Final stretch in Ontario election has polls seeing orange

With only 10 days remaining in the fight to run Ontario, political watchers recap the unorthodox election and react to how Sunday's leaders debate plays into the endgame.

'Cakewalk' that began for Tories now a slippery slope downhill, says political reporter

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford, centre, speaks as Ontario Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne, left, and Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath look on during the third and final televised debate of the provincial election campaign in Toronto, May 27. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)
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When the writ dropped on May 8, it looked as if Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford was set to paint the province blue after 15 years of Liberal red in this year's election. But now polls suggest Premier Kathleen Wynne's strongest opponent is NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

Multiple polls are showing an NDP surge that could make Ontario orange for second time in its history if they win a majority on June 7.

"It was supposed to be a cakewalk for the Tories," the Globe and Mail's Ontario politics reporter Justin Giovannetti toldThe Current's Anna Maria Tremonti, pointing to Ford's numbers continuously sliding in the polls throughout the election.

Ten days before voting day, the Ontario leaders had a "tough debate" on Sunday, Giovannetti said, but added it wasn't enough to change the tide.

"It seems like Kathleen Wynne may have had a fairly good debate but I don't know if she pulled off a miracle and that's kind of what it seems like she would need at this point," Giovannetti explained.

This is the Ontario leaders' debate in 90 seconds, the third and final debate ahead of the June 7 election. 1:32

He suggested Ford's contradictory message during the leaders' debate may continue to drag his numbers down.

"Last night onstage he said at one point that he doesn't like politicians," Giovannetti said. "And then in the same debate he also said though, he's the only one with a proven track record to deliver as a politician."

What makes Horwath stand out as a candidate and leader, according to Giovannetti, is simple — she's not marked like her opponents.

"I don't think we have to overthink it," he said. "You've got ... the Liberal leader who's unpopular, you've got the PC leader who's divisive — well, people are going to look at the third option."

For a deeper dive into the Ontario election and Sunday's leader debate, Anna Maria Tremonti was joined by three keen political watchers:

  • Lorne Brooker, host of the Lorne Brooker show at CJBQ Radio in Belleville.
  • Erin Gee, co-host of the feminist political podcast Bad + Bitchy.
  • Christo Aivalis, a social sciences and research council postdoctoral fellow in the University of Toronto's department of history.
Voters are really frustrated with politicians and politics, says talk-show radio host Lorne Brooker. 0:56

Listen to the full conversation near the top of this page.


This segment was produced by The Current's Ines Colabrese and Kristian Jebsen.

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