Toronto is about to be plunged into yet another election
After months of talk and partisan hostility, it’s finally happening: Ontario will go to the polls in June.
At a press conference this morning, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath said her party wouldn’t support premier Kathleen Wynne’s budget, which was released to the public yesterday. With a minority government, the Liberals need support from at least one of the opposition parties to pass the spending plan, and the Tories have already said no. As a result, Toronto can expect its mayoral election to become background noise for the next month or so, as provincial politicians try to curry favour with a scandal-weary electorate.
“I cannot in good conscience support a government that people don’t trust anymore,” Horwath said during her remarks to the press, possibly alluding to the gas-plant scandal that continues to hobble the Liberal party’s reputation.
An election was widely expected, but there was some doubt ahead of Thursday’s budget release. Certain provisions—like the creation of a new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan and tax hikes for high-income earners—seemed designed specifically to appeal to the NDP. Even as the Liberals were preparing for an election, they seemed to be taking measures to head one off.
This may turn out to be bad news for the likes of Olivia Chow and John Tory. With Rob Ford on hiatus and a second election happening, local media attention is going to be fixated on something other than the mayoral race for the first time in months. On top of that, a new provincial government could alter the political landscape on key issues like public transit, leaving the mayoral contenders to invent new policy on the fly.
In any case, the next month should be an interesting one.
UPDATE: The election is set for June 12.