So this election in Ontario was, IMHO, a disaster.
Not as bad as a disaster as a Conservative victory, but a mess nonetheless. Horwath had no business calling this election. The NDP was in the position of opposition, meaning they get to lead questions, and most importantly, influence the budget. The budget that brought on the election was well to the left of the Liberal position, since the Liberals were in power as a minority, not a majority, and so were able to run a government with the consent of the NDP. Would the budget be 100% NDP? Of course not, but it did feature many policies and programs that the NDP favoured. However, from inside the NDP, things looked a bit different. They saw the NDP do well in the Federal election in Quebec a few years ago, and thought a similar wave could happen in Ontario. And while there is no Quebec NDP, per se, they still blithely ignored the Liberal sweep in Quebec just a month earlier that crushed the sovereigntists and gave the Liberals a “majority” government there as well. Had they been paying attention, they would have noticed that the Liberals were somehow connecting with the Quebecois voting public. Extrapolating that to Ontario is not an unjustified stretch of the imagination.
They thought they could gain some seats and get a majority or a larger minority. The NDP failed on both counts. Why? Because Horwath alienated so many of her constituents with her rightward tilt that she made Wynne look like a leftist. That was an epic fail. She should have realised that this was NOT the time to call an election – a big chunk of Ontario is based in Toronto, and Toronto is in political upheaval facing an election this fall.
Meanwhile in Ontario, the Liberals had a minority government that was only ruling with the consent of the NDP. As a result, Wynne softballed a budget for the NDP – was it exactly what the NDP wanted? No, but it was fairly close and way out of range of the Conservatives.
Whatever her reasons were, none of them were good; Horwath led the NDP to reject the budget and thus force a new election. An election that failed. Badly.
While I’m not shedding any tears to see Hudak go away, he at least had the decency to step down after not only losing the election, but losing ten seats to the Liberals – giving them a majority. Hudak’s campaign was a catastrophe from start to finish.His million jobs plan (in a province of 16 million people) was absurd. His anti-immigration stances were cruel and dumb. His positions were inspired by the lunatic fringe of the American right – the Tea Party People – and he thought that kind of nonsense would roll in Ontario. Sheer idiocy. However, I also got the impression that Hudak was caught off-guard by the election. It’s important to remember – *he didn’t call the election – Horwath did*, and the way Wynne was talking about the budget, and the way the budget was designed – it had NDP fingerprints all over it. One would think the NDP would have signed off on it. He probably figured “Horwath will roll on it, and we’ll deal with this next year…” But Horwath didn’t roll on the budget, and so suddenly the Conservatives had to cook up an election strategy and theory in a fairly short time. They doubled down on their dimwitted ideology and barfed up the stupidest campaign I’ve seen in a long time. Given that Hudak didn’t call the election, he did what he could, which, thankfully, wasn’t much. And at the end of it, he resigned. And there was much rejoicing.
However, it was also a disaster for the NDP. Not only do the Liberals now have a majority, meaning the NDP has zero input in the budget, but the conservatives are now the opposition party, with 27 seats to the NDP’s 21. So when it comes to questioning the Liberals in Parliament, the Conservatives will have a dominant voice. Double Fail for the NDP.
I would like to see an NDP govt in Ontario – it would be a fresh change. And when Horwath called this election and then failed to not only win the election but also any political leverage on future budgets, she lost what power the NDP had in the government. Now Wynne will put together a Liberal Government for four years and that won’t be a good thing. Personally, if I was Horwath, I would step down from NDP leadership. What she did was tactically risky and strategically dumb. Her rhetorical tack to the right has been very disturbing. And the NDP stripping socialist language from the platform even more so. She is leading the ONDP into irrelevance.