TORONTO –Kathleen Wynne’s best campaigner might have been Tim Hudak.
The Liberals now have a majority government while the Progressive Conservatives lost seats and the NDP picked up seats outside of the GTA but lost some long-held ridings in Toronto.
“I’m most surprised that the conservative vote collapsed as much as it did,” University of Toronto politics professor Nelson Wiseman said Thursday.
Hudak defined his campaign early on by announcing plans to cut 100,000 public sector jobs and was hurt further by economists picking apart his Million Jobs Plan.
“I think the Conservatives galvanized a lot of Liberal supporters to vote for a party they don’t like very much,” Jonathan Malloy, chairman of Carleton University’s political science department, said Thursday.
“The Liberals were able to draw a lot of supporters who were voting not necessarily for the Liberals but against Tim Hudak.”
But the NDP too, though they picked up seats around the province, lost long-held seats in Toronto to the Liberals, including Trinity-Spadina, where Liberal Han Dong unseated the incumbent Rosario Marchese.
Wynne has promised to spend approximately $29 billion over ten years on building transit projects across the city. The NDP mimicked the Liberal plan but added $250 million while the Tories promised to cut light rail projects and spend only $2 billion a year on transit, but taking that from existing transit funds.
Read More: Ontario Election 2014
The election stabilizes the government – there won’t be another election for four years – but throws the Progressive Conservatives into turmoil as Hudak announced during his concession speech Thursday night that he would be stepping down.
“I will not be leading the Ontario PC party into the next election campaign,” he said, noting he would stay on as an MPP.
Watch: How did Wynne win?
The Progressive Conservatives won the second most seats but were the clear losers of the election – losing their leader and losing the most seats.
The NDP however picked up some seats, finishing the night with 21, on par with what they had at the dissolution of the legislature and four more than they won in 2011.
“The NDP had its internal turmoil, but although they might have gone up in seats they lost some NDP stalwarts so it’s definitely a mixed result for sure,” Malloy said.