And now, the real work begins.
Despite being written off early in the COVID pandemic by some pollsters, pundits and political analysts, Premier Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservatives roared back and were re-elected with an even larger majority.
The people have spoken and made their choices to lead Ontario and their respective ridings over the next four years.
Based on his campaign promises (spend, spend, spend to “Get it done”) and some of his legislation during his first term (for example, the new employee right to disconnect legislation), Ford is a small-l liberal masquerading as a small-c conservative.
A conservative by convenience. Or so it seems.
Some of his slashing of expenditures early in his first term, on items like public health, came back to haunt him when the pandemic turned everyone’s lives upside down.
The bulldozing, shoot-from-the-lip rookie appeared to morph into more of an Everyman premier later in his term. There’s no shortage of theatre in politics, of course, so perhaps it was all a performance.
Either way, he even managed to gain the political support of several private sector unions in the process. No small feat for a Tory.
On the hustings, Ford sold us a future that includes a wide range of commitments to major infrastructure projects across the province. And in Niagara, a new hospital and twinning the Garden City Skyway, among others.
As our story this week about ambulance response times and overburdened paramedics shows, Ford still has a lot of work to do on some of the not-so-flashy issues – like solving the region’s ongoing and serious EMS funding headaches.
This provincial election was a sleepwalk win in some ways for the Tories: neither the NDP nor the Liberals mounted much of an opposition, there was no public sentiment for “change,” all leading to apparently the lowest voter turnout in provincial election history (43 per cent).
While three of Niagara’s four ridings remained in NDP hands, about 9,000 fewer votes were cast in our riding (Niagara Falls) than in 2018.
The results were the same: the NDP’s Wayne Gates triumphed by 5,865 votes (48 per cent) over PC challenger Bob Gale (36 per cent), with the Liberals trailing badly in third place.
Now, the real work begins for Gates and his fellow New Democrats – to hold the Tory government to account, to represent the interests of Niagara so we are not forgotten by Queen’s Park (as so often has happened in the past), but, above all, to find a way to work with the governing party to get things done – to the benefit of everyone.
Congratulations to Ford on being entrusted with a second term and to Gates on handily being re-elected here in Niagara.
We look forward to seeing all parties proving they can work together to “get it done.”