If you’re a fan of the now newly-election MPP Mike Schreiner, you had a very good night, but if you were feeling disgruntled by the last four years of Doug Ford, your feelings might might have been dampened. The 2022 Ontario general election is now in the history books, and it made a lot of history indeed even if it wasn’t the history that a lot of political observers were counting on.
Big picture: As of Friday morning, the Progressive Conservatives under Doug Ford have expanded their majority in the legislature to 83 seats, an improvement of seven seats from the amount they won in 2018, and 16 more than what they had when the legislature was dissolved at the beginning of the campaign. As a consequence, Ford remains the Premier of Ontario.
Locally, Mike Schreiner expanded his base in Guelph securing 54.46 per cent of the vote, an increase from 45.04 per cent in 2018. Lower voter turnout makes the growth of the total number of votes look smaller though as Schreiner received 29,769 votes in 2022 versus 29,082 votes in 2018. The results likely speak to the satisfaction Guelphites have in Schreiner’s work at Queen’s Park
“Thank you Ontario, thank you Guelph and thank you to every single person who put themselves out there during this election,” said Schreiner in a statement Friday morning. “I want to congratulate the other party leaders. We all ran hard and now we must take the chance to do politics differently.”
“We can work across party lines. We can put people before politics. People before partisanship. We can ensure that we’re going to continue fighting so that everyone has an affordable place to call home, clean air to breathe, and access to the care they need,” Schreiner added. “Greens will keep working hard with the people of Ontario to build a more caring, connected and climate-ready Ontario.”
Schreiner’s success on Election Day was in start contrast to almost all the other candidates running in Guelph, and not just because he won.
PC Peter McSherry finished second, but with more than 18,000 votes between him and Schreiner it was a very distant second indeed. With 11,159 votes, McSherry well fell short of the just over 14,000 votes secured by Ray Ferraro for the PCs in 2018, and had the second worst showing for a PC candidate in Guelph in the last 35 years.
Even more distant from the winner’s circle is Liberal candidate Raechelle Devereaux, who did improve her party’s standing to third place, but the 7,264 votes in 2022 was only slightly improved over Sly Castaldi’s fourth place finish in 2018 achieving 6,537.
The biggest tumble in 2022 went to the NDP party. James Parr finished in fourth place with 4,402 votes, the worst result for the NDP in Guelph since the 1999 election when candidate Bruce Abel got 5,907 votes, and a big dip from Aggie Mlynarz’s third place finish in 2018 with 12,929 votes.
Rounding up the rest of the ballot, New Blue had a good first showing in Guelph with 1,629 votes for candidate Will Lomker. Communist candidate Juanita Burnett more than doubled her take in 2018 with 251 votes versus 109 in her last run. And finally, None of the Above Paul Taylor seemed to lose support from 2022 getting only 202 votes versus 358 in 2018.
Next door in Wellington-Halton Hills, PC Ted Arnott didn’t have his best showing, but he didn’t have his worst showing either. Arnott secured just over 25,000 votes, which more than tripled the number of votes received by second place NDP candidate, Diane Ballantyne who won 7,724 votes, which is just over half the number of votes she received in 2018.
Ryan Kahro improved Green fortunes in Wellington-Halton Hills to finish in third place, a little over 700 votes behind Ballantyne. Liberal Tom Takacs, who was a late addition to the ballot, finished in fourth place with less than 7,000 votes, a loss over over 500 votes from the Liberal candidate in 2018. New Blue’s Stephen Kitras finished fifth with 2,548 and Consensus Party candidate Ron Patava secured 250 votes.
Around the region, PC Mike Harris, and NDP reps Laura Mae Lindo and Catherine Fife held their ridings in Kitchener-Conestoga, Kitchener Centre and Waterloo respectively. Outgoing PC MPP Amy Fee has passed the baton to her Progressive Conservative successor Jess Dixon in Kitchener-South Hespler, while Cambridge returns to PC hands with Brian Riddell after incumbent New Blue co-founder Belinda Karahalios finished in fourth place.
The bigger news on Thursday night though was the announcement that both the NDP and the Liberal Party of Ontario are going to get new leaders. Despite returning as the Official Opposition, the NDP lost seven seats, including ones in key party strongholds like Hamilton, Windsor and Northern Ontario. So the NDP return to Queen’s Park without a leader, but with 31 seats
“My commitment to you is never gonna waver, and I’m going to keep working to earn your confidence each and every day. I’m gonna keep doing that. But tonight, it’s time for me to pass the torch, to pass the baton, to hand off the leadership of the NDP,” said outgoing leader Andrea Horwath. “And you know what, it makes me sad, but it makes me happy because our team is so strong right now.”
Things were even more bleak for the Liberals, who do return to Queen’s Park with an extra seat to bring their total up to eight, but it was not enough to get official party status, let alone get them closer back to power. Liberal leader Steven Del Duca, who was soundly defeated in the riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge by incumbent PC cabinet minister Michael Tibollo, also announced his resignation has the head of the party.
“Earlier this evening, I informed our party president of my decision to step down from the leadership of our party. And I have asked him to meet with the executive to set a leadership contest for as soon as is reasonable,” Del Duca said.
The other story of the election will likely be the dismal voter turnout. In 2018, 56.67 per cent of Ontarians, or 5.8 million people, cast a ballot, but in 2022 only 43.03 per cent came out to vote. Turnout was slightly better than the provincial average in Guelph with 48.76 per cent, which is still down from just over 61.12 per cent in 2018. According to Elections Ontario, 1,660 Guelph voters case a mail-in ballot in this election.
The PC Party got 40.88 per cent of votes cast, while the Liberals and the NDP were virtually tied with 23.76 and 23.73 per cent respectively. The Greens won 5.98 per cent of the vote province-wide, which they were unable to parlay into a second seat. Matt Richter came up about 2,114 votes short of Graydon Smith in Parry Sound-Muskoka.
There was one real anomaly in the election, and it was in Haldimand-Norfolk. Independent candidate Bobbi Ann Brady who beat Haldimand County mayor Ken Hewitt, the PC candidate. There was controversy in the nomination process in this riding after Brady, the long-serving executive assistant to outgoing PC MPP Toby Barrett, expected to run to succeed her old boss as the PC candidate, but Hewitt was chosen by the central office to run instead, overriding the local electoral district association. Brady won by over 2,000 votes.