ANALYSIS: Wynne says Ontario ballot question will be ‘uncertainty’

Click to play video: 'Kathleen Wynne says ‘uncertainty’ will be the ballot question in 2018' Kathleen Wynne says ‘uncertainty’ will be the ballot question in 2018
WATCH ABOVE: Improving poll numbers and progressive policies buoy Kathleen Wynne after a rough 2017. Alan Carter speaks one-on-one with the premier – Dec 19, 2017

While it didn’t seem possible 12 months ago, 2017 turned out to be a good year for Kathleen Wynne.  

But was it good enough to make 2018 a great year for Ontario’s Liberal premier?

Twelve months ago there were questions about whether Wynne would continue as leader or be pushed out by rivals, and her personal polling numbers were in the “things-you-scrape-off-your-shoe” range.

As the year draws to a close, those poll numbers are now up off the floor, and more importantly, Liberal policies are proving to be popular.  

“We are acting in the best interest of the people who we serve. We serve the people of Ontario,” said Wynne during an end-of-year interview at Queen’s Park with Global News.

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 Those programs are appealing enough that the opposition PCs have decided to steal the Liberal strategy of stealing ideas.  

READ MORE: Patrick Brown’s Oprah Moment 

Do you like that 25 per cent off hydro prices Wynne introduced? PC Leader Patrick Brown will give you that and more.   

How about Liberal commitments for pharmacare or daycare spaces? The PCs promise to keep those promises too. 

If imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, then Brown is singing Liberal policy praises louder than an egg-nogged Christmas caroler.   

But as the calendar peels away to 2018, the game begins anew.

In the spring when political lawn signs sprout like dandelions, the people of the province will go to the polls to decide whose plate of goodies they like best. 

Since all three Ontario parties are offering similar platforms, largely swiped from each other (many of the Liberal planks were lifted from the NDP), what will the ballot question be?

Uncertainty, says Wynne.

READ MORE: Sudbury byelection trial and the unravelling of the promise of Kathleen Wynne

“People feeling like they’re not sure what’s coming next,” Wynne said. “That uncertainty – that’s the environment we are operating in. So whether the ballot question will be about jobs or whether it’ll be a cost of living, it will be in that area because it’s that uncertainty.”

In the face of this uncertainty should the people of the province seek change? Wynne sidesteps the question.

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“If you’re asking me if we need a political change, well, the people of Ontario will decide that.”

Wynne presented herself as an agent of change in her successful 2014 come-from-behind election victory.

In 2018, that path isn’t available to her, so instead the Liberals hope to present change as a risk in an age of uncertainty.

Alan Carter is the host of Focus Ontario, a Global Toronto anchor and an analyst for Global News.

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