Ontario is Canada’s most populous province. The centre-left Liberals had governed for 15 years, but finished a distant third at the June 7 election, behind the Conservatives and the New Democratic Party (NDP) – Canada’s most left-wing major party. The Conservative leader, Doug Ford, has been compared to Donald Trump.
The Conservatives won 76 of the 124 seats (up 44 since the 2014 election), the NDP 40 (up 17), the Liberals just seven (down 62) and the Greens one (up one). Parliament was expanded from 107 to 124 seats, and I am using the notional seats held before the 2018 election for seat changes.
Vote shares were 40.5% Conservatives (up 9.3%), 33.6% NDP (up 9.8%), 19.6% Liberals (down 19.1%) and 4.6% Greens (down 0.2%). Ontario uses First Past the Post.
CBC analyst Éric Grenier’s Poll Tracker gave the Conservatives 38.7%, the NDP 35.5%, the Liberals 19.6% and the Greens 4.9% in its final pre-election edition. There was movement to the Conservatives in the final days, as the NDP slipped from a one-point lead to a three-point deficit. Three of the four final polls gave the Conservatives four to six point leads.
The NDP had surged from third place at the end of April, when a Conservative landslide looked likely, to a peak position of a two-point lead at the end of May. The drop over the final few days was probably because many voters were unfamiliar with the NDP’s agenda. The greater focus on the NDP in the final days damaged their chances.
The Conservatives benefited greatly from the splitting of the left vote between the NDP, Liberals and Greens. The three left parties combined won 57.8% of the vote, but just 38.7% of the seats. During the 2015 Canadian federal election campaign, Justin Trudeau promised to reform Canada’s electoral system, but he abandoned that promise in early 2017.
With the Conservatives currently leading Trudeau’s Liberals in federal polling, it is possible they could repeat their success in Ontario, or indeed the 2011 federal election. The next federal election is due by October 2019.