It simply did not add up and a smart electorate rejected it.
Tim Hudak campaigned on false claims of job creation and threats to cut hundreds of thousands of jobs. But the day belonged to the numerate electorate that voted for Liberals who promised investments in infrastructure to set the province on the path to prosperity.
Liberals are returning to Queen's Park with a majority government. This provides Liberals the opportunity to implement their plans as they outlined in the May budget. It will be a colossal mistake for Liberals to take this massive mandate for granted. They have to run a clean government that delivers on jobs, grows the economy, and reverses budget deficits sooner than later.
Only a few weeks ago, Liberals were furious with the NDP's leader Andrea Horwath for voting down a budget that was aligned more with the NDP ideals than that of the Liberals'. Today, the Liberals should thank Ms. Horwath for giving them the opportunity to form the majority government. No longer do the Liberals need to plead with the NDP or others to do the right thing, i.e., to secure the future of Ontarians by investing in the province's infrastructure.
The Liberal victory is a godsend for Kathleen Wynne. She came to the premier's office without the opportunity to lead her team in an election to a victory. That changed last night. By running a campaign that returned a Liberal majority, Kathleen Wynne has earned the right to lead the Liberals and hold the Premier's office. No longer does she need to suffer for the mistakes of her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, whose last couple of years in the government attracted significant controversy.
It is also a landmark moment for Ontario: In Kathleen Wynne, Ontario elected its first ever woman premier.
The biggest loser in this election is not the Hudak Conservatives, but the NDP. Had Ms. Horwath not defeated the May budget and triggered this election, she would have kept the minority Liberals hostage to her dictates. While the NDP is set to gain an additional seat in these elections, it has lost all legislative power it enjoyed only a few weeks ago. Hardly a success by any measure.
Tim Hudak's Conservatives ran a far right Tea Partish campaign that took comfort and strength in ideology, flawed as it may be, and not in rationality. Not only was their million job plan off by a million, but they were also deficient in appreciating a multicultural province that cherishes diversity in all its manifestations. In the 2011 elections, Tim Hudak attacked businesses who received government funding for employing new immigrants. He called immigrants 'foreign workers' while running a divisive campaign. He ran even a more divisive campaign this time around that targeted teachers and public servants of this great province. By stepping down as the Leader of the PC Party, he is a doing favour to himself and to the Conservatives.
The Conservatives base perhaps will take the time to absorb the verdict from the electorate. An overnight turnaround is neither possible nor expected. Ralph Lean, a Conservative lawyer, despite the electoral loss, repeated the same flawed arguments that led to the Party's defeat. "We are in worse shape than California," he commented last night on TV referring to Ontario's per capita debt being larger than that of California. What the Conservatives failed to inform the Ontarians is the fact that the State government in California invests significantly less in human development than Ontario does. In fact, the federal government in the US spends more in California than the State government. Ontario's larger per capita deficit is merely an artefact of the fact that the province is responsible for far more than the State government in California.
The June 12 elections have delivered Ontario from the political gridlock that prevented the Liberal minority government from governing. Now is the time to deliver the Ontarians from the traffic gridlock by investing in transport infrastructure and from the productivity gridlock by investing in education, health, and economic development. Ms. Wynne has won the mandate. She should now deliver on it.
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