In Ontario, Doug Ford has gained a greater majority government, a win that serves as a reminder that the Progressive Conservatives dominated the province for much of the twentieth century.
It wasn’t by chance that he went on an unbroken 42-year streak from 1943 to 1985. The Progressive Conservatives of Ontario won election after election in the twentieth century by constantly adapting.
As a result, political scientists of the time defined an “Ontario political culture” that emphasized caution and moderation. The PCs and Ontario appeared built for one other, with leaders like Bill Davis and his famous slogan “bland works.”
When the province lurched first to the NDP and then to the Mike Harris PCs’ so-called Common Sense Revolution in the 1990s, the idea of a long-lasting and moderate political culture in Ontario took a knock. It was restored, however, with the arrival of Dalton McGuinty, who, despite being a Liberal, embodied the PC heritage of unflashy but adaptive leadership in the twentieth century.
With the election of the distinctively un-bland Doug Ford in 2018, the notion took another knock. The results of the 2022 Ontario election, however, indicate that the custom is still alive and well.
Ford has established himself as part of a long tradition of adaptable Ontario PCs and a steadfast political culture in the province.
During the election campaign, the retail concentration resulted in a bewildering assortment of pledges from all sides, with the other parties playing along. Many of the promises seemed haphazard and unrelated to larger concepts. As freight trucks drive along a highway, a rainbow appears to be descending.
Future political junkies might test their knowledge by answering the question, “Who pledged what in the 2022 Ontario election?” Which political party vowed to reinstate Grade 13? Who promised that truck tolls on Highway 407 would be eliminated? Which political party guaranteed a 5% increase in disability benefits? (Correct answers are the Liberals, Greens, and NDP, as well as the PCs.)
Throughout the campaign, the PC machine was so unstoppable that the two other main parties spent most of their time fighting for second place. The Liberals were desperate to recover from their rout in 2018, and they mostly failed, while the NDP struggled to keep their footing.
The leaders of the two biggest opposition parties, both of whom announced their resignations on election night, handicapped the opposition parties. Steven Del Duca, the Liberal Leader, was unable to sell his image as a suburban dad and hence lost his seat.
Despite her fourth election, New Democrat Andrea Horwath has been unable to attract public attention — either positively or badly — and has decided that it is time to “transfer the torch” to a new leader.