The Sunday Magazine

How Ford Nation and buck-a-beer populism carried Doug Ford to victory

The Globe's John Ibbitson, Robert Fisher, who has been covering Ontario elections since 1981, and the Toronto Star's Kristin Rushowy join Michael for an Ontario election postmortem.
An Ontario PC supporter holds a sign that says "HELP IS ON THE WAY" after the PC's reached a majority in the Ontario provincial election at the Doug Ford election night headquarters on June 7, 2018. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford rode an anti-government campaign to the doorstep of the second-largest government in the country. He will be the 26th premier of Ontario.

His populist message resonated with voters who were unhappy with the provincial Liberals. Ford promised "buck a beer," ten cents off a litre of gas and major tax cuts. He also promised to cut government spending by $6 billion but didn't say how.

The New Democratic Party has become the official opposition in an election that decimated the provincial Liberals, led by the outgoing premier Kathleen Wynne.

It is unusual for a provincial election campaign to garner so much attention across the country and even in the U.S. It happened because Doug Ford was described by many as "Trump North," because of his populist platform and because of the international infamy of his brother, the late Toronto mayor Rob Ford.

From L to R: Andrea Horwath, NDP Leader. Doug Ford, PC Party Leader. Kathleen Wynne, Liberal Party Leader. Mike Schreiner, Green Party Leader. (David Donnelly/CBC)

The Sunday Edition invited three guests to discuss the impact of this extraordinary election and what it might signal about shifting political winds in this country. 

Robert Fisher is a veteran Queen's Park reporter who has covered every Ontario provincial campaign since 1981 when Bill Davis was elected as premier. He retired from the CBC three years ago and is now a freelancer.  

Kristin Rushowy has been covering all the leadership candidates during this race for the Toronto Star.

John Ibbitson, a political writer and columnist for The Globe and Mail, joins the discussion from Ottawa.

Click 'listen' at the top of the page to hear the full panel discussion.