The Campaigner

Introducing Ontario's new premier: Doug Ford

After an intense, hard-fought election campaign, Doug Ford woke up this morning as incoming premier of Canada's largest province. Here's how things are looking on the first day of his incoming premiership and the last day of The Campaigner.

'I always keep my promises,' says the incoming premier

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his PC party won a majority government earlier this month, with Ford entering the most popular premier list at number three. (Patrick Morrell/CBC)

After an intense, hard-fought election campaign, Doug Ford woke up this morning as incoming premier of Canada's largest province. The transition of power will take place June 29.

In just 72 days, Ford took over a party reeling from the sudden departure of Patrick Brown and delivered a decisive win. Voter turnout was up too — 58 per cent, according to Elections Ontario versus 51 per cent in 2014.

Here's how things are looking on the first day of Doug Ford as incoming premier and the last day of The Campaigner.

The breakdown

Ford's PCs also won the popular vote, with 40.63 per cent, over the NDP's 33.69 per cent, the Liberal's 19.3 per cent and the Green's 4.62 per cent. Other candidates got 1.75 per cent.

It's an all-time low for the Liberals in terms of popular support — slipping below the 21.8 per cent they got in 1923 under leader Wellington Hay.

The Liberals dipped to their lowest popular vote ever Thursday, sitting around 19.3 per cent. The last record was set in 1923.

Get full results here.

Latest from the campaign

  • Ford promised to deliver the GTA and that's what he did
    • ​Our polling expert Eric Grenier takes a deep look at last night's results and explains how Ford's ability to secure key wins in suburban Toronto paved the way for his big win.  
  • 'Magic' of simple message, simple strategy led to Ford victory
    • Writer Mark Gollom explains how sticking with a simple, straightforward message helped Ford beat two Queen's Park veterans less that three months after taking over the leadership of a fractured party. 
  • What a Ford win means for Justin Trudeau
    • National affairs editor Chris Hall explores how Ford's election signals the arrival of a new dynamic in Canadian federal-provincial relations. While Kathleen Wynne and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were allies, Ford and Trudeau appear poised to collide on many policy fronts.

The moment

"And now the real work begins."

That's how incoming premier Doug Ford started his press conference this morning, his first media availability since his win last night. He spent it thanking voters, his PC candidates and his family — including his late brother Rob, who he credited his win with.

"The people out there have given me a clear mandate, a very clear mandate to govern," he said. 

Ford listed off his plans for the province, including fixing hydro, reducing taxes and creating more jobs. He also said he wants to put a quick end to the York University strike, now in its 13th week.

"What we say we're going to do, we're going to do. We're not going to flip-flop," he told reporters. "I always keep my promises."


No doubt the biggest win last night goes to the PCs, who picked up 76 seats and a majority — propelled by wins in rural Ontario and the suburbs of Toronto.

While party headquarters in Etobicoke looked fun, the real party was in Ottawa.

After 12 years in opposition, Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod — who's supported the party through many highs and lows — is now almost certain to be a cabinet pick. She'll be joined by 27-year-old Jeremy Roberts, a political staffer whose victory was confirmed at the 11th hour when the last two polls in the riding of Ottawa-West Nepean reported giving him a slim win over the NDP.

They may have lost there but the NDP made big gains last night, with pockets of orange now painting the province's most populous cities. It's their best result since Bob Rae's 1990 win. The win was particularly felt in London, where they took all three ​of the Forest City's urban ridings.

The NDP swept London’s urban ridings. From left to right, NDPers Peggy Sattler, Terence Kernaghan and Teresa Armstrong. (Colin Butler/CBC)

​The most noteworthy win came in London North Centre, where Terence Kernaghan, a Grade 6 teacher new to politics, won by more than 9,000 votes. He won in a riding held for 15 years by Deb Matthews, a Liberal stalwart who decided not to run this time.

Guelph made history last night, electing Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner, marking the first time a Green MPP has been elected to Queen's Park. Schreiner joins a small but mighty list of Greens elected provincially in British Columbia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Historic win for Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner in Guelph. 0:46


The Liberals tied for their worst ever seat result Thursday, winning just seven seats. They got the same result back in 1951.

Several high profile Liberals got turfed in the process: finance minister Charles Sousa was defeated by the PCs in Mississauga-Lakeshore, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi lost to the NDP in Ottawa Centre, while Bob Chiarelli, former Ottawa mayor, went down to the PCs in Ottawa West-Nepean.

Perhaps the biggest loss of all was felt in St. Catharines. Liberal Jim Bradley first won his seat there in 1977 and held it in 11 elections since; that's almost 41 years. 

He lost it Thursday, placing behind the NDP's Jennie Stevens and PCer Sandie Bellows. He's the second longest serving Ontario MPP of all time.

Liberal MPP Jim Bradley plants beach grass to restore natural beaches and sand dunes in Port Colborne, Ont. (Ontario Ministry of the Environment/Canadian Press)

The Pauper Party of Ontario earned the distinction of the party that got the least amount of votes — a mere 111, or 0.00 per cent of the popular vote. Carolyn Ritchie ran for the party in Haldimand—Norfolk, while leader John Turmel ran in Brantford-Brant. Turmel holds the Guinness record for the most elections run and the most elections lost.
But don't feel bad for him. He's already announced he's running to be Brantford's mayor in the municipal election this fall.

Where the leaders are

  • Ford: Media appearance at the Toronto Congress Centre in Etobicoke (11 a.m.)
  • Horwath: Media availability at Queen's Park, Toronto (12 noon)
  • Schreiner: Interview on CBC Radio's Morning Edition in Kitchener (6:50 a.m.), community events in Guelph (all day)
  • Wynne: News conference at Queen's Park (2 p.m.)

We tracked the leaders on the campaign trail. See where they stopped.

Just like campaigning, The Campaigner ends

This is the last edition of The Campaigner. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your support and feedback on our Ontario election newsletter. We really appreciate it.

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And thanks for getting political with us. 

— Victoria Valido and Haydn Watters

About the Author

Haydn Watters

Haydn Watters is a roving reporter for Ontario, primarily serving the province's local radio shows. He has worked for CBC News and CBC Radio in Halifax, Yellowknife, Ottawa and Toronto, with stints at the politics bureau and the entertainment unit. He also ran an experimental one-person pop-up bureau for the CBC in Barrie, Ont.

With files from Andrew Lupton