Toronto·The Campaigner

Horwath writes off Wynne: The choice is Doug Ford or me

The long weekend is here, but it's no holiday for some of the leaders as they continue to campaign across the province.

Kathleen Wynne takes a day off, but that doesn't mean she's gone quiet

NDP leader Andrea Horwath speaks to reporters in Thunder Bay on May 19. (CBC)

The long weekend is here, but it's no holiday for some of the leaders as they continue to campaign across the province. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is still on her tour of Northern Ontario, with stops in Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie. PC Leader Doug Ford is visiting a brewer in Baysville and a beer festival in Huntsville. Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne is taking today off, but her campaign co-chair Deb Matthews spoke to reporters this afternoon at the Liberal party headquarters in Toronto about the 407 data breach. 

Here's where we are on day 11 of the campaign

Latest from the campaign ​​

The moment

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath speaks to reporters outside a Thunder Bay hospital during the Victoria Day long weekend. 0:24

Andrea Horwath made it clear this morning where she thinks voters stand at this point in the campaign. 

"The people of Ontario seem to have already decided that Wynne and the Liberals will not be forming the next government, so people have a choice between Doug Ford and I," Horwath said in Thunder Bay.

Horwath may be writing off Kathleen Wynne on the day the Liberal leader decided to not campaign, but Wynne hasn't gone totally quiet. 

She sent out a statement this morning pushing the Tories to call for an OPP investigation into the nomination practices of the party. This comes after the resignation of the party's candidate in Brampton East, who's alleged to be linked to the theft of data from 407 toll highway.

When Ford was questioned on this by reporters in Baysville, he put the blame on Patrick Brown. 

PC Leader Doug Ford makes a campaign stop at Lake of Bays Brewing Co. in Baysville on May 19. (CBC)

"I was elected to be leader of this party 71 days ago. Seventy-one days ago, I was elected to come in and clean up the mess that I've cleaned up. This goes back to Patrick Brown. You want to get answers on this? Patrick Brown was the leader under this whole group of people," Ford said.

Poll tracker

This is the latest data from the Ontario poll tracker, the first update since May 14. The PCs continue to hold the lead position, but the gap between them and the NDP has narrowed to 11 percentage points. 

Dispatch from the road:

On the NDP campaign bus in the north, by Chris Glover

"We had over 100 people in Barrie!" 

That comment about Barrie came from the NDP team while fielding a question about their  momentum this weekend. 

Maybe they are fabulous actors, but they seemed bewildered by the response they were seeing at stops along the campaign trail in towns usually considered out of reach for the NDP.

In Kenora and Kiiwetinoong, the NDP are in their element. They've won ridings in northwestern Ontario for decades, by big margins. 

And yet, Kenora was the closest to a misstep I've seen for the NDP so far. 

The NDP candidate in Kenora Glen Archer is a corrections officer and a rookie politician. He's learning about how past comments can come back to haunt you. 

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, left, with NDP Rainy-River candidate Glen Archer, right in Kenora, Ont., on Friday. Horwath said Friday that she has accepted Archer's apology for resurfaced Facebook posts that said the premier 'should be in prison' (Chris Glover/CBC)

On Facebook, he's said Kathleen Wynne "should be in prison" and that his favourite quote is "if I wanted your opinion, I'd beat it out of you." 

Horwath had to wear these comments and, despite Archer's public apology, she had to make apologies for him. Not ideal for a party trying to make huge gains in a general election. 

Riding to watch

Brampton East, population 122,000, profile by Lucas Powers

Conventional wisdom dictates that elections in Ontario are won and lost in the 905, and there may be no more compelling microcosm of the region than Brampton East.

A diverse area developing at a staggering rate, Brampton East will be contested for the first time this year.  While it's mostly considered a two-horse race between the NDP and Liberals, it was the former PC candidate in the riding who made headlines this week.

Simmer Sandhu resigned his candidacy after it was revealed that his former employer, 407 ETR, was probing an "internal theft" of data that affected some 60,000 customers. He was quickly replaced with another candidate.

Brampton East was created in 2015 from two others, including Bramalea-Gore-Malton, which was held by former MPP and current federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh until last year.

Singh's younger brother, Gurratan Singh — himself a telegenic lawyer — is running beneath the NDP's banner. It will be an interesting test of the NDP's attempt to cultivate enduring appeal in the riding, which under the elder Singh was the party's sole presence in the suburban GTA.

But it's clear that the Liberals see the riding as a chance to make up ground in the 905 that may be lost elsewhere.

The Grits are fielding a candidate with an undeniably high profile in Brampton East's considerable Sikh community. Parminder Singh is an emergency room doctor and the founding host of CBC's former Hockey Night in Canada in Punjabi broadcast.

Follow the leaders

We've been tracking the leaders as they zig-zag through Ontario. You can see where they have travelled on this interactive map.

Where the leaders are

Ford: Tour of Lake of Bays Brewing Company (11 a.m.), tour of Huntsville Beer Festival (12:15 p.m.)
Horwath: Visit to hospital in Thunder Bay (9:30 a.m.), visit to Thunder Bay Country Market (10 a.m.), event in Sault Ste. Marie (3:30 p.m.) 
Schreiner: Guelph Farmer's Market (8:30-9:30 a.m.), visit events in Guelph (10 a.m.-6 p.m.) meet and greet The Wooly Pub in Guelph (8:30 p.m.-10 p.m.)
Wynne: Day off 

Subscribe to our The Campaigner newsletter

Like what you just read? You can now get The Campaigner delivered directly to your inbox. Sign up here to subscribe.

For more Ontario election coverage

Ontario Poll Tracker | Get the latest projections here
Vote Compass | See how your views compare with the parties' platforms
Complete election coverage | Links to all our stories
Help CBC track political ads on Facebook | Learn how here

About the Author

Victoria is a producer, writer and editor for CBC Toronto. She has written and produced countless local TV newscasts and chase produced for CBC Radio One's Metro Morning and Here and Now. She currently is a writer and social video editor for CBC Toronto's Facebook page.