall enough could count the exact tally one by one. (Not that I’m volunteering.)
It’ll be standing room only for Wynne fans on hand for her (likely) concession speech, because they didn’t set up any chairs. But there are advantages to the small floor space; namely, photos of Wynne’s concession speech will at least, on camera, appear to be in front of a packed crowd.
To add on to Andray’s point about centrism…
…we had a great piece of analysis from former Liberal staffer Gabe De Roche this week about how this election went so wrong for a party that had governed for 15 years. What happens when Ontario’s bellwether for centrism collapses? De Roche is hopeful that a huge rout, rather than a minor loss, will spark the creation of a new centrist coalition. “There is opportunity, after all, in creative destruction,” he writes.
Ontario’s Liberals face annihilation. Here’s what happened—and what happens next
Opinion: For Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals, the 2018 election has been a mess of their own making. And a massive loss might just be the best thing for the party’s future.
Centrism in Ontario is on life support
Late last year, I wrote a piece explaining that the increasing polarization of politics would put enough pressure on centrist parties as to render them irrelevant. As provincial polling continues to show a dead heat between the Ontario PCs and the Ontario NDP, the 2018 election has been heavily waged between the progressive left and the socially conservative right, with little room for either centrist candidates (or the party which purports to be their natural habitat) to make their case.
The rhetorical crossfire from both leading parties has mostly been centred on the perceived extremists on either end. PC candidates Donna Skelly and Andrew Lawton drew fire for public sympathies toward the alt-right (with Lawton, for his part, making overtly racist comments on his podcast), while NDP candidates like Gurratan Singh and Laura Kaminker made headlines for crudely worded stances against police and the Remembrance Day poppy.
Meanwhile, the moderating elements from either party have hardly factored into the campaign, and the Liberals have more or less existed as a piñata for the other major parties to take a swing at, when voters need a reality check.
After the election is over, Ontario’s political landscape will likely settle down to its usual milquetoast sensibilities. But whatever the result, centrist candidates have plenty of work to do in bringing voters back from the tidal forces of extreme rhetoric.
No more mushy middle: 2018 will be the end of centrist politics
Across the West, mainstream politicians have preached centrist compromise, but the cracks are showing and a reckoning is due.
“If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?”
One of the things that has dogged the Ontario NDP in this election—and, really, has dogged the party in every Ontario election—was the ghost of Bob Rae, whose “Rae Days” amid a very difficult economic climate made him a deeply unpopular figure in the province even two decades after his premiership. Andrea Horwath, assailed for Rae’s legacy, was herself quick to distance herself from the leader of the lone Ontario NDP government in the party’s history. One of the pieces I was most pleased to be able to publish during this campaign was by Rae himself, sharply defending his record—or, as he tweeted, “the piñata hits back.” If you haven’t read it yet, please do, especially for the final anecdote.
Bob Rae responds: ‘At some point, the lies and propaganda have to be answered’
Opinion: Amid criticism on the campaign trail of his time as Ontario’s premier, Bob Rae defends the legacy of his NDP government
Doug Ford will leave the building
If the polls are correct, Doug Ford will be the premier-designate of Ontario by the end of the night, but he does not seem inclined to make himself any more available to the media than he has throughout the campaign.
His staff briefed reporters earlier on the logistics of the night, and we were told that after the polls close at 9 p.m. and the results pour in, Progressive Conservative campaign chair Dean French will speak briefly onstage, followed by Ford himself, and then the PC leader will be whisked from the room. There will be no media availability or scrum.
Who really is Ford Nation?
“Ford Nation is the most diverse group anywhere in Canada,” Doug Ford claimed mid-campaign, after drawing criticism for a comment about immigration to northern Ontario that smacked of nativism. And indeed, there has been much fascination with and coverage of the racialized people who are supporting the PCs in this provincial election because of the party’s leader, whose family forged a reputation for helping any constituent who called during their many years in municipal politics.
There are 27 ‘majority-minority’ ridings in Ontario, all in the Greater Toronto Area. (Nationally, there are 41). As of yesterday, the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy, which aggregates multiple pollsters’ results, had nine that were locks for or leaning PC, 10 going NDP, and eight that were too close to call. That’s a considerable count for Ford Nation, but hardly overwhelming. (Pollster EKOS, which called every seat, had it at 21 for the PCs, six for the NDP, and one for the Liberals, which would do rather more to reaffirm the pro-Ford storyline).
Earlier in the campaign, I wrote about where the “racialized people love the Fords” narrative came from, why it’s based on flawed assumptions, and what the data really shows about the ‘ethnic vote.’ (Spoiler alert: It doesn’t really exist).
Doug Ford, Jagmeet Singh and the myth of the ‘ethnic vote’
Both politicians have been cast as potential beneficiaries of outsized support from ethnic voters. The evidence suggests something different.
The room is dark at Ford HQ
But our determined reporter, Shannon Proudfoot, toils away nonetheless by the light of her laptop.
Credit: Chris Donovan
The Liberal campaign co-chair is in the house
Our intrepid correspondent, Aaron Hutchins, speaks to Liberal campaign co-chair Deb Matthews before tonight’s festivities, such as they’ll be.
Credit: Della Rollins
For the Ontario PCs, that big room means big expectations
Shannon’s description from the Toronto Congress Centre, the massive hangar-like space where Ontario PC partisans will be watching the results come in tonight, is pretty striking in comparison to the same scene in 2014. As but a wee intern, I went to bucolic Grimsby, Ont., at a relatively small community centre, where PC faithful gathered to see if Tim Hudak could become premier in his second try. The polling didn’t give him great odds going into it, but the big screens showing that the Liberals had won—followed soon after by news that it would be a majority—came quickly that night. It was as if, in the first inning of a baseball game, before people had even found their seats, the other team had hit a series of singles and then a grand slam; I’ve never felt a room deflate quite like that one.
I just saw a photo from photographer Nick Iwanyshyn from the parking lot of the Toronto Congress Centre: it’s a sign helping folks find their way to PC Party HQ. But it doesn’t say “PC HQ” or “Main Hall” or “Election Party”—the sign just has the stark words “DOUG FORD,” and an arrow pointing ahead. If he indeed comes out ahead, it’ll be a party in the building, to be sure, but it’ll feel awfully empty if things don’t swing the PCs’ way early.
And now, over to Liberal HQ
Here’s the (almost certainly, but for a miracle, outgoing) premier’s stage tonight.
Credit: Della Rollins
Those flags won’t steam themselves
Everyone knows a good political party party is only a great political party party when the flags are in steamed to perfection. The PCs are on top of it.
Credit: Chris Donovan
A peek into Doug Ford’s HQ
As she noted earlier, Shannon Proudfoot is at the Progressive Conservatives’ party tonight. Here’s the stage.
Credit: Chris Donovan
Remembering why your vote matters
You know how the B.C. and Alberta governments are in a very public disagreement, which ultimately led to the federal government buying a pipeline to save the project? Well, that feud may never have erupted if a few more Liberal voters in Courtenay-Comox, B.C., showed up to vote.
The B.C. Liberals ultimately finished one seat shy of a majority in last year’s election, leading to B.C.’s NDP-Green coalition agreement.
I called nine homes in Courtenay-Comox the day after the Liberals lost that riding by nine votes to see what people thought of the super-tight race. (Spoiler: one Liberal-supporting home, with four votes, didn’t show up to vote that day.)
Just in case you’re wondering if your vote counts—especially if you haven’t gone to vote yet:
Nine voters who could have swung the B.C. election – Macleans.ca
Losing the riding of Courtenay-Comox by nine votes cost the B.C. Liberals a majority. We called nine locals to see what they think about that.
C’mon Ontario, this is embarrassing. VOTE!
Attention Ontario: you have fewer than THREE hours left to vote.
Face it, you really don’t have a good track record when it comes to provincial election turnout. In the last provincial election in 2014, just 51 per cent of you bothered to exercise your democratic right. And that was a slight improvement from the previous election. Since the 1990s, it’s been mostly downhill.
That makes you a laggard not just in Canada, but globally as well.
Check out this chart. It draws on most-recent election turnout data from International IDEA, and provincial election bodies. Ontario is nearly dead last.
Yes, this chart compares national elections to provincial, but an opportunity to vote is an opportunity to vote.
Hey, Jen Gerson! I have a question.
Here in Ontario, we thought Alberta politics looked pretty rollicking over the past few years. But look at us now, with a bonkers campaign to call our own! From your perch, how has this one compared to Alberta’s own experience with a change election in 2015?
I think there is a temptation among NDP supporters to look for parallels between the 2015 election in Alberta and what is happening in Ontario and I am afraid that I don’t see it.
The NDP became a viable party out here very suddenly—that much is true. But only because every other alternative had utterly collapsed. The PC party had been in power for 43 years and while their dominance had been threatened by the conservative Wildrose Party, and the province’s loyalty shaken after a few years of a deeply unpopular Alison Redford, the party probably could have won another majority government under Jim Prentice.
What killed the PCs was a bizarre gambit to bring Wildrose back into the fold by coaxing Wildrose MPs and its leader to cross the floors and then call a snap election before what was left of Wildrose could recover. Albertans had long been complacent about the PC stranglehold on the province, but even this was too much. There was a real sense that Prentice had seriously undermined democracy with these kinds of backroom machinations. That they had cheated, essentially.
So this is what voters were left with: an unelectable PC party, a decimated Wildrose and…a relatively moderate version of the NDP led by a charismatic new leader named Rachel Notley.
What is happening in Ontario is a very different dynamic, as far as I can tell. Horwath isn’t new, and she doesn’t seem to be acknowledging Ontario’s dire financial situation. (Alberta’s books are nowhere near as ugly). And if you’re angry at the Liberals, Doug Ford’s PCs are a viable option for many voters. I wouldn’t rule the NDP out, but the conditions that led to that that stunning upset in Alberta were unique.
What will happen to women’s representation at Queen’s Park?
Being the women’s magazine writer that I am, I am very much attuned to women’s representation in political office—we are, after all, half the population of this province and so deserve to see ourselves reflected in positions of power. The federal Liberals talk about this a lot (you miiiiight’ve heard about their gender balanced cabinet? If not, let me pry you out from under that rock), and so too had the Ontario Liberals under Kathleen Wynne boasted a fairly solid representation of women compared to the other parties (see below, in the Globe and Mail’s graphic from 2016). Right now, women represent about 35 percent of seats at Queen’s Park:
We all know by now that the Ontario Liberals face total decimation tonight – Wynne basically told us so herself, last weekend. So will that mean we wake up tomorrow morning to a House full of dudes poised to make all the decisions on our behalf?
Maybe not. The Ontario NDP set a record this campaign by running 69 women candidates, the most a party has ever run in Ontario history (that’s 56 percent of their entire slate). So I’ll be watching tonight to see how representation of women holds up. Could be a different story if we see a PC sweep (they’re running 32 percent women candidates), and depending on the seats, we could even wind up with more than 35 percent representation of women in the legislature.
As an aside, I’ve had the pleasure of tagging along with a few women candidates who threw their hat in the ring for the very first time this election (what a race to pick!). I’m thinking about them tonight as they go through their very first emotional election night, in which they’ll learn the result of all their hard work and sacrifice. In such a volatile race, their confidence and conviction and commitment to doing the work was super inspiring to see – and I hope it inspires other women to consider running in future.
‘It’s Been 100 Percent Worth It’: 3 Women On Running For Office For The First Time
Three rookie candidates in the Ontario election talk about the highs, the lows and the biggest surprises that came with making the leap into politics.
I just arrived at the Toronto Congress Centre, where Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford’s campaign is hosting their election night party. It’s a very large venue out by Toronto Pearson International Airport, splashy in an extremely trade-show kind of way. They managed to park their campaign bus inside one room in the venue, with a whole lot of room left over for supporters. There’s an Ontario flag in one corner large enough to hide a modest bungalow behind, and huge screens displaying a live feed of CP24. The lighting is PC blue.
Google search predicts a big win for Doug Ford. Just sayin’.
For a few years now I’ve been fascinated with the question of whether Google can predict election results. Does the intensity of searches for a candidate translate into votes at the ballot box? Back in 2015, during the federal election campaign, I dug into what the research said about Google’s political predictive abilities, and the findings were mixed.
Even so, on election night in 2015 I used Google’s Trends tool and did an extrapolation of search interest in the party leaders to come up with a seat count prediction:
The final results were:
- Liberals 184
- Conservatives 99
- NDP 44
- Green 1
As Nick Waddell at Cantech Letter noted, no poll came close to matching that prediction of a strong Liberal majority.
During the U.S. presidential election, I used the Google Trends tool to track the campaign. At a time when poll trackers were giving Hillary Clinton a 90 per cent chance of victory, an extrapolation of Google search interest in Clinton and Donald Trump indicated a Trump electoral college victory of 309 to 229. In the end, Trump won 304. Clinton won 227.
Which brings us to Ontario election 2018. The polls indicate the race is close. The latest Maclean’s-Pollara survey had support for Doug Ford’s PCs and Andrea Horwath’s NDP tied at 38 per cent each, with Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals trailing at 17 per cent.
Google search results beg to differ.
The chart (as of Thursday morning) shows relative search interest in the four leaders for 30 days prior to June 5. It reflects only searches in Ontario. Wynne’s stunning concession speech over the weekend appears as that big red spike, before search interest in her fell back to earth alongside Horwath. Searches for Ford just kept climbing.
Extrapolating from the search term results—by tallying up their combined search index score, getting each leader’s percentage of that score and translating that to seats (I didn’t say this was scientific)—gives the following seat count prediction:
- Doug Ford: 86
- Andrea Horwath: 19
- Kathleen Wynne: 18
- Mike Schreiner (Greens): 1
That, of course, bears no resemblance to any poll out there. And it feels ridiculous as I write this. (Note, if we use Google search topics instead of search terms, Ford’s seat count is slightly smaller, at 81, but still much higher than any poll predicts.)
Ahead of the 2016 U.S. election I didn’t write or tweet about Google search’s prediction of a Trump win because it seemed ridiculous. And I’m reminded of a tweet from David Akin about my Google search extrapolation of the federal election:
So make of this prediction what you will. Based on Google searches in Ontario, Doug Ford will be the province’s next premier. Just sayin’
An election is nothing if it doesn’t have at least a few bloopers.
The context: A camera man trips as Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford walks with his wife Karla and family to St. George’s Junior School Polling Station 28 in Etobicoke to cast his vote in the Ontario election. (Bernard Weil/Toronto Star/Getty Images)
That day once every couple years when neighbours meet at designated church halls and public schools across the province. (I mean, people who don’t normally congregate in such places.)
Our man in Hamilton
Paul Wells is watching the New Democrats tonight, over there in the elbow of Lake Ontario. He reminds us of another big event in Canada this week featuring a prominent populist.
This is Ontario today
Did you vote? I voted. We’ll spend part of the afternoon filling this space with images of polling stations and people voting. Civic duty!
What you can expect from us today
We’ve got lots of analysis from lots of smart people. You’ll hear from Ottawa bureau chief John Geddes, senior writer Paul Wells, managing editor Charlie Gillis, associate editors Shannon Proudfoot, Murad Hemmadi and Aaron Hutchins, contributing editors Andray Domise, Stephen Maher and Jen Gerson, Chatelaine senior writer Sarah Boesveld, and fastidious intern Tom Yun. And probably more.
We’ll be covering lots of ground: We have people at three party leader parties. We have people who can explain why key ridings and regions are shifting. We have people who will look ahead to what’s next for Ontario. We have it all!
Welcome to our blog, live!
If you’ve navigated to this corner of cyberspace by way of the information superhighway, odds are you’re looking for election analysis from Maclean’s. We’re starting things with such tortured references to earlier internet years because some people were still talking about “the ‘Net” like that back in 2003, when Ontarians last threw the bums out and gave a new party a shot at power. (Look at our funny little site back then!)
All that to say: welcome to what will no doubt be a rollercoaster of an election day. Enjoy the ride.
You might also be interested in…
Ontario’s experiment with vote-counting machines could change elections to come
If you’re an Ontarian who voted in Thursday’s provincial election, there’s a chance you cast your ballot into a tabulation machine, rather than a cardboard box.
It’s the first general election that Elections Ontario has made use of vote tabulators, though you might have already seen them used in municipal elections. They’ve been deployed at 50 per cent of polling stations, while the rest of the votes are being manually counted.
Boy, this sure was a boring election campaign, wasn’t it?
I mean, way back in the fall, everyone and his uncle (the uncle who is incredibly upset about his hydro bill, that is) knew how this thing was going to turn out, and then things unfolded exactly as we all predicted, without a single plot-twist or noteworthy development. No drama, no shifting winds of political momentum, no scandals, gaffes or surprises of any kind. We basically just all slipped into a voluntary fugue state for four weeks, and now we rouse ourselves to find that it’s suddenly election day in Ontario.
Lisa MacLeod, MPP for Nepean-Carleton, stands in the middle of a ballroom in a suburban recreation complex whose ugliness is its own special achievement. “They wanted a room for about 300 people when they were coming to Ottawa,” she hollers into a microphone. “And I told them, ‘You better get me a room for 500, because Ford Nation is comin’ through!’ ” And indeed, a standing-room-only crowd of 500 or so packs in around her, awaiting the headlining act: Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford.
For eight years of childhood, Andrea Horwath lived with a lump on her nose. The lump got her teased from age 11. It followed her to high school. She had no money or need for cosmetic surgery. Whenever asked of the lump, she would answer honestly: “I was hit in the face with a baseball bat.”
Horwath had played organized ball in Stoney Creek, Ont. She was waiting in the batter’s cage for her turn to bat when her predecessor threw the bat in its traumatizing trajectory. Horwath’s puffed, black face turned out to have a deviated septum, but her health coverage wouldn’t pay for the corrective operation until she was 19 and had trouble breathing.
Kathleen Wynne has an interesting theory about the job of a politician.
A few hours after dissolving the 41st Parliament of Ontario to launch her re-election campaign, she was discussing how she processes the public animosity toward her. She’s talked to thousands of people in her career, she says, and there are very few who don’t respond well when you simply listen to them.