Tag Archives: Dalton McGuinty

Ontario Liberals win third straight term in office

By Claire Sibonney | Reuters

TORONTO (Reuters) – Ontario Liberals scored a third straight victory in a provincial election in Canada’s economic center on Thursday, but fell one seat short of a majority and will need support from opposition legislators to stay in power.

The Liberals won 53 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario after a late surge in a campaign in which polls showed they started in a weak second place. The election numbers were not yet official and many individual races were very close.

This will be the first minority government in the province since the mid-1980s.

The Progressive Conservatives scooped up 37 seats while the left-leaning New Democrats were ahead in 17.

The Liberals’ took most of the seats in urban centers including the financial capital of Toronto, while the Conservatives dominated the province’s rural areas.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, now heading for his third straight term in office, campaigned on a message of a “steady hand at the tiller” in difficult times.

McGuinty highlighted his track record of steering the province, Canada’s manufacturing powerhouse, through recession with no major spending cuts.

Ontario, with a population of more than 13 million, is Canada’s most populous province. Its export-oriented economy accounts for about 40 percent of the national gross domestic product.

The Liberals lost a total of 17 seats in the election, with the Conservatives picking up 12 and the New Democrats gaining seven. There were two vacancies going into the vote.

Fifty-four seats is the slimmest possible majority for the Liberals. Being one seat short of a majority means the Liberals will need to cooperate with opposition legislators to push through their agenda.

The two opposition parties can join forces to vote them out, either by rejecting major legislation or by passing a vote of no confidence.

‘PREMIER DAD’

The race began with a call for change over public frustration with the rising debt, taxes, electricity bills and spending scandals. In the end, voters decided that boring is sometimes best with a stable McGuinty dubbed “Premier Dad.”

“It’s important that we be sober minded about the message Ontarians have sent us tonight,” McGuinty said in a bittersweet speech before a cheering crowd in Ottawa.

“Ontarians said to us, ‘We are placing our trust in you but we expect you to work even harder, listen more than ever and give us nothing but your best every day. But most of all we demand that you lead.'”

During the campaign, the Liberals promised more money for their priorities of healthcare and education.

They say they can rein in a C$16 billion deficit and ween the province off its dependency on the auto sector by investing heavily in renewable energy.

Tim Hudak, leader of the Progressive Conservatives, saw his lead disappear in the final weeks of the campaign as he scrambled to connect with voters on a platform that looked very similar to that of the Liberals, albeit with some promises to lower taxes and curb spending.

“It is very clear that the people of Ontario have put Dalton McGuinty on a much shorter leash,” Hudak told supporters at his campaign headquarters in Niagara Falls.

A vow to scrap Ontario’s C$7 billion green energy deal with South Korea’s Samsung and end above-market prices for renewable power were the party’s only big policy difference with the Liberals.

Negative media play about right-wing crime and punishment ideas and moves deemed anti-immigrant and homophobic also did the Conservatives few favors.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/liberals-head-ontario-win-maybe-not-majority-report-020157505.html


And Ford takes the race

Ford next Toronto mayor, defeats Smitherman

By Maria Babbage, The Canadian Press

TORONTO -Right-wing juggernaut Rob Ford will take the top job in Canada’s most populous city, defeating former deputy premier George Smitherman in a bitter, 10-month race to become Toronto’s next mayor.

With 99 per cent of Toronto polls reporting Monday night, Ford took 47 per cent of the vote, compared to Smitherman’s 35 per cent and deputy mayor Joe Pantalone‘s 12 per cent.

Smitherman was considered an early favourite to win, but couldn’t compete against Ford, a scrappy city councillor who tapped into a potent well of voter fury with his promises to cut taxes and kill big spending at city hall.

“This victory is a clear call from the taxpayers, enough is enough,” Ford told cheering supporters. “The party with taxpayers’ money is over. We will respect the taxpayers again, and yes ladies and gentlemen we will stop the gravy train once and for all.”

The polarizing Toronto race was marred by ugly incidents, including homophobic ads targeting the openly gay Smitherman, and a newspaper article — later pulled from the Globe and Mail website — that took a shot at Ford’s weight.

His win is likely to send shockwaves all the way to Premier Dalton McGuinty‘s office. Many experts have predicted that a Ford victory could herald a Conservative sweep in next fall’s Ontario election. A grinning Mike Harris, Ontario’s former Conservative premier, called on both the provincial and federal governments to work with Toronto’s mayor-elect.

“It’s a good opportunity for Rob to reach out, for council to reach out to him, for the provincial-federal government to reach out to him, listen to what the voters of Toronto said and help him deliver,” Harris told TV station CP24 at Ford’s victory party.

After two terms of majority rule, recent polls suggest that McGuinty’s popularity is waning amid voter concerns with pocketbook issues, such as rising electricity bills and his controversial introduction of the harmonized sales tax. That may have played into the Toronto race, given Smitherman’s reputation as McGuinty’s former right-hand man and top enforcer.

“Differences aside, as a Torontonian who loves my city, I hope for your success Rob,” an emotional Smitherman told his supporters. “Toronto is too important, there are no boos tonight.”

Pantalone — the left-wing candidate endorsed by outgoing Mayor David Miller — was curt in his reaction to the night’s stunning outcome. “The people of Toronto have spoken and democracy is beautiful,” Pantalone said.

The night also saw Mike Layton, son of federal NDP Leader Jack Layton, walk in his father’s footsteps as he won Pantalone’s Trinity-Spadina ward — the same neighbourhood stepmother Olivia Chow represents federally. Meanwhile in Ottawa, another former provincial cabinet minister — Jim Watson — easily won the mayor’s race against businessman-turned-politician Larry O’Brien, in a race dominated by transit and urban development issues.

Watson, who served as the city’s mayor before a successful foray into provincial politics, took 49 per cent of the vote with nearly 98 per cent all polls reporting. Conservative incumbent O’Brien had 24 per cent.

Earlier this month, O’Brien made a startling admission that his first two years as mayor were a “disaster,” but implored voters to give him a second chance. His rocky term as mayor of Canada’s capital included allegations of influence peddling that forced him to step down temporarily as the matter went to trial. He resumed his duties after being acquitted.

By contrast, the race just west of the city in Mississauga has been decidedly uneventful, where voters simply watched to see how well 89-year-old Mayor Hazel McCallion performed in her 12th election campaign. “Hurricane” Hazel typically doesn’t campaign, put up signs or buy political ads. Her 31-year tenure as mayor is considered to be so rock solid, but a conflict-of-interest scandal appeared to put a dent in the 90 per cent voter support she’s known to command. With more than three-quarters of polls reporting Monday, McCallion had 76 per cent of the vote — a decisive victory for any politician but not the numbers of old.

In Vaughan, ex-Liberal MP Maurizio Bevilacqua took the mayor’s seat from incumbent Linda Jackson, who is headed to court to face Municipal Elections Act charges.

Other interesting races include London, where former Liberal MP Joe Fontana was in a tight race to keep long-standing Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best from winning a fourth term. In all, there were 444 municipal votes in Ontario.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/101025/national/ontario_elections