Wynne pinpoints the moment she realized she couldn't win

Kathleen Wynne came into this year's Ontario election campaign swinging, but after months of sagging poll numbers, has opted to admit defeat in hopes of getting out of the way of local Liberal candidates.

After admitting defeat over the weekend, Ontario's Liberal leader told CBC about when she realized it was over

Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne spoke with CBC's Metro Morning on Monday about her admission of defeat ahead of Ontario's election. (CBC)

Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne says she can pinpoint the moment she realized she wouldn't have a chance of winning the Ontario election. 

It was just after the final leaders' debate, held at CBC's Toronto headquarters on May 27. 

'It's a stunningly selfless act,' says her campaign co-chair David Herle on Power & Politics. 7:38
"I think I did pretty well in the debate," she said during an interview on Metro Morning on Monday. "But once the debate was over, we didn't see the numbers move." 

Those discouraging poll numbers, showing the Liberals trailing far behind the Progressive Conservatives and NDP for Thursday's vote, "meant that we needed to be honest with people that we're not going to be the government," she said. 

Then came Saturday's emotional announcement, when Wynne acknowledged she would not return as premier. 

So what does that mean for Liberal candidates? 

Disputing the idea that she was throwing them under the bus or giving Ontarians tacit permission to vote for the NDP, Wynne said Monday she made Saturday's announcement because she "needed to get myself out of the way." 

"What I've said to them is, 'Look, this is going to help you in your ridings,'" she said. ​

Paving the way for a PC majority?

Wynne said voters are expressing anxiety at the prospect of an NDP or PC government, but that "there is another way."  

"Here's what I know: the more Liberals we can elect, the more chance there won't be an NDP or Conservative majority," she said. 

But an hour after Wynne appeared on Metro Morning, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath came out swinging, charging Wynne with asking Ontarians to play a "risky game" that could put the Progressive Conservatives in power. 

Poll averages according to CBC's poll tracker on June 4, 2018. (CBC)

"I just fear that if people don't think about what she's asking, which is basically to likely put Doug Ford in the premier's chair, then we could be in a serious situation," Horwath told Metro Morning host Matt Galloway, calling Wynne's announcement both surprising and "disappointing."  

CBC's poll tracker indicates the NDP has a narrow lead over the PC Party, but continues to favour Ford's party to win a majority government due to a better regional distribution of votes. 

Wynne still wants to be an MPP 

Until this weekend's admission, Wynne had been defiant in the face of daunting poll numbers that suggest the Liberal Party could lose official party status after the vote. In Ontario, parties need at least eight seats to be formally recognized.

On Monday, Wynne reaffirmed that regardless of how her party fares on election day, she would like to continue to serve in Don Valley West, where she was first elected as MPP in 2003. 

"This is the community that I love," she told Galloway. "I want to continue to represent them." 

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With files from Metro Morning