Categorized | Editorial

Ready for a Spring election?

Posted on 24 April 2014 by admin

Finance Minister Charles Sousa’s May 1 budget could launch the province toward a June 26 election.

That’s because the budget must be debated for at least eight hours over 12 sessional days. The legislature does not sit Fridays, so 12 sessional days is the equivalent of three work weeks. But because of the Victoria Day break, MPPs do not sit for the third week in May.

So the budget vote may not happen in the legislature until May 29, setting the stage for a June 26 provincial election.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath said that for the past two years her party has been working to “stimulate activism” at the riding association level.

“Much of the activism comes with the nomination process. People start thinking about elections, people start considering getting connected with the ridings to volunteer their time. But in a minority parliament we pretty much have to be doing that all the time,” she told the Star.

Horwath said the nine byelections since 2012 — four of them won by the NDP — have maintained a buzz in the party.

“We have had a lot of contested nominations this time around. We are getting a great deal of interest, We have a lot more candidates lined up already that are city councillors, school board trustees, chairs of school board, so the experience of our candidates is quite positive,” she said.

Even so, Horwath has refused to show her hand publicly on whether she plans to pull the plug on the Liberals, who have been plagued with spending scandals.

In the meantime, the party’s volunteers are getting their marching orders, knowing that a strong, organized ground war especially counts at a time when Ontario is suffering from low voter turnout.

The party source said experience in other jurisdictions has shown that building a tightly knit network of volunteers with a strong commitment to winning, particularly in the early phase of campaigning, has a direct correlation with higher rates of voter contact and more effective persuasion of voters.

“The party has also identified top organizers from across the country — not all of them New Democrats — who believe in Andrea and want to be part of the Ontario campaign. The common denominator seems to be that as campaign aficionados they’ve admired Andrea from a distance and/or watched the byelection wins in places that we weren’t expected to win like Kitchener-Waterloo and London West,” the source said.

While poll results have been varied in recent weeks, a Forum Research’s survey published in the Star earlier this month found Tim Hudak’s Progressive Conservatives leading with 38 per cent support to 31 per cent for Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals, 23 per cent for Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats and 7 per cent for Mike Schreiner’s Green Party.

Forum’s Lorne Bozinoff said his projected seat count in the 107-member legislature would be 49 Tories (up from the current 37), 45 Liberals (down from 48, including Speaker Dave Levac), and 13 New Democrats (now at 21).

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