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Progressive Conservatives Projected to Win Canada's Ontario Election

Progressive Conservatives Projected to Win Canada's Ontario Election
Doug Ford, center, a brother of late Rob Ford, greets supporters at an event to mark a celebration of Rob Ford's life at the Toronto Congress Centre in 2016 (AP)

Thursday, 07 June 2018 09:28 PM

The Progressive Conservative Party, led by populist Doug Ford, is on track to sweep to victory in Ontario, Canada's most populous province, ending 15 years of Liberal rule, Canadian networks projected on Thursday.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp projected that Ford's party would win the majority of seats in the provincial legislature, giving Ford broad powers to pass legislation.

The contest in Canada's industrial and manufacturing heartland was a fight between Ford and the left-leaning New Democratic Party after Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne, premier since 2013 and the first woman to lead the province, dropped to a distant third in opinion polls.

Ford, 53, is the brother of the late mayor of Toronto Rob Ford, who made international news in 2013 when he admitted to smoking crack cocaine.

Blunt and combative with the media, Ford has drawn comparisons with U.S. President Donald Trump, although like his rivals, Ford has tried to appeal to voters in the immigrant communities that sway elections in many Toronto suburbs.

With about a third of Canada's population of 36 million, Ontario is Canada's economic engine and home to its biggest city, Toronto. It has one of the largest sub-sovereign debts in the world, at nearly C$350 billion ($272 billion) in March.

"I'm expecting a Conservative majority, even though the popular vote total will be very close between them and the NDP," said Barry Kay, a professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, before the media projected a Ford victory.

He predicted the ruling Liberal Party could drop below the eight seats needed to be recognized as an official party in the province's legislature.

Most polling stations opened at 9 a.m. and closed at 9 p.m. (0100 GMT Friday). There were media reports of problems with tabulating machines at a handful of polls.

Elections Ontario, which also has the option of counting ballots by hand, extended voting at six polls, citing an "interruption to voting hours." As a result, four of the province's 124 electoral districts will report results late.

'UNTESTED'

The New Democrats, led since 2009 by Andrea Horwath, 55, surged ahead of Wynne's Liberals in polls in early May, winning strategic voters hoping to block a Ford government. They have not held power in Ontario since 1995.

Horwath was a city councillor in the steel industry city of Hamilton before becoming the first woman to lead her party.

Ford, who served on Toronto's city council when his brother was mayor, has spent much of his life running the family's label business.

"Both of them are untested. Neither have run a large department as a Cabinet minister, let alone a government," said Carleton University business professor Ian Lee, referring to Ford and Horwath. "I think that will give some cause for concern."

Ford has promised to lower taxes, spend C$5 billion on the subway in Toronto and cut some C$6 billion from the provincial budget without eliminating jobs. He has not released a fully costed platform, leaving bond investors unsure that he will be more fiscally prudent than the Liberals.

Horwath has promised to raise corporate taxes, return the Hydro One power utility to public ownership and create a province-wide drug and dental plan.

A final Ipsos opinion poll released on Wednesday had the PC party with 39 percent of the vote, the NDP with 36 percent and the Liberals with 19 percent, with a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. Ipsos said Ford's PC party would likely win power with a majority of seats in the province's legislature.

© 2021 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


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The Progressive Conservative Party, led by populist Doug Ford, is on track to take control of Ontario, Canada's most populous province, ending 15 years of Liberal rule, Canadian networks projected on Thursday.Ford is the brother of the late Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who made...
doug ford, progressives, win, canada, polls, ontario
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2018-28-07
Thursday, 07 June 2018 09:28 PM
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