LILLY: Will the Ontario NDP and the Liberals form a coalition as well?

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Now that federal Liberals and the NDP have tied the knot in a coalition of sorts, will their provincial cousins ​​in Ontario do the same?

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Leaders of both parties have expressed interest in working together if Ford wins a majority but not a majority, and the Liberals are actively promoting the NDP in an attempt to return to power from a third seat.

On Monday, NDP leader Andrea Horvath presented her party’s platform.

It is full of promises to hire 30,000 nurses, 20,000 teachers and educators, 10,000 personal support workers and boards funded by the state until the cows come home, on every imaginable project except highways, roads and other vital infrastructure.

In days gone by, centrist liberals—people who didn’t want to go too far to the left or too far to the right—would have looked with horror at the platform of the NDP. Reckless spending, promises to obliterate successful people and businesses—or encourage them to leave the province—would make them think twice before praising them.

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Not the current Liberal leader, Stephen Del Duca, who effectively issued a statement saying his Liberals are just like the NDP.

“I see a lot of ideas that Ontario Liberals have already voiced as part of our Liberal plan. I can also tell you that there are some proposals that we have already decided to include in our platform, but have not yet released,” Del Duca said, adding that there is a lot in the NDP plan that he could work with.

It sounded like a love letter to Horvath’s party!

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If Del Duca isn’t courting NDP leader Andrea Horvath, he is definitely courting her constituents. Like Kathleen Wynn before him, Del Duca decided that the path to power lay in becoming more like the NDP and moving away from the middle ground where the majority of the electorate sits.

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It’s a strange plan for him to follow.

Between the 2014 and 2018 elections, the Ontario Liberals lost an estimated 740,000 votes. The PC party gained 821,000 votes and the NDP increased by 784,000 votes.

Obviously, in 2018, when the voter participation rate in the province was 58%, compared to 51% in 2014, many more people turned up, but more people also chose Ford computers than Horvath’s NDP. Why not target them?

“You don’t understand,” a senior liberal said recently. “We need to own the progressive side, and we don’t care what happens to conservative voters.”

This is evident from their campaign promises.

Del Duca is not so much trying to reach out to disaffected Ford voters as to people who voted for Horvath and the NDP and think she did a poor job as an opposition leader.

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Horwath has definitely failed on this front. If she had been a competent leader of the opposition, Ford would not have gone to the polls leading the way.

However, with the focus on Croatia, Del Duca is essentially auditioning for the position of leader of Her Majesty’s Faithful Opposition, leaving Ford plenty of wiggle room.

He says he’s focused on Doug Ford and replacing him as prime minister, but Del Duca is aiming straight at the NDP.

The Liberals are hoping they can steal enough NDP votes to return to power, but if that doesn’t happen, they will look for an NDP-Liberal coalition to seal the deal.

“I’m ready to negotiate,” Del Duca said a month ago of coalition talks.

When the polls close on June 2, we’ll find out if voters want Del Duca to lead these conversations, or if they’ll support the stability of Ford’s second term rather than building a Liberal NDP coalition on Parliament Hill and Queen’s Park.

Interesting times.

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