By Doug Hallett
Liz Sandals says she’s looking forward to four years of majority government instead of a Liberal minority government situation that could have been “quite horrifying.”
“I am absolutely thrilled with the outcome, because what it means is that we can actually get on with implementing the platform,” Sandals said in an interview Friday.
She wonders what NDP leader Andrea Horwath would have done if she had the balance of power again, after having triggered an election by rejecting a Liberal budget that the Liberals then went on to campaign upon. “The spectre of how a minority would be workable in any way was actually quite horrifying.” Asked what accounted for the election results in her view, Sandals said she found going door to door that things turned in the Liberals’ favour when people started to focus on whether they wanted Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne or Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak to lead the province.
“Once people sort of landed on that as the ballot issue, the vote started to crystallize,” she said. “Before that, people weren’t sure if they shouldn’t be mad at the Liberals as a party.”
“In the end, the question was who do you want to be premier? What plan do you want to be the future of Ontario?”
Hudak’s promise to eliminate 100,000 public sector jobs was probably the turning point of the election, she said, “once it became crystal clear to the electorate that is what he would do. It took a while for people to process that is what he really meant.”
Asked what surprised her most about the campaign, she said it was the number of people she spoke to at doorsteps who were planning to vote differently from the way they normally do. “I haven’t encountered that to the same extent before.”
Polls bounced around a lot during the campaign, but Sandals said they “accurately captured” that the election was a race between the Liberals and the PCs. The former University of Guelph computer science professor said she doesn’t put a lot of stock in polls “unless I know a fair bit about the methodology” behind a particular poll.
Sandals, 66, who has been the province’s education minister, said she didn’t know if she might seek a fifth term as Guelph’s MPP in four years. “I have no idea,” she said. “I will cross that bridge when I come to it.”
By Doug Hallett