Feb 14, 2014
By Jane Brown
Ontario’s minority Liberals lost both provincial by-elections yesterday. The Progressive Conservatives held on to the riding of Thornhill, while the New Democrats took Niagara Falls, which had been Liberal for a decade. Premier Kathleen Wynne says these losses will not be repeated in the next general election, which many speculate will be as early as this spring. Wynne was with her losing candidate in Thornhill when she admitted it was a bad outcome for the Liberals. “This is a hard night. We’re not going to pretend that it’s not a hard night for everyone that has worked so hard. But tomorrow morning we’re going to get up and we’re going to start the fight for the next time.”
The leaders of the opposition parties took their respective by-election victories as an opportunity to begin campaigning. PC Leader Tim Hudak was beaming as he stood beside Gila Martow, his winning candidate in Thornhill. “Let’s put the million jobs plan in action and let’s get this great province of Ontario back on track and back on top,” Hudak exclaimed.
In Niagara Falls where Wayne Gates is the new MPP, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said voters have sent a message to the Liberals. “I would just hope that Ms. Wynne and the Liberals are listening carefully to what the people of Ontario have told her in these by-elections, which is pay attention to our issues and our concerns for a change.”
The victories for the opposition parties could give them a boost to topple Wynne’s government in a confidence motion over the provincial budget expected in late March or early April, which would trigger a spring election.
Wynne made more than $100-million in promises during the by-election campaigns, but the Liberal candidate in Niagara Falls finished a distant third.
Once the two rookies are formerly sworn in, the Liberals will have 49 MPPs, The Tories will have 37 and the NDP 21.