Toronto remains Liberal this federal election. Did Ford factor in?

Bill Morneau after federal election
LIberal finance minister Bill Morneau led a sweep of Toronto by Liberals, who campaigned in part against Conservative leader Andrew Scheer's relationship with Premier Doug Ford. Alexei Malakhov/Streeter

In an unpredictable race for Canadian leadership, Liberal red swept across all 25 Toronto city ridings in this year’s federal election. 

“There’s no question in my mind that part of this was the Ford Factor,” said John Shields, political science professor at Ryerson University.

“That definitely dampened the NDP vote,” Shields said.

Although there NDP had been optimistic in Toronto, Shields added that Justin Trudeau, prime minister and Liberal party leader, was effective in telling voters that voting for NDP or Green Party candidates would end up benefiting the Conservatives, and ultimately, lead to unpopular policies from leader Andrew Scheer similar to those of Ontario Premier Doug Ford . 

The Liberals and Conservatives were in a deadlock in Ontario just weeks before the final ballots were cast on Oct. 21, according to election polling conducted by Abacus Data. The Liberals held a two-point lead at 37 per cent support, while the Conservatives held 35 per cent and NDP at 17. 

Trudeau’s Liberals ended up winning a minority with 157 seats and the Conservatives took 121 seats.

“Scheer really failed to connect with voters in an area that needs to be picked up to win national office,” Shields said.

Liberal candidates had also won all Toronto ridings in the previous federal election in 2015, contributing to Trudeau’s successful majority, according to Elections Canada.

2015 federal election results in Toronto and the GTA.
Click here to view the full 42nd election results.

An approval rating survey conducted by DARTMaru, a non-partisan research company, found that in September 2019, Ford had just 29 per cent popularity in Ontario.That’s 5 per cent lower than his previous rating in the same study, making him the second-least popular premier in Canada. 

But some say Ford’s affect on the federal campaign was not so black and white. 

“Clearly, there’s been some shift there, but whether that’s attributable to Ford or Scheer’s own shortcomings is hard to sort out empirically,” said Peter Loewen, political science professor at the University of Toronto. 

“The apparent surge in optimism around NDP leader Jagmeet Singh was basically him returning to the historical average of the NDP’s position,” he said. 

Prominent successful Liberal incumbents for Toronto ridings include Bill Morneau, Chrystia Freeland, Bill Blair, Carolyn Bennett and Julie Dabrusin who held off challengers in Toronto-Danforth where it was thought the NDP had a chance of an upset. 

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Posted: Oct 28 2019 7:40 am
Filed under: News