Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ontario Election, June 5th 2014?

A quick post following a quick check of some facts.
1 - The budget will be presented on May 1st.
2 - Elections in Ontario are 28 days by law. (As far as I know, this is the minimum, not maximum)
3 - The last two elections, and, fixed election date law, says elections take place on Thursdays.
4 - Budgets are usually not voted on the day they are presented.

Should the budget be debated for a week, this puts any vote on it, (and thus a Vote of Non Confidence, or VoNC) on the 8th.

Should the government fall on a VoNC on the 8th, this would trigger a 28 day election, landing election day on June 5th.

In the middle of this is the May 24 weekend. There is some logic to having a mid-election holiday, as it gives families a chance to get together around the dinner table. This is important as one or more members may say "man, I really hate that ___ guy" or "I really like what I'm hearing from the ___ party". It's not so much that a lengthy and deep discussion of politics occurs, as much as regular voters, who often do not discuss politics, can realize "heh, I didn't think anyone else thought like I did on this issue." This is how momentum can swing; check the polls from the 2006 federal election for how this can work.

With no clear front-runner to downplay a debate, chances are we have more than one. Given the holiday, I say we have two; one before the weekend and one after. My guesses are the 21st and 28th of May. There is no way the Greens show up for the debate; nor would any fussing by them really capture much attention beyond the usual suspects.

As you know, I'm a member of the Liberal Party of Canada, but I talk less about provincial politics, as I'm a member of the provincial Greens. As a Green, I do feel there is some logic to having the Greens in debates in all provinces; after all the Greens are the universal "next" party. They finished 3rd in the most recent SK, BC, and PE elections. 4th in most provinces. In provinces with an extra party, like the PQ, they tend to finish 5th. I do think that you can make a real and valid argument to include the Greens on that basis.

However, what we face here in Ontario is 3 parties, all at about 30% support. Even the worst polls, from 2012, never had any of the big 3 parties dipping below 20%, while no poll has had the Greens above 10%. All 3 major parties are guaranteed a few seats, while the Greens will be extremely lucky to win 1 seat. It's not that Greens should always be excluded, as some seem to think, but that in this election, including them makes no sense. Thus I say as a Green member, the Greens do not belong in the debate.

As for who will win, that remains to be seen. The most recent poll had the Liberals at near 40%. I ignore that. We remember what happened in Quebec when the government started to pull away and called an election. As I understand things, we have a truly open contest.

There are 6 possible outcomes. All 6 are realistic and real possibilities.
Majority, for either the Liberals, PC, or NDP. Minority for either the Liberals, PC, or NDP.
As time goes on, polls will determine which of these become unlikely. If the NDP can not improve it's poll numbers, an NDP victory can be scratched off the table. The same goes for any other party that takes a huge dive.

Lastly, a more personal note. I got to meet with Premier Wynne and pitch to her my ideas for Public Transit. I was somewhat limited to discussing Transit, but that's okay, as Transit is one of my top key issues; I rate it #1 ahead of Senate Reform.

My #3 idea is transportation as a whole. More freeways, better freeways, less traffic, less congestion.

While meeting with the Premier, I told her that I think she can win an election on this. Her actual Moving Ontario Forward plan is stronger than I was able to pitch. While it does not contain 100% of what I'd like to see, I am a realist, and know that this is the best way to get half of what's needed in place so we can build the other half as an addition.

As far as I can tell, the Ontario Liberals are doing everything they need to. If they do screw up, I'll let you all know. However, this brings to me a personal dilemma.

I told the Premier she can win on this plan. I told her that because I honestly believe it. Now she is running on this plan.

A loss for her on the issue will not only be a loss for me, but for Ontario as well.


  1. What are the differences between the Liberals, NDP and PC in terms of transit?

    1. If a party does not think they can win, they make logical, reasonable, and rational commitments. If they think they will only win a minority, they include the caveat that should it be a minority, they won't do it. Any party that does win has a crappy plan.

      At least that's how the last half-dozen or so elections have gone.

  2. While I agree with your assessment above I do not think the Government would wait a week before introducing the budget bill. If the budget speech is delivered on May 1st first reading would most likely happen the following Monday, May 5th. It is unusual for bills to be defeated on first reading (since they are traditionally an oral vote) but, if Tim and Andrea are feeling restless they could call for a recorded vote and the bill could be defeated at first reading. Having said this I do not think such a scenario would change the date of the election, June 5th. You are correct 28 days is the minimum and there is no statutory maximum although, the Crown may unilaterally impose a date if the date requested was unreasonable.

  3. I read in either the Star or Globe and Mail that the election will likely happen as late as June 26th. There can be four weeks of reading/debating before a motion of no confidence vote, plus there will be a week off during the Victoria Day holiday.

    I don't know if all that is necessary. We all know the NDP will not prop up the Liberals this time around. Wynne should just pull the plug once the budget is presented.

    The electorate is ready for an election. There is no need for anybody to play the "unnecessary election" card. There was some election fatigue in 2010-2011, but it's been 2 and a half years since there a vote for any level of government has held in Ontario.

    My prediction: the Liberals will remain in office with a reduced minority consisting of 40-45 seats. The PC and NDP should be able to take a couple of ridings from the Liberals. The Liberals will not win any new seats, just hold on to the ones they already hold.

    The NDP should be able to keep what they gained in their by-elections, while having the potential to take a couple Southwestern ridings from the PCs. PCs can pick up

    This reduced minority Liberal government will survive till at least 2016. We got a municipal election this fall and a federal election that could happen any time in 2015. Also, a new PC leader needs to get elected, establish himself (will be a him), raise money etc. The NDP would also need time to raise money and strengthen their presence in certain parts of the province.

    1. Big Jay,

      "Debate" can not continue for a month if it does not pass first reading. The vote on First reading almost always happens immediately after a bill is presented before the House (first reading). The purpose of the vote is for the House to accept the bill for future debate. In some provinces the budget speech is separate from first reading. This may be the case in Ontario since, they have ministerial statements as part of the daily routine but, generally speaking the budget speech is the first reading of the budget bill. Since, money bills are confidence votes it is nearly impossible to have a month of debate before a confidence vote occurs, the vote on first reading is a confidence vote.

      A June 26th election is still well within the realm of possibilities even with a May 1st election call. Generally speaking incumbents prefer shorter election campaigns and the opposition prefer longer campaigns. At 56 days this may be one of the longer campaigns in modern history but, not extraordinary long. The last federal campaign was 37 days long and the 2006 federal election campaign was 69 days long. It should be noted the premier chooses what date to hold the election subject to some statutory rules such as election must be held on a Monday or Thursday or elections may not be held on a statutory holiday.