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The Ontario election campaign has come to a close. It’s been over a month since the results came in. This means the Liberals have had time to reflect on their poor performance, the NDP has had time to reflect after their leader resigned, and obviously, the Progressive Conservatives have had time to name their new cabinet and new Parliamentary Assistants.

The Ontario Liberal Party hasn’t yet named a new Interim Leader, following Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca stepping down as leader of the party. Del Duca as leader of the party undoubtedly did things that perhaps other leaders wouldn’t have been able to do, such as pay off the party’s debt. However, there were most definitely questions as to his performance, only winning the party eight seats in the legislature and not evening winning his own riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge. The riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge has always been a toss-up riding, of course, it’s held federally by Liberal MP Francesco Sorbara and provincially by Michael Tibollio from the PCs, who of course is an Associate Cabinet Minister in the Government. Tibollio defeated Del Duca in 2018, and he did so again in 2022. The Liberals will need to do much reflection, which of course is something Liberal insiders and strategists are already doing. The party will need to pick a new permanent leader before for the next provincial election. It’ll need to be someone who can appeal to audiences specifically which Del Duca wasn’t able to do. The party is likely still recovering from the 2018 campaign, which was quite devastating for the party, and so no matter who was the Leader of the party, it still probably would’ve been a challenge to attract the groups of people Del Duca wasn’t able to do.

Del Duca didn’t make the number of gains he needed to in the GTA. Historically the GTA is generally where progressive parties such as the Liberals have their most success. There were also many examples of how Ontario’s system is designed to elect individual MPPs for each individual riding, such as Barrie-Springwater, a riding where the former Mayor of Barrie, ran against the incumbent Attorney General and MPP, where the former Mayor came in very close considering this riding is usually seen as a safe PC riding in the legislature. There were also many ridings, which some local candidates admit they could’ve had better organization and better ground game, ridings such as Ajax, Mississauga Streetsville, or even University-Rosedale. It can’t be read into very much though, nevertheless because the election was a contest of name recognition and the PC Leader had been on everyone’s television screen nearly on a daily basis throughout the pandemic, and the Liberal Leader would hold semi-daily press conferences but obviously in a crisis as big as the pandemic people want to know what the person in charge is saying because he’s ultimately the one with the decision making power at Queens Park.

The New Democrats didn’t make any gains on election night, but it was ultimately still enough to make NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announce her resignation on the night of the election. The NDP find themselves in quite a different situation from the Liberals because the NDP received thirty-one seats at Queens Park, still, enough for them to remain in the official opposition, and for Horwath to lead the opposition. Many people would argue she did the job of Opposition Leader very well, in being a critic of the Ford Government’s COVID-19 response and lending solutions in her press conferences that would follow any big decision from the Ford Government. The NDP is also in a different situation from the Liberals, primarily because they’ve already selected an Interim Leader. The party announced that they chose Toronto-Danforth MPP Peter Tabuns to serve as their leader on an interim basis. Tabuns has served in many roles in terms of Critics within the NDP caucus, he is well-respected by the NDP caucus and will likely serve as an effective NDP Interim Leader. The party will likely stay focused on having to unite the progressive portion of the party and the traditional labour faction of the party, something Horwath did quite well and something Tabuns has the ability to do well, too. They’ll want to focus on the issues, that Horwath focused on in her time as Leader of the party, issues such as Climate Change, Anti-Black racism, and they’ll likely continue to hold the Ford Government accountable for what they feel was an inadequate response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The voters of the riding of Guelph re-elected MPP and Party Leader Mike Schreiner. The party leader, Mike Schreiner has decided to stay on as Party Leader, after all, he’s the only re-elected MPP for the Green Party in the history of the party. It wasn’t all celebrations for party insiders and Green Party supporters on election night, however. The party was hoping to make gains in the Northern Ontario riding of Parry-Sound Muskoka. In that region of the province, the party ran a candidate who had been running for the Green Party since 2007, his name was Matt Richter, and the difference between Richter and the victorious PC Candidate Graydon Smith was only around five percent. The Green Party wants to be seen as a credible progressive opposition party at Queens Park, and well it’s true that Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner has punched above his weight, the party will still need to elect more MPPs if they want to be viewed as that credible alternative to those other progressive opposition parties at Queens Park in the legislature.

The PCs were of course the big story of election night, winning eighty-three seats, an even larger majority government than was won by the party in 2018. Of course, it is quite rare that the incumbent gets elected to a second consecutive majority government. The PCs will probably need to still reflect on some things, like how they will attract those audiences that they didn’t attract in this past election, but ultimately the party did what they needed to do in the election, in order for Doug Ford to be viewed as credible which was win a second term.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.



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Ontarians should listen for a giant sucking sound from Queen’s Park.

Now that the election is over and MPPs know that they don’t have to directly answer to voters for another four years, you can bet that Ontario’s political parties will team up once again to funnel even more money from taxpayers’ wallets into party coffers.

For those who didn’t know, Ontario’s political parties are giving themselves millions of dollars four times a year through a process known as the per-vote subsidy. Each party gets a set amount of money based on how many votes they received in the last election with no strings attached. Parties can spend that money on whatever they want, including lawn signs and attack ads during election campaigns.

But earlier this year, Ontario’s political parties did something unprecedented. All four of them took nine months’ worth of quarterly political welfare payments early, so they could spend the money during this spring’s election campaign.

Never before have Ontario’s political parties taken a payday advance from taxpayers. But thanks to legislation the Ford government passed last year, with no quarrels from the opposition, that’s exactly how it played out.

Roughly $10 million was loaned from you, the taxpayer, to Ontario’s political parties to finance their election campaigns.

Yet now that election day has come and gone and the money is spent, Ontario’s political parties are waking up to the fact that they won’t get quarterly payments for the next nine months, having taken the money early.

Without having to face the wrath of voters for another four years and hungry for cash, you can bet dollars to donuts that Ontario’s political parties will team up once again and try to alter the payday advance to make it a forgivable loan and make sure they get taxpayer cash over the next nine months.

Political parties will pretend they desperately need this cash. As former NDP leader Andrea Horwath said, “there has to be a way of funding democracy.”

But democracy isn’t about sweetheart handouts from taxpayer coffers to partisan politicians. In fact, these payments erode democracy by allowing political parties to skip the legwork to connect with everyday voters and earn donations from supporters. And it certainly isn’t democratic to take the same money twice.

Plus, political parties still raise millions from their supporters. In 2020, while the pandemic led to an economic contraction, Ontario’s political parties still managed to raise millions. They raised nearly $10 million combined. That was actually over and above what the parties raised in 2019, which totaled just over $7 million. This fundraising increase kills any narrative that Ontario’s political parties can’t fund their own operations because of declining donations.

If parties are short on cash, they should be turning to their supporters to help finance party operations over the next nine months. Asking Ontario taxpayers to allow them to double dip by taking a payday advance and getting their pay a second time would be unconscionable.

At the federal level, parties don’t get quarterly payments from taxpayers and all of them have been raking in millions from their supporters. In 2021, their fundraising hit an all-time high. If federal parties can manage to keep the lights on from individual, small dollar donations, their provincial counterparts surely can too.

Four years ago, Premier Doug Ford promised to scrap Ontario’s political welfare regime. At the time, Ford declared that he did “not believe the government should be taking money from hard-working taxpayers and giving it to political parties.”

But instead of ending the system, he expanded it. He also arranged for the payday loan Ontario’s political parties were given this spring. Ford certainly can’t claim he’s fighting for taxpayers if he chooses to move ahead with political welfare double dipping.

The political welfare payday loan was even more evidence that Ontario’s political parties cannot be trusted with taxpayer cash. Taxpayers should say no to double dipping. After that, Ontarians should demand that the program be scrapped altogether. It’s time for Ontario taxpayers to get out of the political party welfare business.

Jay Goldberg is the Ontario Director at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.



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Affordability is the elephant in the room as Ontario approaches this June’s provincial election and it’s time for Ontario’s politicians to address it before they get trampled.

All three of Ontario’s major political parties plan to speak to the issue of affordability in their platforms. The Ford government has been busy eliminating user fees for taxpayers. Steven Del Duca’s Liberals are promising thousands of dollars in electric car rebates. And Andrea Horwath’s NDP is talking about billions of dollars to build more affordable housing.

Every party will try to put an affordability dog in the window just in time for the election. But the best way to help Ontarians is to leave more money in taxpayers’ pockets on payday.

In Ontario, inflation is rising at more than double the rate of wage growth. That means that any gains taxpayers are making through pay hikes at work are being entirely eaten away by rising prices, and then some.

Taxpayers’ purchasing power is declining at a rate not seen since Cheers was the most-watched show on television.

Thanks to rampant inflation, Ontarians are falling further and further behind. Experts have projected that Ontario families will pay, on average, an additional $1,000 this year on groceries compared to last year. Gas prices are up by over 33 per cent compared to just one year ago. The average rental rate for an apartment in Toronto has surged by 16 per cent over the past twelve months. Three bedroom units are renting for about $2,700 per month.

Ontarians need relief, and they need it urgently.

Four years ago, Ontario Premier Doug Ford ran on a platform of affordability and tax relief. His most significant promise was to reduce middle-class income taxes by up to $1,700 a year for a family with two income-earners.

Ford’s promise tried to address the problem at its source. Rather than offering vague promises to help deal with specific issues that might impact some families more than others, Ford adopted an across-the-board approach, proposing a tax cut that could help millions of families across Ontario.

While the Ford government is now talking about leaving more money in Ontarians’ pockets through eliminating certain road tolls and scrapping the province’s license plate sticker fees, the relief Ontario families would feel if the Ford government delivered on its four-year-old income tax cut commitment would far outstrip the government’s move to reduce the number of fees taxpayers are forced to pay.

As Ontario’s 2022 election campaign is set to begin in a matter of weeks, affordability should be at the top of the agenda. But Ontario taxpayers don’t want to see election gimmicks that would only help a small portion of taxpayers or pie in the sky promises that will never be acted upon. Ontarians want to see a real plan to increase the size of paycheques. The best way to get there is broad-based income tax relief.

Ontarians haven’t seen an income tax cut since former premier Mike Harris introduced sweeping tax relief in the mid-1990s. When Harris slashed income taxes, Ontario had the lowest income tax rates in the country. Since then, provinces like British Columbia and Alberta have outstripped Ontario in tax competitiveness. Even Canada’s territories have lower income taxes.

It’s time to make Ontario a leader again. To increase the size of Ontario’s paycheques and boost purchasing power, Ontario’s political parties should present a comprehensive plan to deliver on income tax relief. Ontario’s politicians should forget the election gimmicks and offer a clear path toward larger paycheques.

Jay Goldberg is the Ontario Director at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.


Some say the biggest question about Canadian politics in the 2022 new year is whether PM Trudeau will still be PM when the year is over.

Others — especially among Ontario residents — might point to the impact of the June 2, 2022 Ontario provincial election on Canadian federal politics.

Setting aside the unique position of the Bloc Québécois federally, Ontario and Canada have broadly similar political party systems.

In both cases there are Conservatives, Liberals, New Democrats, and Greens. And the Greens, while sometimes contributing effectively to the broader public debate, are only slightly represented in popularly elected parliaments.

P.J. Fournier’s latest 338Canada poll aggregations for Ontario (“Last update: November 24, 2021”) and Canada (“Last update: December 12, 2021”) suggest key similarities and differences between the provincial and federal party systems north of the Great Lakes.

Very broadly, at this moment in the early 2020s New Democrats are more strongly represented in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario than they are in the Canadian House of Commons.

And the fate of Andrea Horwath’s Ontario New Democrats on June 2 could be one channel of provincial election impact on Canadian federal politics in 2022.

In greater detail, in Ontario, 338Canada suggests, an election held late last month would give the Ford Conservatives 35% of the province-wide vote and 55 seats in a 124-seat Legislative Assembly —  for a perhaps short-lived Conservative minority government.

Meanwhile, the Del Duca Liberals would take 41 seats with 30% of the vote. The Horwath New Democrats would win 27 seats with 26%. And with 5% province-wide Mike Schreiner’s Greens would again take his one seat in Guelph.

The Trudeau Liberals won their own (second) minority government in the recent real-world Canadian federal election on September 20, 2021.

But 338Canada suggests that in a federal election held in the middle of December 2021 Liberals would do slightly better — and even win the barest of majority governments, with 170 seats in a 338-seat House (and 34% of the cross-Canada popular vote).

Meanwhile, the Erin O’Toole Conservatives would take 111 seats with 31% of the vote. Jagmeet Singh’s NDP would win 27 seats with 19% ; the BQ would take another 27 seats, all in Quebec of course; and the Greens would win 3 seats with 6% of the cross-Canada vote.

Broadly (again), in Ontario at the moment polls are suggesting close to equal popular support for Liberals (30%) and New Democrats (26%). And this suggests Conservatives can win at least minority governments with 35% of the popular vote.

Federally, Liberals (34%)  have considerably more support than New Democrats (19%). And this suggests Liberals can win at least minority governments with 34% of the popular vote.

There have been several strong federal Liberal minority governments in Canadian political history, led by the likes of Mackenzie King, Lester Pearson, and Pierre Trudeau. And Stephen Harper ran two long-lived federal Conservative minority governments in the more recent past.

In Ontario William Davis managed two stable Conservative minority governments long ago in the 1970s. But these seem more like potential models for the Trudeau Liberals in Ottawa today, than anything seriously relevant for the Ford Conservatives.

In one way or another Liberal minority governments in Ottawa have typically depended most on some ultimate support from New Democrats (and before them the old Progressives of the 1920s and 1930s), to remain in office for any length of time.

Yet, as matters stand in any case, which of Liberals, New Democrats, or Greens in 2022 would support a Ford Conservative minority government in Ontario for any time at all?

And what impact could struggles over this issue in a province with almost 40% of Canada’s population have on Canadian federal politics — and the Liberal minority government in Ottawa?

Finally, if the Ford Conservatives do win at least a minority government this coming June 2, largely just because votes for the opposition Liberals and New Democrats are almost equally divided, could that nonetheless strengthen the Conservative cause in Ottawa?

Or will another longstanding political tradition prevail? Often enough Ontario voters have liked to hedge their bets (and even boost their freedom, a little?) by voting for one party federally and another provincially.

Could this ultimately mean that any kind of  return of Ford Conservatives at Queen’s Park in 2022 will at least be good for the Trudeau Liberals, now greeting the new year on the banks of the Ottawa River?

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.