, 05.18.2018 12:57 PM

Operation Save the Furniture

My old friend David Akin got in touch with me about a study that Global News has put together. Akin and a team of researchers looked at where the three provincial party leaders have been since the election started – and it tells a very telling story.

What I’m hearing is that, presently, Wynne and her Wizard have one safe seat in Toronto, and a couple leaning their way.  That’s it.  Everything else is blue or orange.  So that suggests to me that Akin’s analysis is right.

Anyway: that debate is going to be pretty important, I’d say.  Comments are open.

A Global News analysis of the campaign itineraries of each leader adds some new data points to support what multiple polls have already shown. The NDP, in second place, have the wind at their backs. The front-running Progressive Conservatives are largely playing it safe. Meanwhile, the Liberal mission from day one appears to have been “Save the Furniture” by placing the leader in a series of ridings considered Liberal strongholds like Ottawa-Vanier, Mississauga-Malton, Guelph and London North Centre.

Struggling to avoid becoming the third party in Queen’s Park, Wynne has been campaigning in several ridings her party won by 20 points or more in 2014.

“The Ontario Liberal Party is calling its campaign ‘Care Over Cuts’ but it should be called ‘Save the Furniture’ [or]’Shore the Core’ because that’s what [Wynne’s] doing,” said Warren Kinsella, a Toronto-based lawyer and political consultant who played a key role in the election war rooms for winning Liberal campaigns for both Jean Chretien and Dalton McGuinty. “You can tell that by the ridings she’s visiting.”

Up to and including Friday’s published itineraries, Wynne has made or will make 28 campaign stops but just six, or 21 per cent, have been in ridings where one of her opponents is the incumbent.In fact, on Thursday night she visited for the first time a riding where the PCs are the incumbent, stopping in at a brewery and pub to meet with a handful of supporters in the GTA riding of Whitby.

“Everything can change, but when you look at where she’s going and what’s doing, it’s not a growth strategy,” said Karl Belanger, a veteran of several federal NDP campaigns, including the “Orange Wave” of 2011 that vaulted Jack Layton into the opposition leader’s office in Ottawa.


  1. Houland Wolfe says:

    Could we see a variant of what happened in the last federal election? Remember how the federal NDP were leading until they got knee-capped by the niqab? When Their support in Quebec dropped like a stone, Ontario voters switched to the Liberals as their choice for a majority government. In Ontario, Ford has crested while the Liberals have cratered. These are auspicious times for Horvath and the NDP.

  2. Jeff says:

    That does say something about the Liberals, but not much about the PCs, or the NDP. 83% of the seats were not NDP seats at dissolution. The Tories have campaigned in the same percentage of Liberal seats that there were, give or take, and have slightly under-visited the NDP holdings, while slightly over-visiting their own.

    As for Wynne, if more than half of the ridings visited were Liberal ridings, that would not say much. I concede your point that the visits are more Liberal-heavy than an aggressive Liberal campaign would otherwise be.

  3. Houland Wolfe says:

    BTW, Warren, all of this suggests that campaigns do matter.E4CW

  4. SmallTownON says:

    Tory campaign center erroneously called me (hysterically, a lifelong Liberal voter) about a week ago. Wanted to ensure they had my support. We shared a laugh at the error and an interesting convo ensued.

    This volunteer had been calling Conservatives from the ‘Shwa to the Sault, from border to border and told me he’d heard one overwhelming message: card carrying Tories like their local candidate but are ultimately staying home and NOT voting PERIOD because of the leader. He told me he’d lost count of how many times he’s heard this. They are VERY worried about turnout, especially among older voters.

    Ford is polarizing the party and the volunteer’s sense is that the polling numbers do not reflect what he feels is an inherent, dangerous softness to Tory support.

    If the centre-left keeps moving to Horvath, this thing could surprise the hell out of everyone!

    • Peter says:

      Are you sure you didn’t dream that one? That’s one hell of a strange chat between a campaign volunteer and a declared supporter of another party?

      • SmallTownON says:

        It’s legit, man. Hard to believe, but legit.

        Having said this, a hard-charging NDP might freak out enough of the aforementioned disaffected Tories to scare those asses to the polls.

        One way or another it’s going to be an interesting night.

        • Kultar says:

          Voting first time and missing last few. And it will be surely a PC vote after the bad years of Liberals and NDP wont do any better.

  5. Miles Lunn says:

    Also interesting Horwath is visiting mostly Liberal held but few PC held. That doesn’t say much about their chances but does say any gains will likely be Liberal held not PC held seats although its always possible some ridings that are OLP held, but went Tory federally in 2011 could go NDP.

    • Gord says:

      Realistically, NDP gains are going to be made primarily at the expense of the Liberals. Any Tory populist-voter types who might otherwise be tempted to swing to the NDP are likely to be receptive to Ford’s message and thus more likely to stay put.

      There are only a handful of ridings where it’s an NDP-PC race. Outside of these seats, it will take a complete and utter collapse of the Liberal vote to the NDP to make them competitive in Tory-held seats. Another reason to hammer the Liberals.

  6. Maybelle T. says:

    Seems like the chickens are coming home to roost. Recall the Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood where parents kept their children home en masse to protest Wynne’s sex education curriculum. Thorncliffe Park Public School saw only 130 children at school out of the usual 1,350. At nearby Gateway Public School 400 students were away – half the norm. At Valley Park Middle School, 590 students out of 950 away. The whole affair spiraled into a bona fide moral panic across the province – parents could opt out but preferred shrieking about Islamophobia and Satan. The Peel School Board, famous for “standing up to anti-Muslim rhetoric over Friday [gender segregated] prayers in schools” (G&M), is surprised plans to celebrate Pride Week have gone over like a lead balloon. It’s sharia or bust baby.

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