It’s an unfortunate reality of our current electoral system that political parties regularly form majority governments with only forty percent or less of the popular vote. This means Doug Ford could become Premier of Ontario on Thursday while receiving fewer votes than Andrea Horwath’s NDP. How is this perverse outcome possible, you might ask? It’s because Conservative voters are more evenly distributed across key ridings than their opponents. The NDP vote is more concentrated in certain places. This could very well allow Ford to garner more seats in the legislature, even though substantially more Ontarians vote for the NDP.
We cannot allow this to happen.
Just imagine waking up on Friday morning and having to hear the phrase “Premier Doug Ford” for the next four years. His record as an enabler of the irresponsible and chaotic mayoralty of his brother in Toronto, and the clear ethical failings of the Progressive Conservative Party under his leadership, point to dark days for this province should he win the June 7th election.
Mr. Ford has campaigned on a promise to slash $6-billion from the provincial budget but has refused to specify how or where. The mathematical inevitably of this scale of cuts could involve closing 36 hospitals, firing 28,000 nurses, closing 780 schools, and firing 20,000 teachers.
In addition, Mr. Ford’s commitment to “leave no stone unturned” when it comes to privatization, means all of our health care, schools and other vital public services are at risk.
The result of these cuts and privatization will be a much more expensive life for Ontario families. Other damaging aspects of his plan include ignoring climate change, giving big corporations a $5 billion tax cut, and providing a huge tax benefit to the richest individuals in the province.
Mr. Ford’s extraordinary support from the most extreme of social conservatives and white supremacists should make us all concerned about any administration he would lead. I have no doubt that electing Ford as Premier would bring divisive and destructive Trump-style politics to Canada. Indeed, Mr. Ford has been quite open about his admiration for President Trump.
Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals have thrown in the towel. In a highly unusual move, Ms. Wynne conceded over the weekend that she can’t win the election. I respect Ms. Wynne. I think she has made some mistakes: the privatization of Hydro One chief amongst them. But she has also put some good ideas in motion that Doug Ford would destroy, and that Andrea Horwath would improve. In contrast, Mr. Ford’s commitment to cancel planned increases to the minimum wage would damage our most vulnerable citizens.
Andrea Horwath, meanwhile, has run a principled and positive campaign. Her platform would provide drug and dental coverage for all Ontarians, ensure improved funding for public schools, end hallway medicine and improve care for seniors. She would protect Ontario families by asking the wealthy and large corporations to pay their fair share of the tax burden.
It’s just this simple: Ontarians of all political stripes now need to come together in this election to protect the services that our families rely on. Kathleen Wynne has admitted the Liberals can’t stop Doug Ford. Only Andrea Horwath can do this.
I have spent my life in public service fighting inequality and trying to improve the lives of all Canadians. Doug Ford’s plan would increase inequality and advantage the richest and most powerful in the province at the expense of the rest.
This election is going to be very close. Every vote will count. I urge all progressive voters to rally around Andrea Horwath now to protect the province that we love and ensure change for the better.
Ed Broadbent is the former leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada and was the MP for Ottawa Centre from 2004-2006.