Ford Nation takes Ontario: What the PCs’ sweeping win means for Justin Trudeau
On Thursday, the PCs grabbed a majority government in Ontario, while the ruling Liberals suffered a major defeat. And as the province woke up to the emergence of Ford Nation Friday morning, the federal Liberals are also bracing for a change in the political landscape.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was quick to congratulate Ford on his win. However, Ontario’s change from red to blue is sure to put a strain on federal-provincial relations.
After years of mutual support from former Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne, Trudeau is expected to face some pushback from Ford on issues such as taxes, the environment and social programs, according to Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto.
“In terms of federal-provincial relations, it will be similar to (former Ontario PC leader) Mike Harris and Jean Chretien.” Wiseman said. “They didn’t care for each other … and the provincial government will attack the federal government.”
WATCH: Trudeau, Mayor Tory congratulate Doug Ford’s victory in Ontario
What does Liberal collapse in Ontario mean for Trudeau?
Since Justin Trudeau took office in 2015, Wynne has been a close political ally of his. Not only did the two share the same staff during their elections, but Wynne also supported many of Trudeau’s policies, such as climate change.
“Wynne campaigned for Trudeau and did not push back,” Wiseman said. “They were political allies.”
But now Trudeau has lost a friend in the country’s most populous province. And he should expect a lot of head-butting from Ford, Wiseman added.
WATCH: ‘Feels great for the people’: Doug Ford speaks after being asked to form government by Lieutenant Governor
What about the 2019 federal election?
The political landscape has changed since Trudeau first came into power. The Manitoba NDP lost their long-reigning control to the PC’s Brian Pallister in 2016, Alberta’s Jason Kenney hopes to take Alberta from the NDP next year, and Quebec’s Liberal party is going into a fall election.
With the Liberals out in Ontario, does this put the Trudeau government at a disadvantage for the 2019 federal election?
WATCH: Ontario Election: Kathleen Wynne resigns as head of Ontario Liberal Party
Wiseman does not believe the Liberal defeat will transfer to federal votes.
“I don’t think it will make that much a difference,” he said. “Voters have a good enough sense to space provincial and federal issues. The Liberal voters in Ontario could still be strong federally.”
Ford already stands with Trudeau over trade
There could be peace between the two leaders after all. On Friday, Ford said he will stand in unison with Trudeau in a trade fight with the United States.
Trudeau and U.S. president Donald Trump have been engaged in a war of words after the United States laid down heavy tariffs on aluminum and steel from Canada.
Ford said he has already spoken to Trudeau, saying that the two will put up a united front against Trump.
WATCH: Doug Ford speaks to Trudeau, plans to aid trade talks with U.S.
What about climate change?
Ford has been clear that he opposes the province’s carbon taxation plan. But under Trudeau’s plan, provinces who don’t adopt the carbon tax will have a federal pricing plan imposed on them by Ottawa in 2019.
If Ford refuses to implement a carbon tax, it will deprive Ontario of at least $4 billion in tax revenues.
“In terms of things like carbon tax and natural resources, it still won’t mean anything because [the] federal government controls it,” Wiseman said. “I think we will still have a cap-and-trade, as it’s too expensive to get out of. Feds can still impose it. Ford can make all the noise he wants, but the province can’t stop it.”
Under federal legislation, all provinces have until the end of this year to enact carbon pricing plans and if they don’t meet federal standards, a national price will be imposed on them.
But Ford isn’t the only premier against the carbon tax.
If Kenney wins the Alberta next year, he is pledging to repeal that province’s carbon tax. Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe is also taking Ottawa to court to see if the federal government has the constitutional right to impose a carbon price on provinces.
What this means for federal Conservatives?
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who did not campaign with Ford, tweeted Thursday night, congratulating Ontario’s premier-designate.
“Only positive Conservative policies put people first and create prosperity for all Canadians,” the statement read. “I look forward to working closely with Premier Ford and his government for the benefit of the people of Ontario.”
Kenny, the leader of Alberta’s United Conservative Party released a statement after the win, congratulating Ford’s victory in the Ontario election.
“The Ontario PCs are strongly committed to fighting Justin Trudeau’s federal carbon tax, and joining a future Alberta government in defending Canada’s resource industries,” Kenney said in his statement.
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