Ontario election

Only Liberal voters can stop Ford now

In deadlocked contest, traditional Liberal supporters will decide Ontario’s next premier
Photo: HiMY SYeD

The polls are clear as mud. Pollara-Macleans, EKOS and Leger are all reporting a deadlocked race between the NDP and Doug Ford’s PCs in Ontario. The PC vote is more efficient, meaning their support is higher is rural areas where fewer votes can capture seats, but the NDP have the momentum, as Ford limps to the finish line hounded by scandal.

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Tomorrow’s Ontario election will turn on one factor alone: Liberal support. Last Saturday, premier Kathleen Wynne conceded the election, admitting that she could not win. Now the $64,000 question is whether Liberal voters will heed her self-serving plea to vote for her party anyway.

Quito Maggi, president of Mainstreet Research, told me this morning on Twitter they “saw a Liberal bump last night” but are still 50/50 on whether to update their numbers later today. Their last report had the PCs with a small lead.

A Liberal bump would be bad news for Ontarians who don’t want to wake up to a Doug Ford government on Friday. Current seat projections show that the NDP need to beat the PCs by two to four points in the popular vote to have a chance at government. To do that, they’ll need Liberal supporters.

John Corbett, a retired pollster and self-described "life-long Liberal, who has voted Liberal in every election since 1972" argued on Twitter yesterday that "There is no 'strategic' Liberal vote left. That time has passed. A vote share of even 20% or 21% could result in three or fewer seats, possibly none. Two thirds of the voters in this province would rather eat worms than vote for Doug. Make sure you all vote NDP."

"If everyone concentrates their vote on the NDP," Corbett continued, "we'll see a "wave" election, which sweeps all in front of it, but doesn't lift any other boats. Every Liberal vote is a wasted vote, and I say this as a committed liberal and a professional pollster."

Frank Graves, president of Ekos Research, tweeted today that "Barring some shocking late shift or turnout skew this is going to be a Conservative majority." That late shift would be from the Liberals to the NDP, and you can help make it happen.

It’s time to stop Ford

In 2016, the United States faced a sharp fork in the road. In an election that might have been won by a septuagenarian socialist if a few things had gone differently, they elected an orange-hued self-promoter come right-wing populist. It hasn’t worked out well for them.

Ontario now faces such a stark choice. Staggeringly, over one quarter of Doug Ford’s PC candidates are currently facing lawsuits, probes and police investigations relating to a wide variety of alleged misconduct and malfeasance. The rot starts at the top, where Ford gleefully presides over this three-ring circus of chaos.

No platform nor plan shall cramp the style of this self-described man of the people. He’s bringing buck a beer back! Never mind that he’ll cancel the minimum wage hike, introduce a tax cut that’s $18 for most Ontarians, but over $1,000 for the richest and cut public services to the bone.

But there’s worse simmering under the surface. As Ricochet has reported, Canada’s foremost white supremacists are gleeful at the prospect of a Ford win. They think that, like Trump, he will give people permission to be racist again. As Bernie Farber, former CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, wrote on Twitter this morning: “If white supremacists want Doug Ford for premier, then we shouldn’t.”

But I don’t need to tell you why a Doug Ford win would be a disaster for Ontario. What you need to know is how to stop it.

This is not a partisan election

Liberal party insiders have made clear that they would prefer a Doug Ford win. Four years of chaos, after which they stand a good chance of returning to power. The NDP, they fear, could stay in power for a decade if elected.

I suspect rank-and-file Liberal supporters may feel differently about ushering in a catastrophe for the province all to improve the Liberal Party of Ontario’s long-term prospects.

But most pollsters and analysts now acknowledge that the only path to an NDP victory lies in a last-minute swing by Liberal voters, so it’s up to you now red team.

This election can’t be about partisanship, and old grudges between parties traditionally fighting for the same swathes of voters. It has to be about the public interest, and it is crystal clear that a Doug Ford government is not in the public interest.

You have a choice tomorrow Ontario, and it’s this simple: Do you want Doug Ford to be your premier?

If the answer to that question is no, then you need to vote for the NDP. Even if you don’t like them, and even if you still like to complain about Bob Rae. Their platform builds on the Liberal record, and their policy aims are not dissimilar to yours. By contrast Ford, like Trump, will seek to blow up every program or accomplishment tied to his predecessor.

Fight to the end

But voting may not be enough. Talk to your friends and neighbours, call Liberals you know and offer them a lift to the polls and encouragement to vote NDP. If you can, volunteer to help your local NDP candidate get the vote out on Thursday. In these tight local races volunteers on election day could make the difference.

Do you remember how it felt when Trump won? That was in another country, but this is right in your backyard. Don’t let it happen again.

No one wants to wake up on Friday wondering if they did everything they could to keep Doug Ford from taking power.

Spend the next two days making sure you don’t have to. Leave it all on the field, and #StopFord.

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