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Doug Ford’s PC Party is polling on possible early 2025 election for Ontario

Click to play video: 'Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie on the Trudeau effect'
Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie on the Trudeau effect
WATCH: Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie on the Trudeau effect – Jun 25, 2024

Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives are taking the public’s temperature on a possible early election call, Global News has learned, offering yet another sign that Premier Doug Ford is preparing to trigger an election ahead of schedule.

Despite the four-year mandate Ford won during the 2022 provincial election, sources said the PC Party has been weighing the risks and benefits of heading to the polls in 2025.

While Ford has yet to reveal whether he would call an early election, the premier also refused to commit to the current fixed election date scheduled for June 2026.

Campaign Research, the preferred polling firm of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, recently put that question to voters, asking whether they would support early election calls from both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Doug Ford.

“Recently in the news, it was reported that in Ontario, Premier Doug Ford might call an early election instead of waiting until June 2026,” the poll obtained by Global News stated.

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“Do you agree or disagree that Doug Ford should call an election for 2025 instead of waiting until June 2026?” the poll asked.

Campaign Research then asked whether “Doug Ford should call an early election in early 2025” or whether the party should continue governing for the entire mandate.

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Neither the premier’s office nor Campaign Research would comment on the poll or release the results, but the date is the first mention of any specific timelines for a potential early election.

In early June, Ford addressed the election speculation with his caucus, sources told Global News, suggesting the premier was looking to capitalize on the unpopularity of the federal Liberal Party while avoiding association with the federal Conservatives.

During a Progressive Conservative caucus briefing, Ford suggested that if Poilievre wins and tables a federal budget focused on spending cuts in the spring of 2026, the Progressive Conservative Party’s election chances could be impacted.

Ford has expressed concern about campaigning in the wake of a potentially unpopular spending plan and having to “wear” the federal budget cuts.

Meanwhile, fresh from a stinging byelection loss for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party, Ontario Liberals are looking at their federal cousins with a similar level of concern.

“There’s no doubt that the federal Liberal brand is dragging down the Liberal brand writ large across Canada — and that includes the Ontario Liberal brand,” Andrew Perez, principal at Perez Strategies and a Liberal strategist, told Global News.

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On Monday night, the Liberals lost Toronto-St. Paul’s, a seat they had held for more than a quarter of a century. A narrow Conservative victory saw the party knocked down to second in a historical stronghold, heaping more pressure on the prime minister.

Perez said the new Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie was “moving mountains” to get the party ready for a potential early election but that admitted issues remain.

“I think the Liberal brand across the board is not in a good place right now and that isn’t going to change overnight but I do think a new federal Liberal leader would help to rectify that to some extent,” he said.

Asked by Global News about her relationship with Trudeau, Crombie kept her distance and pointed to the prime minister’s many public appearances alongside Premier Ford.

“I think the bigger friend is Doug Ford, (he) is the closer friend of Justin Trudeau,” she said. “You see them in photographs and in meetings together quite often. I probably speak to the prime minister less than once a year.”

The spectre of an early election has been met with varied reactions from Ford’s main political opponents.

While NDP Leader Marit Stiles has welcomed the idea of an early election — “bring it,” Stiles said — the Ontario Liberals are much more gun shy.

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“It’s interesting that he’s speaking of going to an early election because he has a majority government and can pass any piece of legislation — or reversal of his legislation — that he would like to,” Crombie said.

Still, Crombie said the party, which has pledged to nominate at least 60 candidates by September and has been workshopping policy to inform its platform, will “be ready” for an election, whether it’s in 2024, 2025 or 2026.

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