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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.

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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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.

Does the Green Party receive more media attention than it truly warrants? Yes and no.

If you’re looking at the Green (or environmental) movement, it’s part of a larger entity that concerns many Canadians. There have been Green politicians in municipal politics. The Greens are the official opposition party in Prince Edward Island, and there are Green representatives in the B.C., New Brunswick and Ontario legislatures.

The bigger issue is the federal Greens. Founded in 1983, it’s a small, somewhat fringe outfit that’s achieved little electoral success in the House of Commons.

Here’s the short list (and it’s very short).

The first Green MP was Blair Wilson. He was elected in the B.C. riding of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country in 2006 as a Liberal. Wilson left the party amidst allegations of financial issues, although most were eventually dismissed. He sat as a Liberal without caucus between October 2007-January 2008, shifted to an Independent and finally crossed the floor to the Greens on Aug. 30, 2008. Parliament had already been dissolved, so he never technically sat as a Green. He finished fourth out of four candidates in his bid for re-election in 2008, and hasn’t run again.

Elizabeth May, who led the party from 2006-2019, has been the Greens’ most successful and visible political representative. She became Canada’s first elected Green Party MP in the House of Commons after defeating then-Conservative cabinet minister Gary Lunn (46.33-35.66%) to win the B.C. riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands in 2011. She was re-elected in 2015, 2019 and 2021, participated in several leaders’ debates, and is generally perceived as the face of the party.

Only three other Green politicians have been elected to Parliament: New Brunswick’s Jenica Atwin in 2019 (who crossed the floor to the Liberals in 2021 and was re-elected), B.C.’s Paul Manly in 2019 (who lost his bid for re-election in 2021) and Ontario’s Mike Morrice in 2021. If you want to throw in former New Democrat Bruce Hyer, who crossed the floor and sat as a Green MP from 2013-2015 before losing his seat, and former New Democrat Pierre Nantel, who sat as an Independent in 2019, announced he would run as a Green and lost, be my guest.

That’s it, folks.

Why does the media pay so much attention to the federal Greens? It’s largely because of the bizarre, circus-like atmosphere that’s existed between the party and its outgoing leader, Annamie Paul.

Paul was elected as Canada’s first Black and Jewish female party leader on Oct. 3, 2020 after beating Dimitri Lascaris on the eighth ballot. What should have been a euphoric moment for this left-leaning party has been a complete disaster.

The BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, as well as Israel and the Middle East, turned into huge political battlegrounds for Green politicians, supporters and the party leader. Manly spoke out against the potential removal of Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem as “ethnic cleansing.” Atwin then turned up the heat when she described Paul’s call for de-escalation of the Israel-Palestine conflict as “totally inadequate,” and wrote that “Forced Evictions must end!” and “I stand with Palestine and condemn the unthinkable air strikes in Gaza. End Apartheid!”

Tensions grew between Atwin and Paul, leading to the former’s defection to the Liberals. The party cut funding for Paul’s campaign in the riding of Toronto Centre. Several party executives resigned in disgust, including May’s husband, John Kidder. Leadership reviews against Paul were announced, dates were set and things cooled off. The Greens, along with the Green Party Fund, filed a legal application in the Superior Court of Justice for Ontario against the arbitrator who brought down one of the non-confidence motions and leadership reviews. Paul countersued for compensation for costs incurred in these legal matters.

When Paul announced on Sept. 27 she would step down within two weeks, it appeared the circus was finally going to leave town.

That’s not been the case. The two legal matters have held up Paul’s departure date, which was supposed to have happened last week. On Tuesday, the Greens announced that half their staff, or 10 employees, would be temporarily laid off to cut costs and stop the party’s financial bleeding.

What a mess. It’s unlike anything ever witnessed in Canadian politics.

Many prominent Greens are frustrated by the infantile behaviour of its federal wing. Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner, who sits as an MPP, is one of them. “We are deeply disappointed by Annamie Paul’s painful experience as leader of the Green Party of Canada,” he co-wrote in an Oct. 8 statement with deputy leaders Dianne Saxe and Abhijeet Manay, and they “earnestly hope that the federal party finds a way to rebuild and refocus on its key goals, especially the urgent commitment to planetary health that our two parties share.”

How will this end? The Greens will either give their heads a serious shake and clean up their political house, or Green politicians, party donors and supporters could abandon ship. It would be interesting if the mass exodus led to the creation of a new party called, say, the Environmental Party of Canada – and they nominated Paul as its first leader.

If that happened, the media would be hard-pressed to ignore the Greens once more.

Michael Taube, a columnist for Troy Media and Loonie Politics, was a speechwriter for former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper.

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.

The unusually short October 4 Ontario throne speech didn’t say much. For Green Party leader Mike Schreiner it “had to be one of the most uninspiring throne speeches I’ve ever heard.”

The slender document made more sense, however, as the opening salvo in an as yet informal Ontario election campaign, culminating eight months from now on June 2, 2022.

By October 8 the launch of TV ads by both the Ford PCs and Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats had stiffened this reading of the October 4 speech.

It also suggested that the 2022 Ontario election will have an effectively American-style long campaign, starting early in the fourth quarter of 2021.

There were signs that the Ford government’s address on its near-future plans had been put together hastily as well.

The remarks read to the Legislative Assembly by Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell, for example, highlighted the government’s response to the pandemic over the past 18 months. And they praised the parallel role of  a broader “Ontario spirit” — defined by “Strength. Determination. Compassion. Generosity. Grit.”

But are the Tory speech-writers aware that one key meaning of “Grit” in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary is : “In Canadian politics a Radical or Liberal”? Is this why Steven Del Duca’s spirited Ontario Liberals are now calling themselves “True Grit”?

The Lieutenant Governor’s talk did put forward at least one new thing.

Unlike the Ford government’s first throne speech of July 12, 2018, the 2021 edition begins by “acknowledging that we are all on lands traditionally occupied by Indigenous Peoples.”

At the same time, the Doug Ford Conservative version of this kind of acknowledgement has evolved from the simpler practice begun by Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals. It is somewhat more complex and historically accurate. The capital city region’s deep past has involved “many Indigenous nations.”

On October 4, 2021 the Lieutenant Governor also acknowledged that “we are meeting in the area covered by Treaty 13, also known as the Toronto Purchase.” And the reminder that (in Ontario at any rate) the lands “traditionally occupied by Indigenous Peoples” were ultimately “purchased” arguably delivers a particular conservative message about Indigenous rights.

Yet again the 2021 throne speech is just a hasty beginning for the long 2022 election campaign. It was quite unusually given at 9 AM in the morning — so Premier Ford and four cabinet ministers could fly to Timmins in the northeastern Ontario mining country in the afternoon.

The trip was meant to spark the local Ontario election campaign of the current Mayor of Timmins (a retired mining executive). He is hoping to take a longstanding safe NDP seat in the great north for the PCs, on June 2, 2022.

The day after the throne speech the Ontario PCs launched a “pre-election advertising blitz,” promoting Premier Doug Ford as another big spender in the midst of the pandemic, not unlike PM Justin Trudeau.

The almost two-thirds of all Ontario seats the Trudeau Liberals won in the recent federal election do seem to be weighing on the PC mind. Premier Ford wants some people of Ontario who voted Liberal federally in 2021 to vote for him provincially in 2022.

Meanwhile, the provincial Financial Accountability Office has published data which illustrate further strands in the premier’s latest intermittent jabs at just getting along with the re-elected Liberal minority government in Ottawa.

The FAO reports that $170.3 billion has so far been spent on COVID support in Ontario. As much as 85% of this sum came from the federal government. Only 15% came from the province.

In the end marketing Doug Ford as more of an old-school progressive conservative than he really is has been an intermittent feature of Ontario PC thought, since the premier abandoned his hard-right populist incarnation from the 2018 throne speech in the summer of 2019.

The fixed-date election day on June 2, 2022 is still eight long months away.

Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats are apparently strong financially. They say they will match PC TV advertising, dollar for dollar.

Steven Del Duca’s Liberals have had some recent success getting media attention.

Yet the struggle between New Democrats and Liberals to define a winning progressive alternative could still prove a great gift to Conservatives this coming June 2.

It is of course far too early to tell. But as the Ontario political universe looks right now, Premier Ford could stand a better chance of winning the next election than he may actually deserve.

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.