03.31.2017 07:42 AM

Dear #ONPOLI: Seven seats? Seven?

It’s Forum. It’s early. It’s voodoo seat projection. But:

The poll found not only would the Liberals suffer a crushing defeat in the election, they would also lose official party status.

The poll suggests voters would elect the Progressive Conservatives with a huge majority at 43 per cent support, while the NDP would be the Official Opposition at 28 per cent. The Liberals would be in third place at 19 per cent support.

The Tories would snag 86 seats with the NDP at 29 seats. The Liberals would only manage to snag seven seats. Right now, there are 107 seats at Queen’s Park, but that will rise to 122 seats in the 2018 election. Parties need eight seats to maintain official party status in Ontario.

I’ve got the smartest political commenters around. So, a serious question: if you were Kathleen Wynne, what would you do to fix this? 

Be specific. Be serious. Be strategic. The smartest suggestions will be posted below, soon. 


  1. Gyor says:

    Honestly the OLP aren’t even at rock bottom, Andrea Horwath could make the argument that the OLP has burned too many bridges and had too many scandals to stop the OPCs and that only the ONDP can stop that stop Patrick Brown, and then years of Liberals pushing the strategic voting narrative against the NDP come home to roost.

  2. Don MacNeil says:

    Resign! She has no other choice. The damage is too extensive to be repaired and the ship is going down. Time to get into the lifeboats and hope a rescue ship comes in the form of a new leader. I am not sure they have be dynamic or charismatic, they just have to NOT be Kathleen Wynne. Times-a-tickin’…

  3. SmallTownON says:

    Fifteen years is a long time in power, and I suspect that even a change in leader won’t be enough to help the OLP maintain power. I know many people feel the premier is a kind of asset for the party in terms of how articulate she is, what a campaigner she is, etc. … but at this stage, the ship has just taken on too much water.

    They are due for a period “in the wilderness” and will hopefully use that time to regroup, recommit, change their leadership and formulate coherent policy. The election is Brown’s to lose.

  4. Daniel says:

    Proportional representation would save them a few seats. Also, cancelling the deeply unpopular sale of Hydro One. Amalgamating the public and Catholic school boards.

    All of which would be right thing to do, so I’m certain they won’t go for it.

  5. Dan says:

    Proportional representation would save them a few seats. Also, cancelling the deeply unpopular sale of Hydro One. Amalgamating the public and Catholic school boards.

  6. Michael S says:

    I would submit my resignation before Victoria Day, and encourage the party to a leadership convention before November, preferably the weekend after Thanksgiving.

    • Michael S says:

      Now a separate entry for her successor. Whomever that is, that person has to demonstrate a clear break from the past. On Hydro, on other issues, and offer a vision that isn’t Wynne’s slick form of muddling through. That is failure. This includes some clear breaks with Wynne’s policies. Something distinct enough to not force a new leader’s resignation even if they lose. They probably will. This is about saving the family silver.

      As for the party in the meantime, I’d make sure some crown jewels like funding for public transport are in the books before the election.

  7. Bill Templeman says:

    I do not fit the profile Warren is after, but here’s my 2 cents worth:

    1) Educate the public as to the nature of the financial situation of the province. Explain debt, deficit, debt servicing costs, operational costs, capital investment budgets, maintenance budgets, etc. Make all this Accounting 101 stuff highly accessible. Do this education as far as possible in a non-ideological way. Explain the impact of status quo vs. taking corrective action. Don’t blame, deny or obfuscate. Explain it all in kitchen-table language a smart 12 year-old could understand.

    2) Once the education campaign is done (3 months minimum), suggest corrective actions such as the following. Treat the public like adults; explain why and how. Explain that there is going to be pain.

    (A) winding down, if not eliminating, all the capital spending by the Ministry of Education. Our school populations are plummeting, yet spending is going up. Stop closing functioning schools. Stop busing kids huge distances, Smaller and local is better and cheaper.

    (B) Restructure Ontario’s Community College system. We don’t need 24 community colleges competing with one another. Keep the 24 community colleges open, but stop colleges from competing for students by eliminating program duplication. For example, maybe only 3 Ontario colleges should offer Police Foundations instead of over 20 colleges offering this program.

    (C) Public school boards and community colleges are administration-heavy. Too many complex job-titles (non-classroom) earning unsustainably high salaries. Community college CEOs should not earn more than our Prime Minister. Currently they do. Faculty salaries need to be frozen

    (D) Ditto for health care re (C). Too many non-service delivery positions earning unsustainably high salaries. These cutbacks should not be applied to service delivery ranks, like doctors and nurses.

    (E) More spending in health care on prevention in comparison to trauma/disease treatment. Long term savings possible.

    Let the Games Begin…

    • dave constable says:

      Just on your 2, A and 2, C, 1980’s are some time back, but end of that decade I came across a couple of reports saying that when the school system is centralized, with larger schools and more transport of students from their communities, there is a increase in administration/administrators…and their large costs.

    • doconnoronca says:

      1) May I suggest Economics for Everyone. (This book is strongly pro deficit spending.)

      2A) The places when the student population is plummeting are a huge bussing distance from where they are booming.

  8. Bud McFarthy says:

    She needs a game changing policy proposal to make the election a referendum on that rather than her. Like Mulroney and free trade in 88, it’s about the only way she can change the channel with any degree of control. It can’t be a tinkering move (especially a dumb one) like the 25% hydro “price cut” either.

    And even if she does it well, she’s probably still toast.

  9. Table a a Bill giving the OSC power to review And limit Corporate compensation packages of Publicly traded corporations.

  10. Isaac says:

    Why do they have to use the word “snag” so much?

  11. Jay S says:

    War room the hell out Brown. He used to be a sleezy so-con who got to be leader on the backs of pro-lifers and family values people. His backbench are a bunch of mouth breathers and knuckle draggers. They don’t represent typical voters. But they’ve done an expert job of redefining themselves as benign, moderate and tempered. Drag up the past and put it front and centre. Define them by their own actions, not just Trump metaphors. Don’t let them hide behind a few years of keeping quiet on divisive issues. But that’s only a start. She’s got to redefine herself and the party, because the Tim Horton’s crowd is really fed up.

    • Morgan says:

      This ↑↑↑ Brown’s a smarmy, sleazy guy and Ontarians don’t know it. But, I don’t think they will ever know, because they probably won’t go there, or are not capable. Also has (Trump campaigners in his office). Reminds me of 2011. Who did that? Oh yeah …

      Wynne’s been too trusting with her people who helped destroy the feds to third place and the war chest will be stripped bare because of them. And they won’t give a shit, pretend it’s not them because they got paid and ran off at the first chance.

      Aside from those things, this has been a turtle government. Slow and inwards. She needed to have made faster, more responsive policy decisions and should start now. She doesn’t seem to know what urgency is. She acknowledged in the summer she made a mistake on not handling hydro rates? Then she should have introduced it in the fall God Damn It! Have the ‘crats and lawyers work pulling all nighters for the re-jig, whatever it takes. Legislation to stop winter hydro disconnections at the very end of February? Nope. Sorry, no credit from me (a liberal supporter) when you act too late. Same thing on crazy housing prices and rent. This problem has been well established, but she going act too late for a lot of us to forgive her.

      Suggestion? Put out good policy after policy and don’t stop. Not little niche ones like she’s been doing. But transformative ones. And Stop being so Effing Slow! (Does she live in a bubble?)

      She also talks with her hands WAY, WAY too much especially when she’s talking about something that’s not gone well (so a lot). It looks like she’s panicked and treading water. Literally. Someone, Jane, Chris, maybe, please pass that on. I really do want to vote Wynne and OLP in 2018, but they’re making it so hard.

  12. Christian says:

    Go policy or go home. I think thats the slogan they need to go with. Personal popularity isn’t going to do it for Wynne and Patrick Brown is still playing a Trump-ish game of ‘I’ll reduce your electricity bills but I won’t say how until after I’m elected’. The PCs have also pushed their policy convention to November so now is a good time for the Libs to start putting policy in the window. There’s plenty of issues to latch onto. Here are 5:

    1) a province wide guaranteed annual income (outflanking the NDP),
    2) rent controls (again outflanking the NDP and addressing a serious issue in the City of Toronto where their reversal on tolls did them no favours),
    3) preserving the greenbelt – even expanding it (outflank the NDP, Greens and put the PCs on the defensive when their developer buddies scream blue murder),
    4) continue to provide funding needed for transit in the 416, 905, the renatuarlization of the Don River Mouth (addressing a serious flooding risk and opening up the Portlands to wholesale revitalization – help shore up their weakened Fortress Toronto), and infrastructure improvements across the province in general (i.e.: maybe tackle the drinking water crisis on reserves),
    6) Abolish the OMB (popular in the 416 – especially in Wynne’s own riding around Yonge and Eg., the 905 and pretty well everywhere else in Ontario that’s been burned by poor decisions regarding development also empowers municipalities so good for local democracy and saves the province money too).

    The list of initiatives and policy options is endless. If the Liberals take this approach and redefine themselves as the ‘activist’ Party that proactively investing in Ontario. They can then turn around and legitimately ask Brown and the PCs ‘what are you proposing to do?’ ‘are you going to take away these things al la Harris? A la Trump?’ It allows them to go on the offensive, get in front of some serious issues that have been left to fester for too long and hopefully change the channel.

    Anyway, just my 2 cents.

  13. Christian Conservative says:

    One word: RESIGN. It’s the ONLY option for her to save the OLP. A fresh coat of paint can do wonders, did for them when McGuinty took a walk in the snow. (that, and Hudak blowing it during the election)

  14. Gerry Todd says:

    My advice to Kathleen Wynne would be:
    To resign, humbly acknowledging the historic nature of her tenure and the progress it represents. Then offer a serious mea culpa for having left behind such widespread dissatisfaction, and give confident expression that the best way forward is to the speak to the best in people’s nature.
    My advice to the party would be:
    To turn the leadership over to an outsider who can credibly take on issues that draw voter rage, even against some of the party’s own record. Starting, I’d say, with public sector executive “compensation.” (That term means the redressing of a wrong. Serving as the head of a public institution is not a wrong. It is a privilege. Those executives need to have that explained to them in the starkest of terms.)
    Yes, I realize this is an NDP talking point, but they have no capacity to manage or execute, they only know how to criticize. The PCs are led by a dolt (albeit a hardworking one) who cannot pronounce “Ontarians.” (He says “Ontarioans”). So become the best option for change.
    It’s a longshot, but better to go down with a fight and heads held high.

  15. doconnor says:

    Implement Proportional Representation.

    It will show they can be bold, unlike Brown will says whatever is politically expediant. Even if they still get 19%, they will have a lot more seats and the balance of power.

  16. Lance says:

    She should bite the bullet and leave so the Party they can have time to get a leader in place, save the deck chairs, and at least retain Party status. The Liberals had an amazing run, but as you know, not every Party stays in power forever, and even their supporters should acknowledge thst.

  17. Eastern Rebellion says:

    The one thing they shouldn’t do is panic. Rash decisions made in that state will only reinforce the negative stereotypes currently held by the public. I agree with other opinions on the page that Mr. Brown is very vulnerable to any type of thorough examination. Take the fight to him on his turf, because I think the premier can win any one on one contest with him. Emphasize everything that urban Ontario finds offensive about the PC’s (which should not be difficult). I think there is a significant portion of the electorate who are not traditional conservatives (especially of the Patrick Brown variety), and if they can be given the alternative of Wynne or Brown, they may just hold their noses and vote Liberal. That means outflanking the NDP (as happened federally in the last election) and encouraging their supporters to back the Liberals to keep the PC’s out. Make sure the electorate knows that all of the things they like (no teacher strikes, better healthcare, early full day kindergarten, reduced hydro) will be at risk if the Liberals lose. Contrary to other suggestions here, I think opening up a portion of the Greenbelt will be very welcome. One of the problems (whether perceived or actual) with the current housing issues in the GTA is lack of inventory. Opening up certain areas for lets say 100,000 units could pay real dividends. Lots of construction jobs, and the middle class 905 voters would love it (which is an area the Liberals need to keep if they want to win). I really think lack of a credible opponent is the one thing that could salvage the next election. Maybe calling the election before any of the currently scheduled court cases involving the government comes up too might not be a bad idea. Not sure they can do that though.

  18. ernest lustig says:

    Get rid of those old “cronies” around Wynne that destroyed the Federal Liberals for 10 years.

  19. Luke says:

    Is there enough time for a new leader to have a shot?

    If not, Wynne and all Ontario liberals should accept the high probability of a loss, and act accordingly. She can frankly explain any and all decisions her government has made, without fear of consequence, if she accepts inevitable loss. She can also say wth all honesty what she intends to do if reelected in the context of Ontario’s problems and her past leadership. Honesty is probably going to be as or more palatable than anything to voters at this point. I don’t think promises or distractions are going to do anything at this point, certainly not in isolation.

  20. Jameshalifax says:

    Of course she has to resign. Her replacement has to fess up that the polices of McGinty and Wynne destroyed the economy, and that the new leader will repeal the Green Energy Act.

    They need to quit being so arrogant,and admit they have failed. failing that, they can always remind people that the PC’s leader believes in god. That should scare the folks who usually vote Liberal or NDP who are wavering.

  21. P. Brenn says:

    Bring back Sandra Pupatello

  22. ernest lustig says:

    Get rid of those old “cronies” around Wynne that destroyed the Federal Liberals for 10 years.

  23. David White says:

    Use the funds from the sell off of Hydro One to buy back Tim Hortons from those brazillian bastards of efficiency and institute Roll up the Rim 365 days of the year with a special tab that makes you Premier for a day.
    Use the revenue generated to fund the best provincial daycare program in the country and improve hospital wait times.

    If the Leafs make the playoffs (and they most likely will), wear a Leafs jersey everyday they play and a Raps jersey on alternate days. Pray for a long playoff run. If god forbid the Leafs win the cup, find a way to call an early election.
    If not, hope the Leafs and Raps are even better next year.

    Maybe I am serious or maybe I believe that the only thing likely to save the Liberals would be the mother of all skeletons in Patrick Brown’s closet or a serious mistake.
    I don’t think she should resign. It will be a clear sign of defeat and no one is going to buy a new leader = a new party.

    Sometimes you have to let the electorate burn the party to the ground so there is a real chance for new growth.

    • Bill Templeman says:

      Now wait a minute, David. I am all for free speech, but not for alternative facts. The Leafs win the Cup? C’mon. Everyone knows this is the Habs’ year. In fairness, your Leafs will make the playoffs and they may even make it to the 2nd round; where Carey Price will bury them. Really fast rookies. Love their skating. But short on skills just yet.

  24. Jim says:

    Wynne should have a private chat with the talk radio folks and figure out what lights up their phones. Make a list and go populist. Hydro, schools, liquor in corner stores (every food store becomes an agent of the LCBO), raise speed limits on the 400 series from that insanely low 100km/h, etc. Do it all. Own the water cooler and coffee break talk. Hearts over minds. Go populist.

  25. Mark Kalzer says:

    It’s weird. I feel like Wynne has gotten a ton of negativity, but I also feel that people for the most part, aren’t really checked in with everything going on.

    There’s been some problems, but when I look to how bad things were under Mike Harris, or how bad things are now under Trump, I cannot possibly believe Kathleen Wynne is worse than both of those combined. This is a function of narrative, in that she’s been in power, and so there’s really no other Ontario premier of right now to compare her to.

    She just needs to run a really great campaign, and that’s it. One of the things I loathe about political discourse is how much thought and energy is put into up to the minute polls when the election is still months and months away. Everyone knew, at a time that Justin Trudeau would never become Prime Minister, or that Donald Trump had no chance of ever being in the White House. In my short years of watching this, I’ve seen things change very quickly.

    So I think that’s just it. Run a really great campaign, right when everyone is finally paying attention. All this talk of negative polling, of how she should resign now and let some phantom candidate in the wings run a suicide campaign feels rash.

  26. Ruth says:

    She lost her left leaning support with the Hydro one sell-off, no matter how brilliantly they thought they crafted it. Because of how poorly it was communicated it allowed the opposition to combine the public’s lack of support for the sell-off with increasing rates (which was predictable BTW). Not sure how that can be corrected – people feel betrayed given how the Liberals dodged that question during the 2014 campaign.

    Some ideas:
    $15. minimum wage
    Widen access to card check certification for unions
    Beef up on social policy areas which are provincial jurisdiction – her “advisors” come from the federal side and it is beginning to show
    Forget the silly attacks on Brown and start to hit at his lack of policy on any issue – don’t let him get away with saying nothing and get his caucus talking more. Something tells me there is lots about Brown that we don’t know yet. I’m not sure how best to get that in front of voters, but I bet there is more to Patrick Brown than meets the eye.

    Eastern Rebellion above is onto something. I don’t disagree with anything he/she had to say.

  27. Kevin says:

    Quebec-style daycare would be a huge plus. Ditto getting a handle on education costs. There are lots of good policy options already mentioned by commenters.

    But the main thing to save the furniture would be for the premier to resign. I don’t think it’s deserved, but this government has acquired a stink that’s not going away, and people are focussing on her. A crying shame, IMO, but that’s politics.

    And the OLP has to lose the smug attitude that they’re the only choice. They have to stop treating the PCs and NDP as amusing little groups of misguided people, and start respecting them and understanding that they are a real threat.

  28. P. Brenn says:

    Call early election so rebuild can begin

  29. Miles Lunn says:

    Resign. I’ve never seen a premier go this low in the polls in comeback. The Liberals will probably lose no matter what but a new leader just might save them. After all Don Getty, Gordon Campbell, and Dalton McGuinty had similarily low approval ratings and their parties were re-elected. Just reference Harper’s approval rating was 33 percent and he lost badly so 12 percent seems too far back to make up in a little over a year’s time.

  30. Brad says:

    Political parties In power have shelf life just like food. People want a “change” for better or worse.

    They wanted a “change” in the US and they got one.

  31. ABB says:

    What no one has mentioned here is the most important factor of all. Does Premier Wynne have the “fire in her belly” to command a multi-front attack of the scale and ferocity that will be needed to win? She has to **feel it** and **desire it** in her gut, and that inner strength will have the potential to sustain her (and carry her wobbly caucus) through the next year of pre-election theatrics. It will be a classic “time for a change” ballot question, however, and therefore I disagree on the wholesale scale of changes some respondents have proposed above, because that prompts the natural question, “what exactly has your government been doing for the past 10+ years — why are all these massive changes being proposed only on the lead-up to an election?” Painting Brown and his cabal as “scary change” is a classic response and certainly there are skeletons to be exposed in the PC caucus. But if the depth of public dissatisfaction is as deep as suggested in recent polls, it will not matter. In balance of all factors, I would keep the leader in place and bring an aggressive urban-focussed agenda to hold the base. Get some more of those jogging ads on TV (or whatever personal attributes the public still sees as positives) and get her on the streets. She has been cloistered and holed up for the past many months. Those are some of my thoughts (42 year veteran campaigner)

  32. Liam Young says:

    First, this is clearly a hot topic, as a LOT of smarter people than me have responded with great feedback. That won’t stop me, though …

    The OLP will get what they deserve. In this case, 7 seats feels like a statistical rounding error.

    McGuinty had to deal with Harper which was hard enough, but between himself and Wynne, they have mismanaged this province in disproportionate ways. I will not list all of the issues here. We know them too well.

    That said, the ONE issue that betrayed my trust is the sale of Ontario Hydro and mismanagement of this file.

    Kathleen Wynne will always be attached to this, so she must go ASAP if the party is going to recover in time for the next election.

    Anyways, how to solve their predicament? I think it’s unlikely they’ll recover BUT they could be bold with any one of the following referendum votes:
    1. A single elementary school system. End the Catholic Separate School Board funding.
    2. A (REAL) balanced budget (and not just 3-card Monty that politicians love to play). This would involve tough cuts to the upper echelons of government and bureaucracy across the province and an increase in corporate income taxes.
    3. Reversal of Ontario Hydro sale.
    4. Proportional representation.

    All unlikely. Therefore, I end where I begin: the Liberals will get what they deserve. Nothing.

    • doconnoronca says:

      Obviously you wouldn’t end Catholic School funding, but merge the systems together.

      I don’t know all the horrible things the Liberals have done. It seems to me they have been pretty average for a government. Deficits are normal. Dubious privatizations are normal. The increases in electricity prices are high, but they have done an impressive job at transforming the system.

    • Bill Templeman says:

      WK, can a thumbs-up, thumbs-down function be installed for these comments? Or a “like” button? I want to “heart” Liam’s post as on Twitter. I know, I know, given the big bucks we pay you for this service we should all be more grateful and not whine at all.

  33. bluegreenblogger says:

    Lol, Campaigns matter, they actually do. Don`t write off the dippers yet. After 30 years in the penalty box, they are about due for another kick at the can.

  34. PJH says:

    I’m just amazed people seem to be warming to Patrick Brown……maybe those PC Youth female groupies were on to something……..

  35. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Frankly, Wynne has two jobs: to fight with everything she’s got and to inevitably wear the result, one way or another.

    She has no right to leave now and tar her successor with a monumental loss, if that is really in the cards. Her successor must never wear the electoral result associated with a previous leader’ s government. Point final.

  36. Gord says:

    Wow, some great comments. Admittedly I’m not an Ontarian, but as an armchair political quarterback, my $0.02 (which I guess is rounded down to zero in the current system):

    1) I do not believe that Kathleen Wynne resigning would do much good. I highly doubt the voters are going to allow the OLP to pull that trick twice. While there are many examples where choosing a new leader to replace someone unpopular has worked (Getty to Klein, Savage to MacLellan (sort of), Campbell to Clark, and of course McGuinty to Wynne) but there are more examples where it failed (Mulroney to Campbell, Pawley to Doer, Redford to Prentice, Vanderzalm to Johnson) and plenty of examples where a *popular* leader was unable to pass the torch (Davis to Miller, Levesque to Johnson, Bourassa to the other Johnson, Douglas to Lloyd). I can only think of one clear example where disaster probably would have been averted had an unpopular leader resigned but did not (Hatfield vs. McKenna). I think she needs to do what she can to save the furniture, wear the loss, and pass the torch to a new leader who will not be saddled with the stigma of being dealt a landslide defeat at the polls.

    2) I’m not sure the “scary scary Tories” card (which is know is Herle et al.’s stock in trade) is going to work again this time, especially if left-leaning NDP-Liberal swing voters can’t bring themselves to hold their noses and vote Liberal once more. Again, you can only go to that well so many times. I agree with those above who suggested some sort of leftish policy centrepiece – I think the “scary Tories / strategic voting” play works much better if you couple it with a reason to vote *for* the OLP, not just a reason to vote against the alternatives.

    3) I suspect that Horwath, having been burned last time out, is going to run much harder to the left this time. I think that opens up some more territory in the middle ground that the OLP can go after (Red Tory types who are not enamoured of the knuckle-draggers in Brown’s caucus).

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