Better, bad, worse, the same: How Ontario's political parties fared in the election

·3 min read
From left to right: Outgoing Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca, Premier Doug Ford, Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner, and outgoing NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. (The Canadian Press/CBC - image credit)
From left to right: Outgoing Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca, Premier Doug Ford, Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner, and outgoing NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. (The Canadian Press/CBC - image credit)

Ontario's Progressive Conservatives surged to a second consecutive majority government on Thursday night, with the rival NDP losing seats and the Liberals failing to secure official party status.

It was a big night for Premier Doug Ford, who quickly found out he'd be heading back to Queen's Park with an even firmer mandate.

An hour later, Ford's biggest political rivals announced they'd be stepping down.

Here's a brief look at how Ontario's 43rd general election played out for reach of the main parties.

Progressive Conservatives

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press
Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

The PCs will form government with 83 seats. That's up from the 76 ridings the party won in 2018.

Typically in provincial politics, majorities are whittled away over time. The PCs turned that dynamic on its head.

The PCs also picked up roughly 41 per cent of the popular vote share, up slightly from the last election (even though overall voter turnout numbers appear to be far lower than they were in 2018).

Their gains came mostly at the expense of the NDP, particularly in the north, 905 region and southwestern Ontario.

New Democrats

The Ontario NDP will return to Queen's Park as the Official Opposition, albeit with fewer seats than they held in the last provincial parliament.

The New Democrats won 40 seats in 2018. At the dissolution of the legislature, they were down to 38 after one MPP left to be an independent and another was tossed from caucus.

The party took 31 seats Thursday, with about 23.7 per cent of the popular vote share — not what the NDP had hoped for going in. Leader Andrea Horwath and her campaign had said early and often that they had a path to forming government, needing to win just 10 key seats to topple Ford. That was not to be.

The party's night ended with Andrea Horwath, who won her seat in Hamilton Centre, announcing she would give up the party's leadership after 13 years and four elections at the helm.

WATCH | Andrea Horwath says she will step down after 4 elections:

Liberals

The Ontario Liberals had an abysmal election night.

The party won eight seats, just one more than they did in 2018 — an election that saw the Liberals decimated after more than 15 years in government.

That additional seat came in the traditionally-Liberal Toronto riding of Beaches–East York, where a former city councillor won. Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca spent most of his time campaigning in Toronto, so the party's inability to wrestle back downtown seats from the New Democrats was a significant disappointment.

Del Duca also lost by a big margin in his home riding of Vaughan–Woodbridge. Despite Del Duca insisting on the last day of campaigning that he would stay on as leader "regardless of the result," the night's reality made it untenable.

The Liberals' poor showing also means the party didn't attain official party status. That comes with huge disadvantages, chiefly less money and no paid staff at the legislature.

WATCH | Steven Del Duca says he will resign after disappointing showing:

Green Party

Leader Mike Schreiner was the only Ontario Green to hold a seat in the last provincial parliament. Despite the party's high hopes to pick up another this time around, Schreiner will remain a caucus of one.

The party fielded a full slate of 124 candidates, but its campaign team dedicated outsized time and resources to the riding of Parry Sound–Muskoka.

Polls showed their local candidate there, Matt Richter, in a tight race with PC candidate and long-time Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith. In the end, it wasn't enough.

The Greens did increase their vote share across the province to about six per cent, up from about 4.6 per cent in 2018. That was enough for Schreiner to proclaim his party is here to stay.

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