Ontario Premier Doug Ford, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, has won the party’s leadership race, beating out his challenger John Tory in a hotly contested contest.
The Ontario PC party, whose roots run deep in Canada’s Conservative Party, was at the helm of a coalition that held 39 of Canada’s 78 seats in the House of Commons in the October 2015 national election.
The expectation had been that Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown, who became the party’s leader in 2015, would run for the Conservative party leadership this year, yet weeks later he resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Brown denied the allegations, but soon after, his only candidate for the leadership, Tanya Granic Allen, did the same. Granic Allen was removed from the party as a result.
The Liberal party controlled 53 seats in the Ontario provincial parliament, and the NDP had 17 seats in the legislature. It’s likely that both will need to see their majority governments vote together to maintain control of the province’s legislature.
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It’s also likely the Liberals will be required to bring in any legislation that it takes an attempt by Mr. Ford to undo, similar to what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did to the Quebec government after it installed unpopular provincial premiers in other provinces.
Mr. Ford’s government could confront its own economic problems as well: Ontario’s unemployment rate of 6.5 percent is lower than Canada’s national unemployment rate of 7.3 percent, but Ontario is scheduled to borrow $12.4 billion this year, according to a recent report by the International Monetary Fund.
Ontario’s oil industry also suffered as a result of the decision by the province’s Liberal government to impose cap-and-trade programs, which brought in taxes on gasoline, electricity and coal-fired electricity generation to fund government-controlled environmental programs.
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A separate “carbon tax” of $20.50 a ton on gasoline, once imposed, caused gasoline prices to rise by 28 cents a litre in 2015.
As a result, economic growth slowed to just 0.3 percent, according to the IMF.
The Ford government will also face a number of challenges in the way of education and funding for healthcare.