Voters have sent the Liberals a clear message, says Hudak

Despite a gain of at least a dozen new MPPs, Tim Hudak’s Progressive Conservatives could only manage to hold Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals to a razor-thin minority government in last night’s Ontario election. Speaking to a throng of supporters in his home riding of Niagara – Glanbrook – Hudak said despite the Tory loss, voters had sent the Liberals a clear message.

“The result is not the one we hoped for, but we do accept it,” said Hudak. “It is very clear that the people… want a change in direction.”

Hudak stressed the gains that his party made last night, noting the Tories had tied the Liberals for the popular vote almost everywhere across the province, and appeared to have denied the Liberals a third consecutive majority government.

“Our PC party is stronger than it has been in over a decade,” said Hudak. “(There is) lots to celebrate tonight.”

The Tory leader was also quick to praise his opponents, especially NDP leader Andrea Horwath, noting that she ran a campaign “that was respectful, thoughtful and passionate” and that he “never doubted her commitment.”

Hudak gave no indication in his speech that he intended to step down as party leader and vowed to continue fighting on. He noted that party members across the province could take pride in the fact that they had pulled even with the Liberals, in terms of the popular vote.

“We have more work to do and we will start first thing tomorrow morning,” he said.

Paying tribute to all those involved with his campaign, Hudak vowed: “We will work with (those) parties and members who support (our) vision and we will strongly oppose those who do not.”