By Jonathon Van Maren
It was a clean sweep for the Progressive Conservatives in Ontario’s provincial election yesterday. Doug Ford’s PC Party secured a majority government with 76 seats at Queen’s Park, the NDP only managed to win 40 seats, and the Liberal Party did not even meet the 8-seat threshold for official party status, going from a majority to 7 seats. Premier Kathleen Wynne narrowly won her seat, and then promptly resigned it, having already conceded that her party would get thumped a week ago in a weird press conference she claims was designed to persuade voters to only elect a PC or NDP minority. She might have realized that voters stopped listening to her quite awhile ago.
There’s a few points to make here. First of all, I can’t begin to say how grateful I am that Patrick Brown is not the premier of Ontario, which he surely would be if he hadn’t gotten dumped by the PCs over sexual misconduct allegations earlier this year. If Brown had won, it would have sent the message to Conservative politicians right across the country that you can backstab and betray social conservatives and still win. Brown had done everything in his power—which was quite a bit—to bully and silence the social conservative MPPs in the PC Party, and he certainly would have continued to do that in order to hang on to power. Instead, we will now have a premier who has stated that social conservatives have a place in the PC Party, and has promised to address several of their top priorities.
There were also some great MPPs elected last night. Sam Oosterhoff continued his winning streak in Niagara West. Will Bouma, who my wife and I had the privilege of voting for, narrowly won in Brantford-Brant. Billy Pang took Markham-Unionville. Belinda Karahalios won in Cambridge. Christina Mitas took Scarborough Centre. Monte McNaughton secured a third term in Lambton-Kent-Middlesex. Darryl Kramp was elected in Hastings-Lennox and Addington. I could go on, but you get the picture: A large number of solidly social conservative MPPs will be heading to Queen’s Park, and many of them are replacing the hard-Left progressives who have been running the show for over a decade. The only disappointment was that my friend Andrew Lawton failed to win a seat in London West, despite putting up a phenomenal fight and knocking on 20,000 doors while being the subject of a deceitful and unforgivable smear campaign. The consolation is that none of us have heard the last of him.
The election of Doug Ford and the PCs also upturns much of the conventional script of the Canadian commentariat. First, Ford was unelectable as leader. Then, he was going to screw up the campaign. Now, he’ll become premier of Ontario, despite panicked editorials from the Toronto Star in the final days warning people that Ford would run roughshod over Toronto, perhaps not realizing that this threat sounded pretty good to a lot of voters. As I noted when Ford won the leadership of the PC Party, the media will now try to domesticate Ford, to convince him that he cannot win if he governs like a conservative, and must instead become the sort of Red Tory that they can begrudgingly tolerate. Quite a few are already on Twitter noting that Ford was actually sort of a liberal, if you compare him to an American Republican. While it is true that the Canadian political spectrum is a couple of inches wide, it is also amusing to see people who warned of a Ford apocalypse attempting to comfort themselves with things that they never would have dreamed of saying 24 hours ago.
My friend J.J. McCullough noted earlier this week in the Washington Post that considering the loony lineup of NDP lefties, who ran the gamut from out-and-out Marxists to candidates who refused to wear a poppy (all of them defended by Andrea Horwath), the Ontario election may also have been the voter’s answer to the question of how Left was too Left—a question that the media never, ever asks. Likely, a combination of voter fatigue with the simultaneously corrupt and self-righteous Liberals making life more difficult for the average Ontarians they claimed to speak for, the fact that many of the NDP candidates seemed to be far more fit to run for a university student union than for Queen’s Park, and a desire to run the whole crowd out of town and secure change were enough to do the job. Justin Trudeau, as several commentators already noticed, must be a bit nervous at the moment: Besides Ford joining the anti-carbon tax crew out in the prairie provinces, Ontario’s Liberal wipe-out proves that people can get fed up with virtue-signalling progressivism pretty quickly—and deprives him of a lot of people he leaned on heavily in 2015.
In summation: The Left is out in Ontario, and Ford—whoever he turns out to be—is in. This victory gives a boost to both Kenney and Scheer, and signals that as long as it might take, voters do get sick of the relentless social engineering of progressives, especially when they consistently fail to help the people they claim they joined politics to speak for. Kathleen Wynne, Andrea Horwath, and Patrick Brown will not be premier of Ontario. That’s a good day for this province, and a good day for conservatives.
For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.