Here’s our daily look at what’s making news on the Ontario campaign trail.
- Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford showcased about a dozen of his party’s top candidates in an effort to demonstrate that, following the June 7 vote, the Tories will be “ready, right out of the gates” to govern. But when he was asked when the PC platform will be released, Ford would say only that one is coming. PC candidate Christine Elliott said of the platform, “I can’t tell you exactly what day that’s going to happen, but it will be released before the campaign is over.”
- NDP leader Andrea Horwath said that Ford’s “ready to govern” event is a sign that he arrogantly assumes he’s going to win. “Mr. Ford may want to be measuring the drapes at Queen’s Park, but what I want to do is stay focused on families,” she said. She also slammed Ford’s argument that the NDP’s candidates lack the experience needed to run Ontario. “I can tell you with confidence that I have a slate of candidates that is stellar in terms of their experience. We have a number of MPPs that are going to get re-elected that have a great deal of [experience] in the legislature.”
- Two new polls confirm that the election may be coming down to a battle between the Tories and NDP. The first, by Ipsos, shows Tory fortunes rebounding a bit: the party has retaken the lead after the previous Ipsos survey showed them in second. Ipsos now puts PC support among decided voters at 37 per cent, the NDP at 34 per cent, and the Liberals at 22 per cent. However, a poll by Mainstreet Research gives the lead to the NDP, which has 39.3 per cent support among decided and leaning voters. The PCs are close behind at 37.3 per cent, while the Liberals clock in at just 16 per cent.
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- Former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper has endorsed Ford for premier. He posted a photo of himself with federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer on Twitter, writing, “Great seeing Andrew in Toronto, we both agree we must first get the job done in Ontario with Conservative Premier @fordnation!” Harper was in Toronto headlining a fundraiser for Mike Harris, Jr., son of the former premier and the PC candidate for Kitchener–Conestoga. For his part, while Scheer is supporting Ford, he will not be campaigning with Ford or voting in the Ontario election, his office says. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already cast a ballot in the Ontario election, a move that has angered some in Quebec as Trudeau represents the Montreal riding of Papineau.
- Both Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne and her campaign director have apologized to the NDP after Shafiq Qaadri, a local Liberal candidate, crashed an event Horwath was holding in Etobicoke North. Horwath was in the riding, where Doug Ford is running to win a seat, to argue that the province “can’t afford Ford.” Qaadri, who has held the riding for the Liberals since 2003 but is facing long odds now that Ford is vying for it, stood behind Horwath and held a large Liberal sign. When Qaadri tried to speak, Horwath said, “I’m going to finish my press conference, and you can have all the time you want to talk to the media. But please don’t interrupt me.” Wynne later said that Qaadri “shouldn’t have done that” and called the stunt “inappropriate.” Qaadri offfered an apology, which Horwath accepted.
- Wynne has promised that a re-elected Liberal government would pass a bill to end a months-long strike at York University. The Liberal leader is trying to strike a contrast with Horwath, who has ruled out ever using back-to-work legislation to end a strike. Barry Kay, a political analyst at Wilfrid Laurier University, says the Liberals’ decision to raise this issue now is a sign of panic, but adds that the NDP is vulnerable on this issue as Horwath’s position is unpopular with many voters.
- Three male Tory candidates were slammed for not attending an event in London hosted by the group Women in Politics. All candidates in all four London-area ridings were invited, but PC candidates Andrew Lawton (London West), Jeff Yurek (Elgin–Middlesex–London), and Eric Weninger (London-Fanshawe) weren’t there. Susan Truppe, who is running in London North Centre, was the only Tory candidate in attendance. NDP candidate Amanda Stratton (Elgin–Middlesex–London) said it was a “disgrace” that the three men were no-shows.
- Some voters are taking to social media to complain that they haven’t yet received their voter information cards. Elections Ontario says that those who haven’t gotten their cards yet should be getting them shortly. Voters can cast a ballot without the card by providing a piece of identification that contains their current address.
What to watch for
- Wynne will make an announcement in Oakville at 10 a.m., meet with the Globe and Mail’s editorial board at 1 p.m., and then visit the Jump for Joy Play Centre in Toronto at 3 p.m.
- PC candidates Lisa MacLeod and Todd Smith held a press conference to attack the NDP’s hydro plan this morning, arguing it will increase electricity prices. Ford will make an announcement at the Portal Village Retirement Home in Port Colborne at 10:45 a.m., and then appear at a rally at the Royal Canadian Legion branch in Welland at 6 p.m.
- Horwath will make an announcement at Upwood Park Co-Op Building in North York this morning. She’ll then hold a series of campaign events in southwestern Ontario, where NDP support is strong. She’ll be in Brantford at 1 p.m., Stratford at 3 p.m., and Chatham-Kent at 6 p.m.
- Green leader Mike Schreiner will outline his party’s plans for creating jobs in the cleantech economy at an event with local candidates in Kitchener at 10 a.m.
- The latest The Agenda on Politics podcast looks at absentee ballots and talks to voters about what it means to vote in an election when you’re living somewhere else.
- Tonight, The Agenda With Steve Paikin will welcome social scientist and pollster Nik Nanos to offer his perspective on the forces reshaping liberal democracies worldwide. Then the program will look at the psychological forces that drive voter decisions and discuss what's on the minds of Ontario's millennials in this election campaign. Watch it on TVO at 8 p.m. or 11 p.m. You can also catch the program via Facebook and Twitter at 8 p.m.