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Ontario Votes 2003

Election Day: Oct. 2, 2003   

 Overall Election Results
Party Elected Leading Total Pop. Vote %
LIB 72 0 72 46.45%
PC 24 0 24 34.64%
NDP 7 0 7 14.70%
OTH 0 0 0 4.21%
 Last Update Fri Oct 3 12:45:18 EDT 2003 103 seats

Tories toppled by Liberal landslide
Webposted Oct. 2, 2003

Eight years of Conservative rule ended in Ontario on Oct. 2, as voters swept away the last traces of the so-called Common Sense Revolution with a landslide victory for Dalton McGuinty's Liberal Party.

The Liberals won 72 of Ontario Legislature's 103 seats, leaving just 24 for the Conservatives and seven for the New Democrats.

When Ernie Eves called the election on Sept. 2, his governing Tories held 56 seats. The Liberals had 36 and the NDP had nine. One seat was vacant, and one was held by an independent.

Numerous Tory cabinet ministers went down to defeat, including such high-profile members as Health Minister Tony Clement and Finance Minister Janet Ecker.

Eves held on to his seat and said he would return to the Legislature to represent his Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey riding. He defied predictions that he would immediately resign the party leadership if the Tories lost, saying instead that he was committed to carrying on until the party had time to discuss its future.

Dalton McGuinty
   View Dalton McGuinty's victory
   speech (runs 19:12)
   REAL    WIN  Listen   QT  Listen  

Under McGuinty, the Liberals won nearly 47 per cent of the popular vote, a six-per-cent increase over 1999. The PCs lost roughly 10 percentage points, attracting 34 per cent.

"I'm humbled by the result," said McGuinty, who became the province's ninth Liberal premier and just the second since the end of the Second World War.

"[Ontario voters] have chosen more than just change," he added. "They have chosen something more profound. They have rejected a negative message and chosen a positive one."

Eves, a long-serving MPP and finance minister for two terms under former premier Mike Harris, graciously conceded defeat in his first campaign as Tory leader.

Ernie Eves
   View Ernie Eves' speech
   (runs 10:58)
   REAL    WIN  Listen   QT  Listen  

"While we have some fundamental differences, Mr. McGuinty and I, we both share a strong desire to make a difference for the fine people of this great province of Ontario," he said. "And as he becomes Ontario's 24th premier, I do wish him well."

He added a warning, however, that his party would hold the new government to account from the opposition benches.

While a number of polls had predicted a Tory defeat, the outcome had been far less clear for the third-ranked New Democrats.

Their seven-seat showing meant that leader Howard Hampton will return to Queen's Park with two fewer caucus members than he had when the campaign began.

It also means that the NDP has failed in the second consecutive election to win the number of seats needed to guarantee it official party status in the Legislature.

Howard Hampton
   View Howard Hampton's speech
   (runs 6:38)
   REAL    WIN  Listen   QT  Listen  

"It looks as if we won't have official party status, but frankly that's never bothered me before," said Hampton, vowing to continue to fight for health care and education and against deregulation and privatization.

But although he won in his Kenora-Rainy River riding, Hampton would not comment on his own future as party boss after the NDP's lacklustre showings in his two campaigns as leader.

He said he would consult his party and his wife, Nickel Belt MPP Shelley Martel, before deciding whether to stay on as leader.



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