Since Confederation in 1867, the fewest seats that the Ontario Liberals have ever held was the 8 seats they won in the 1951 general election.
8 seats is all the government must hold in order to maintain official party status.
Since May 11, however, the CBC’s Poll Tracker has never projected the Wynne government to hold on to 8 or more seats after next Thursday’s general election.
As of today, the government is expected to hang on to just one seat.
The one seat that the Liberals are currently projected to win is Toronto—St. Paul’s.
Toronto—St. Paul’s is in a relatively wealthy neighbourhood, north of downtown but south of North York. Very roughly, for those who are familiar with Toronto, its boundaries are from Eglinton Ave to Dupont St and from Dufferin St to Yonge St.
The seat has been held by Eric Hoskins, who served as a cabinet minister for Premiers McGuinty and Wynne. He was most recently Ontario’s Health Minister from 2014 to 2018. He resigned as an MPP in February and is not seeking re-election.
He was also one of the 2013 leadership candidates whose eventual endorsement of Kathleen Wynne was critical to her rise to the premiership, overtaking favourite Sandra Pupatello.
The rookie candidate who could be the Liberals’ sole MPP after next week is rookie lawyer Jess Spindler, whose LinkedIn profile indicates that she was a law student this time last year.
Despite how forgiving or forgetful voters can be at times, there is only so much that politicians can get away with before they become simply unelectable.
In the past decade and a half, the Liberals have come to rely on the weakness of the opposition, both the NDP and the PCs. Scandal, after scandal, after scandal, the government has shown voters that they have simply forgotten how to keep their hands out of the cookie jar.
Ontario’s political landscape needs a change of scenery. Although we can wish for better alternatives, at least we can be hopeful that our fellow Ontarians know how to – eventually – draw the line.
Cautious Optimism for the Future
I find it impossible to hope that the Liberals would learn their lesson from being wiped off the map. We can still hope, however, that perhaps the other parties will see the Wynne government collapse as a valuable lesson.