Wynne acknowledges election is lost, urges voters to ensure NDP or PC minority
Some polls suggest the Liberals could lose official party status with fewer than 8 seats
An emotional Kathleen Wynne on Saturday acknowledged that she will no longer be premier after the June 7 election and encouraged voters to elect Liberal candidates to prevent the NDP or PCs from securing a majority.
“Even though I won’t be leading this province as premier, I care deeply about how it will be led,” the Liberal leader said during a campaign stop in Toronto.
“People want change, but by and large they’re confident about where Ontario stands and where Ontario is headed. For this reason — I heard this over and over again — many voters are worried about handing a blank cheque to either Doug Ford or the NDP,” she continued.
She added that voters don’t trust Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford and are concerned that an NDP government “will approach the responsibility of running Ontario’s economy with a plan that is risky and unrealistic.”
The only way to keep the province’s next government on a “short leash,” Wynne said, is to send as many Liberals to the Ontario Legislature as possible.
Liberal candidates to prevent the NDP or PCs from securing a majority 6:48
“The more Liberal MPPs we send to Queens Park on June 7, the less likely it becomes that either Doug Ford or the NDP will be able to form a majority government,” Wynne said.
The Liberal leader has, until today, been defiant in the face of daunting poll numbers that suggest the Grits could lose official party status after the vote. In Ontario, parties need at least eight seats in the legislature to be formally recognized.
Public support for Wynne’s Liberals has plummeted since the election started on May 9, and CBC’s Poll Tracker indicates that even long-time strongholds like St. Paul’s in Toronto and St. Catharines could be lost.
According to Wynne, a “confluence of things” led her to make her statement on Saturday. She also conceded that some Liberal supporters may see the move as an early capitulation.
“I know there are Liberals who believe in us and believe in what we’ve been doing and some are going to be mad. Some are going to be sad,” she said.
As for her Liberal candidates, Wynne said she will continue to work to get as many elected as possible.
“I would never want to do anything that would undermine any of my candidates, any of those races. I have thought long and hard about this, believe me,” she explained.
Asked by a reporter if, in hindsight, she should have resigned as leader of the party long before the election to give her Liberals a better chance, Wynne said she genuinely believed she could turn the numbers around.
“I did, and we did,” she said, referring to her team. “We absolutely did.”
With files from Mike Crawley
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