Ontario opposition parties ready for early election call after premier fuels speculation

Click to play video: 'Ford speeds up timeline for booze in Ontario convenience stores'
Ford speeds up timeline for booze in Ontario convenience stores
The Ford government will spend $225 million to speed up the timeline to allow beer and wine in corner stores. Global’s Queen’s Park bureau chief Colin D’Mello reports – May 24, 2024

Political parties at Queen’s Park are gearing up for the possibility of an early election in Ontario after Premier Doug Ford refused to commit to the current timeline for a provincewide vote.

Last Friday, as the premier revealed that the province would give The Beer Store $225 million to speed up the timeline of beer and wine in convenience stores, Ford evaded questions about whether the move was linked to an early election.

Asked repeatedly whether he would commit to the fixed election date, currently scheduled for June 2026, Ford instead pointed to a list of the government’s accomplishments and promises.

“We’re committed to getting our agenda through,” Ford told reporters during an announcement in Etobicoke on Friday.

Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles said her party is taking the signals from the Ford government seriously and has instructed her party to prepare for an election.

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“Our committee has already been struck,” Stiles said. “Our core campaign team will be assigned soon, we are in the process of reviewing our nomination guidelines.

“Whether they call an election in 2026, or two months from now … we’ll be ready,” Stiles said.

Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie said “signs are pointing” to an early election and her party is “gearing up.”

Crombie, however, warned the government that it could be “punished” by voters for cutting its mandate short.

Crombie suggested Ford could suffer the same fate as former Liberal premier David Peterson, who called an early election in 1990 — three years into a five-year mandate — a decision that resulted in his party being booted out of office and replaced with an NDP government under Bob Rae.

“They have a majority government. I can’t envision the reason why they would want to call an early election,” Crombie said. “It’s very disrespectful, is very anti-democratic.”

Stiles also cast an early election call as political opportunism and suggested the premier would take an electoral hit.

“I think Doug Ford will be the one to pay the price because Ontarians will absolutely see that early election call for what it is,” Stiles said.


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