Investors seek economic policy details after Conservatives win Ontario election

Populist Doug Ford's election victory in Ontario on Thursday will send investors searching for an economic blueprint for the right-leaning Progressive Conservative Party, which ended 15 years of Liberal rule in Canada's most populous province.

The PCs didn't just beat the Liberals, they decimated them, leaving the party fighting to win nine seats at press time (eight seats are needed for party status in the Ontario legislature).

Mayor Jim Watson says he's committed to building a "productive working relationship" with Premier Designate Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives. The only MPPs who predate Wynne's time as leader are Michael Coteau and the indestructible Mike Gravelle, who hung on to his seat in Thunder Bay-Superior North. Coteau, a progressive Liberal who won his seat in 2011 and endorsed Wynne in the 2013 leadership race, is already a frontrunner to succeed Wynne as party leader.

Unofficial results now indicate that 58 per cent of eligible voters in the province cast their ballot, including those who voted by mail, at returning offices, in hospital, through home visit, during advance voting and on election day.

For Horwath it would certainly have been her last election as leader had she landed in third place yet again. Ontario's debt has ballooned under the Liberal Party, soaring to 37 per cent of gross domestic product, from about 27 per cent when they took power in 2003. While the tax cuts, a pledge to reduce government "waste", and his plain-spoken tone evoked elements of Trump, there are key differences: immigration played virtually no role in the campaign, and first- and second-generation Canadians are core supporters of the Ford family's campaigns.

"It's hard to believe that someone who has never held office other than as a municipal elected to lead the largest economy in a G7 country", he added. Ford has vowed to scrap a cap-and-trade program aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and to cut corporate and personal taxes.

The NDP succeeded in doubling its number of seats in the legislature, while Schreiner made history by winning his party's first seat in Ontario.

In a research note, BMO Capital Markets senior economist Robert Kavcic said a rough estimate based on campaign promises suggests the province's budget could be in the C$5 billion to C$6 billion range for fiscal 2020-2021, excluding "efficiencies" Ford promised to find without cutting jobs. Rob Ford died of cancer in March 2016.

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Her New Democrats saw a surge in the polls halfway through the campaign, triggering a wave of attacks from both the governing Liberals and the opposition Tories.

Horwath's campaign slogan was "Change for the better".

The NDP leader has consistently polled as the most popular of the three party leaders vying to become the next premier of Ontario.

Wynne had been putting up dismal approval numbers for nearly two years before the vote and had vigorously resisted any nudge toward that proverbial walk in the snow.

Wynne, who was re-elected in her riding of Don Valley West, admitted last week that she was unlikely to win after five years as premier.

With the defeat of Wynne and the Liberals, Trudeau loses a valuable ally in his promotion of his progressive, pro-feminist agenda and leaves him more open to clashes with Canada's strong provincial governments.

About 768,895 people voted at advanced polling stations between May 26 and June 1, compared to 647,261 who voted early in 2014, according to Elections Ontario.

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath watches the election results from her headquarters in Hamilton, Ont. on Thurs.

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