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.