Ontario Election 2011

Liberals Win Ontario Election

The Liberals have won the 2011 Ontario election, but their loss of 17 seats has turned them into a minority government, and there is no question that their political mandate has been substantially weakened.

By Adrian Duyzer
Published October 06, 2011

The Liberals have won the 2011 Ontario election, but their loss of 17 seats has turned them into a minority government, and there is no question that their political mandate has been substantially weakened.

The Liberals have been elected in 53 ridings, but a majority government - which requires 54 seats - is outside McGuinty's grasp. The Liberals headed into the election with 70 seats, so they have lost 17 MPPs. Those 17 MPPs include Hamilton Mountain incumbent Sophia Aggelonitis, who was defeated by the NDP's Monique Taylor.

Andrea Horwath was re-elected in Hamilton Centre, and she improved her party's standing from 10 MPPs to 17. Her colleague Paul Miller was re-elected in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek.

Tim Hudak was re-elected in Niagara West-Glanbrook. Hudak, who was criticized for campaign stumbles including claiming a Liberal program to help new Canadians find jobs was for "foreign workers", increased his party's seat count from 25 to 37.

Many pollsters predicted a Liberal minority government, and they were correct. What does a Liberal-led minority government mean for Hamilton?

The answer to that question, of course, lies with the NDP. Hamilton is accustomed to being overlooked, in part because our local representatives are often from non-governing parties. If Andrea Horwath's support is required to maintain McGuinty's hold on power, perhaps Hamilton will benefit from her raised profile and her firm backing of key local projects like light rail transit.

On the other hand, the loss of Sophia Aggelonitis means Hamilton loses a cabinet minister, and there is no guarantee that McMeekin is heading back to cabinet.

One thing is certain: parliamentary attendance is going to be crucial in the years ahead. In many cases a single vote will be crucial, and we can expect a tumultuous term.

This article has been updated to reflect the final seat counts.

Adrian Duyzer is an entrepreneur, business owner, and Associate Editor of Raise the Hammer. He lives in downtown Hamilton with his family. On Twitter: adriandz

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By hamcen (anonymous) | Posted October 07, 2011 at 06:48:58

I hope McMeekin gets a cabinet post and plans to reverse downloading and expand GO service for Hamilton are carried through.

Let's all hope for construction cooperation rather than the political games one sometimes gets with minorities.

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted October 07, 2011 at 08:00:12

The Liberal provincial election victory is as close to a majority as it can get without being one. To pass a piece of provincial legislation in the next term, the Liberal government needs one PC or NDP MPP to be absent or to vote independently from his or her party on a particular issue. On the other hand, the NDP has now entered "balance of power" territory.

Meanwhile, Andrew Dreschel's column titled "Bratina has to mend fences" in the Hamilton Spectator today (apparently not yet available online) contains some poignant observations on the hazards of mayoral partisanship:

"How Bratina's endorsement of the Liberals will play out in this wobbly new environment in which the New Democrats hold the balance of power at Queen's Park remains to be seen.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath is keeping her cards close to her vest but clearly she's become the kingmaker.

From now on, whether the NDP and Liberals come to an official governing agreement or not, McGuinty will have to tiptoe his way around the stark new reality that his party is no longer unilaterally calling the shots.

Against that backdrop, Bratina's reckless partisan stance in what everybody knew was going to be a close race has cast a giant shadow of doubt over his political judgment and blown a gaping hole in his credibility.

Obviously he needs to mend fences with the suddenly influential New Democrats and work on his personal relationships with Taylor and the other local MPPs."

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-10-07 08:00:52

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted October 07, 2011 at 10:14:00 in reply to Comment 70380

The problem is that I could see the NDP being very careful about pulling the trigger on an election to avoid the kind of anti-election backlash that the Liberals faced in the Federal parliament.

The Liberals have to know this, so I'm expecting Harper-style brinkmanship out of McGuinty - pushing his agenda through the opposition by making everything a confidence issue... so the public will loathe whoever decided that arguing with him was worth forcing an election over.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted October 07, 2011 at 09:09:51

Apparently I've just realized that Monique Taylor was most recently assistant to Councillor Scott Duvall (Ward 7). So whatever her relationship is with Bratina, it may have been influenced to a degree at least by whatever interaction she's had with him/his office while working for Councillor Duvall.

This is why it's always important to cultivate positive relationships with people (and this includes staff, which all too many people forget) because you never know what the "hierarchy" will look like tomorrow.

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By stanley (anonymous) | Posted October 07, 2011 at 09:22:07 in reply to Comment 70381

that relationship seems to already be in trouble.

http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog/2306/whitehead_bratina_spar_over_ethics_of_party_endorsement

I really hope we don't get mired in minor partisan squabbles based on personality issues. The Liberals and NDP need to see how close they are relative to the ideological gap from the conservatives.

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By stanley (anonymous) | Posted October 07, 2011 at 09:14:34

Every urbanist in Ontario should be celebrating today. 6 months ago it looked like a conservative trifecta was a sure thing. Rob Ford seems bad but he's one vote. A Hudak government wouldn't have had the guts to really cut health care and education, so he would have cut municipal transfers, attacked planning legislation, gutted transit, built the mid-pen, and generally undermined cities. Look at the voting distribution; suburbs and rural areas a deep blue, cities red or orange.

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By hamcen (anonymous) | Posted October 07, 2011 at 09:52:49

I don't have the strong reaction to Bratina's endorsement that some do. I'd rather have politicians come out and say what they think than hide it. I'm more interested in what Bratina will actually accomplish for Hamilton. Hamilton needs the reversal of downloading to continue and we need provincial resources for public transportation. Those were key Liberal promises for this area and I think the NDP will support them provided they don't get caught up in wanting resources spent elsewhere - such as lowering gas prices and provided all the parties, including the Liberals, don't get caught up in the politicking that minorities sometimes encourage.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted October 07, 2011 at 10:07:28 in reply to Comment 70385

Honestly, it's less about the endorsement itself than the pattern of behavior from Bratina. After the LRT debacle, it looks more and more like he works for the provincial Liberals instead of the people of Hamilton.

That and it's hypocritical since he went after a councilor for the exact same thing.

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By BeulahAve (registered) | Posted October 07, 2011 at 10:06:45

Given the election outcomes for Hamilton, esp the loss of a Liberal seat on the mountain, I now think it was a good thing that Bratina endorsed the Liberals. Someone will need to keep Hamilton on the Liberal radar screen.

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted October 07, 2011 at 11:11:46 in reply to Comment 70386

Bratina gambled but only won a partial share of the pot. Despite what may have happened at the party level, the likelihood of a mixed outcome among city MPPs was always high. Aggelonitis losing her seat was probably more of a surprise, and McMeekin was in for a fight to keep his. But rarely does a party leader who is in good standing with voters lose his or her own riding, and Horwath was in little danger of doing so. And Hudak's riding overlaps the city boundary too - it was a good bet he'd keep it as well.

With a local political climate as mixed as that, why endorse anyone?

Horwath gained quite a lot this election. More recognition and credibility province wide, more NDP strength in the legislature by virtue of holding more seats, but most importantly the power of owning a deciding vote between disparate parties. McGuinty may be saying he won't court partnerships, but you can bet the Liberals will do their damnedest to make new friends and renew old friendships when difficult issues are up for debate.

So while some may think Hamilton's position has been weakened because we lost a cabinet minister, I think having the leader of the more "friendly" opposition party in town provides way more opportunity.

Bratina should have realized all of this. Or someone on his advisory team should have done so and emphasized it with him. It was better to say nothing, and let all suitors come calling, than to declare his love for one and risk being spurned altogether.

Did his apparent need to speak just to say something trump his better judgment? Or did he actually believe in what he was saying and felt a sea of red was likely to wash over this area? Hard to tell with him. But now he has to make some new friends too to effectively push the city agenda from the municipal level, and he has neither the suave nor the savvy of a McGuinty to help grease the wheels for that.

Watch him come out and claim he felt this is what would happen all along, though. And that he didn't put down the other parties and is happy to talk with all local MPPs about Hamilton issues. Backtracking and re-messaging are things he can do beautifully.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted October 07, 2011 at 10:09:44 in reply to Comment 70386

Well, with the minority, it's not like the NDP will be powerless.

I just hope Horwath remembers who she works for... sadly, she's going to have a very full plate with trying to hold onto her new seats in the North and her plans to tackle household expenses like power and gas.

I don't know if she'll have much time for us Hamiltonians.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted October 07, 2011 at 13:37:20 in reply to Comment 70388

She has a lot on her plate, that's for sure. Pretty proud of my old Councillor. Still, this will likely be pretty good for Hamilton, for reasons mentioned above.

The main effect of the shift in the balance of power, I suspect and hope, will be the increased difficulty involved in Liberal/Conservative partnerships.

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By Bobby1 (anonymous) | Posted October 07, 2011 at 13:42:11

I don't believe Mayor Bratina either helped or hindered Hamilton with his Liberal support in the end, but could have, if we ended up with a PC majority! The Mayor should have remained neutral,but, just like he never had a platform for his election, he continues to lack forsight for possible ramifications of his statements! The Mayor is a talker,rather than a thinker! Ward 14 & 15 Councillors also endorsed the Liberal candidate Ted McMeekin,who is an excellent MPP, but again that endorsement could have went sideways if Skelly won! It appears to me,that some on City Council,at the risk of Hamilton citizens,wish to enhance their own contacts and future political endorsement if they chose to expand their own horizons! No harm done this time,but what if election results had been different! Politics in Hamilton is a blood sport, much like the TV program Survivor,tell others what they want to hear at the time,then throw them (citizens) under the bus when it suits your person goals!

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By good luck andrea (anonymous) | Posted October 07, 2011 at 15:01:01

I had no doubt that Andrea would win her seat again and I was glad that Monique took out Sophia.

I was not especially impressed by any of the platforms laid out by any of the parties. I feel that the NDP could of gone a lot further on the poverty issue and keeping the corporations in check, as this is a major issue for all across the globe.

We need fearless leasders who will stand up for the people, so far, I have not really seen that from any of them.








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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted October 07, 2011 at 18:27:39 in reply to Comment 70393

Platform-wise, the Liberals and NDP are rarely very different. Performance in office is another matter, but agree, they could really use a little imagination. There's a lot of good people in the NDP, but the party as a whole is paralysed by their fear of seeming too "radical". All other things being equal, I would have bet on the Greens overtaking them sometime soon, but the implosion of the Liberals has given them a new lease on life. The question is whether they can run with it...

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By Steve (registered) | Posted October 07, 2011 at 19:59:45

My big concern is that I got nothing to my door in this election. Not even a lousy business card. That says to me that my neighbourhood and Hamilton in general just doesn't matter. And that concerns me greatly.

In last years municipal election I received at least one thing from every candidate. How impressive is that!! Something from the well funded incumbent all the way down to the thinly funded fringe candidate. To all their credit every one of them delivered to my door.

This provincial election nothing, absolutely nothing. I don`t matter. Nothing from the incumbent (Horwath), nothing from the so called challengers. Nothing. I fear for Hamilton provincially. I really do.

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By roentgen (anonymous) | Posted October 07, 2011 at 22:41:56

insult spam deleted

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-10-10 22:25:20

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By TnT (registered) | Posted October 09, 2011 at 10:39:35 in reply to Comment 70396

Shame on you. I love disagreement, but this is blatantly rude. No one on this site makes money from it, it is about the overall improvement of the world we live in.

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By roentgen (anonymous) | Posted October 10, 2011 at 22:00:59 in reply to Comment 70403

insult spam deleted

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-10-10 22:25:25

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By ad (anonymous) | Posted October 09, 2011 at 13:06:59

Its hard to blow a hole into something that does not exist

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By Richard (anonymous) | Posted October 09, 2011 at 16:00:00

I am happy that they did not get a majority.

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By hamcen (anonymous) | Posted October 09, 2011 at 20:14:37 in reply to Comment 70405

What difference do you expect it to make? One large difference in the platforms was taxes. The PC would decrease corporate taxes, the NDP would increase them, while the Libs would keep them the same. They'll stay the same, don't you think?

On gas/oil, both the NDP and PC would decrease the taxes but the NDP was going to pay for this with increased corporate taxes while the PC would pay for it with decreased government programs. So those 2 parties could agree to decrease those gas/oil taxes but they won't agree on how to pay for them and they would suffer extreme voter backlash if they just decreased taxes, with no means of paying for it.

Perhaps the PC and NDP can stop some of the green energy programs, but McGuinty might do this anyway since he probably is losing votes on it. We'd likely have an election before the Liberals introduce a buy-Ontario program and I doubt that both the NDP and PC would oppose programs like extending GO trains.

What funding/legislation do you think might be changed by the fact that McGuinty doesn't have a majority?

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By Jim (anonymous) | Posted October 10, 2011 at 21:54:05

insult spam deleted

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-10-10 22:26:07

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By Party Hack (anonymous) | Posted October 11, 2011 at 21:46:38

McGuinty doesn't have to do ANYTHING for Hamilton since the people of Hamilton decided not to elect liberals.
Why waste scarce capital?
He needs to put the money in Toronto to stop any bleeding of votes to the NDP and P.C's in the future.
Are the people of Hamilton Mountain nuts?
They elected a former waitress who has no education or business experience to represent them. What does she really bring to the table other than NDP solidarity.

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