Ontario Progressive Conservatives win another majority government

The Ontario Progressive Conservatives have won a second consecutive majority government, with PC candidates having been elected in 83 ridings.

That’s seven more than in the previous election and well above the minimum 63 required for a majority.

The NDP are projected to form the Official Opposition once again as they are expected to win the second-most seats, but it wasn’t enough for party leader Andrea Horwath who announced she would be stepping down as leader after failing to form government in her fourth election cycle heading the party.

It was another poor showing for the Liberals — party leader Steven Del Duca failed to win in the riding Vaughan-Woodbridge and also resigned as leader.

The crowd at the Toronto Congress Centre in Etobicoke, where the PCs held their election night party, cheered as the early returns trickled in, showing PC candidate after candidate leading in their ridings.

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A Ford bus – emblazoned with the PC’s re-election slogan “Get It Done” – was parked to the right of the stage, and was written across miniature flags set out on seats for supporters to fill.

“What a night and what a result,” Ford said while speaking to supporters late Thursday.

The crowd chanted “four more years” as Ford began his speech.

“To the people of Ontario: thank you, thank you so much. Thank you for your trust and thank you for once again putting your confidence in me,” Ford said.

“Tonight’s victory, it isn’t about me, it isn’t about the party. This victory belongs to every worker who knows that they deserve better. It belongs to every family who knows that they can dream bigger. But most of all, this victory belongs to each and every one of you.”

Ford also mentioned the leaders of the other main parties in his speech.

“It takes a lot to put your name forward in a race like this and while we had different ideas, I truly believe that we share a desire to see Ontario succeed,” he said.

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“For my part, I did my best to run a positive campaign to put forward a clear and consistent message, to offer a plan that everyone could get behind. I promised to build this province.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and wife Karla celebrate on stage after being re-elected Premier of Ontario in the provincial election, in Toronto, Thursday, June 2, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Ford has campaigned largely on his party’s promises to build Ontario highways and hospitals, as well as other measures he’s touted as job-creators.

He reiterated those talking points in his victory speech, touching on building housing, hospitals, transit, infrastructure, obtaining minerals in the north, as well as his party’s elimination of the licence plate sticker renewal fee and promise to cut the gas tax.

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Kory Teneycke, Ford’s campaign manager and a key architect of the PC’s re-election campaign, told Global News he viewed the campaign as a referendum on Ford’s leadership over the last four years.

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“At the end of the day, I think these races always come down to leadership and I think we put forward a compelling vision for the province,” Teneycke said.

“I think certainly our outreach to labour unions … was a big deal and a big part of what brought us to win.”

In his victory speech, Ford struck a magnanimous tone to his opponents – and highlighted his attempts to expand the Tory voter coalition to blue-collar workers. After giving a nod to his defeated rivals, Ford said everyone should feel welcome in the Ontario Progressive Conservatives.

“We have changed what it means to be a Progressive Conservative in Ontario,” Ford told the small crowd at the Toronto Congress Centre.

“This is my proudest achievement as a leader of this party, building a new coalition, expanding our base, creating a more inclusive party for everyone … Never in our lifetime has it been more important for a party to represent all of Ontario.”

In what Ford hopes will not become a portend for his second majority mandate, however, the balloon drop failed to cooperate. As he finished his speech, confetti fired – but the balloons suspended from the ceiling remained firmly fixed in their netting.

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NDP to form Official Opposition, Andrea Horwath resigns as leader

Meanwhile, the NDP are projected to form the Official Opposition once again as they are expected to win the second-most seats, though less compared to the previous election. New Democrats were elected in 31 ridings, which is nine less than in 2018.

After her fourth election heading the party and failing to form government, Horwath announced she will be stepping down as Ontario NDP leader on Thursday night, saying it is “time to pass the torch.”

“I’m not shedding tears of sadness, I’m shedding tears of pride,” she said speaking to supporters at the party’s headquarters in Hamilton. “Look at you, look at all of you, look at what we have done together.”

Horwath said the the party is “stronger and more ready to govern than ever before.”

“We didn’t get there this time, but just know, just know that we we will continue to be the powerful champions that people need us to be to fight Doug Ford’s cuts,” she said.

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Steven Del Duca fails to secure seat, resigns as Liberal leader

Del Duca lost the riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge to PC Party incumbent Michael Tibollo. Tibollo first beat Del Duca in the riding back in the 2018 election.

Overall, the Liberals won just eight seats — not enough to secure official party status and just one more than in 2018.

In his election night speech, Del Duca referenced the progress he felt the Ontario Liberals had made and the direction the party could move in.

“It will, however, be a movement that will be led by a new leader,” he told supporters. “Earlier this evening, I informed our party president of my decision to step down from the leadership of our party.”

Del Duca said a leadership race would be organized to take place “as soon as is reasonable.”

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Ford has been re-elected in his riding of Etobicoke North, while Horwath was re-elected in the riding of Hamilton Centre. Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner was re-elected in Guelph — the only with for the party.

Most polling stations closed at 9 p.m. ET throughout the province, though voting at a total of 27 stations in various ridings had extended closing times.

Polls conducted throughout the campaign indicated that Doug Ford and the PCs were poised to win the election.

— With files from Hannah Jackson, Isaac Callan and The Canadian Press

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