Notes from the campaign trail: May 5, 2014
George Hoff, CP24.com
Published Monday, May 5, 2014 4:40PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, May 5, 2014 5:44PM EDT
Ontario’s minority government lasted two-and-a-half years not bad for a minority. But it’s not nearly a record.
Back in 1975, Progressive Conservative Premier Bill Davis managed to run the province with the Liberals and NDP at his heels for two years. In 1977 another election resulted in yet another minority government and that one lasted four years.
So you might ask, will history repeat itself? Or will a five week campaign result in a majority government and political stability for Ontario? A Forum Research poll released today gives the Progressive Conservatives the narrow lead but its analysis predicts another minority.
“If these results are projected up to seats in a 107-seat legislature, the Liberals would capture 49, for a 6 seat minority, while the PCs would take 45 and the NDP just 13,” the poll analysis concludes.
I doubt we will hear much minority talk on the campaign trail as all the parties do their best to stake out their claim to get your vote and form a majority. However come, oh, June 7 or so, the minority chatter will rev up. Unless of course we get the kind of campaign seismic shift that happened just a few weeks ago in Quebec.
Both the PC and NDP will be trying to find the issues that move votes away from the Liberals. That started over the weekend and today with the NDP leader Andrea Horwath focusing on the Liberal’s “dismal record.” Tim Hudak, leader of the PC party, was clear about his party’s position. He said Ontario “needs a Premier who is laser-focused on creating jobs -- not short term popularity.” The Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne will find herself on the defensive day in and day out. Look for her to turn that defense into something positive like this clip from this morning:
“I stand by the work that I’ve done…I’m going to travel, engage with the people, talk to them about their concerns,” she said during a campaign stop today.
The backroom strategists will be sending their leaders where their face time might bring in votes. For example, today Horwath went to an open riding, Brampton-Springdale, and hit on an issue that is huge there – auto insurance. Hudak is going to be spending far more time in a car than a bus so he can get to more places faster and make his campaign more nimble. Wynne admitted on CP24 Breakfast this morning that her backroomers will be looking at the polls before deciding where she is most needed.
CP24’s Stephen LeDrew keeps reminding me that “campaigns matter!” How the parties and their leaders use the five weeks and their money will determine if Ontario gets political stability on June 12 or another dose of minority politics.