Toronto Mayor John Tory’s departure means suddenly a new mayor — complete with new ideas — will take over for Canada’s largest city. But with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s popularity taking a big hit on the campaign trail, will the country’s biggest city also see a new political power player?
What’s behind this upheaval? And will Canadian politics shift in the United States’ direction in 2019?
The Trump connection
There is one Canadian politician that might get mention when U.S. President Donald Trump’s poll numbers decline: Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Yes, we’re talking about the man who wants to fire Toronto’s chief of police and introduce a “sunshine list” of the private details of public employees — among his other ideas.
If you’re wondering why he can be in that debate, you can blame his predecessor: Former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was dogged in her campaign against Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne by an average disapproval rating of 37 per cent.
So in Ontario, a populist right-wing politician is trying to bring out his voters. It’s how election results work — Mr. Trump didn’t do much in other states, but he connected with American voters in key battleground states.
It’s similar in Canada. Opposition Toronto mayor John Tory’s reputation took a beat after he announced in November 2017 that he would not seek a second term; his decision to stay put opened up the leadership contest in the city.
Ontario, not Trump
Donald Trump’s visit to Canada this week — which reportedly was not part of the agreed on calendar because Trump had asked for one — suggests one thing: Canada and the United States are still great friends.
True friends, however, don’t bend to short-term politics. And our friends in the U.S. will remember when the two countries disagreed and how it influenced the agenda of their two countries.
The fate of the Ford-Wynne alliance
Ontario’s right wing, led by Premier Doug Ford, is trying to bring out its voters.
With so much attention on Mr. Ford’s previous drug and DUI charges and immigration policies, as well as that very rough election in Ontario, the election of Doug Ford in June has left the Ontario Liberal party in turmoil.
The Liberals have fired Mr. Ford’s son over social media and allies are complaining about the Premier’s temper tantrums. There was also pressure on his government to deliver on his promise to get rid of Toronto’s police chief.
Up until this point, Mr. Ford’s Ontarians did not believe much in Mr. Tory, preferring his sister to run for mayor in 2018. But Mr. Tory’s departure leaves the Ontario Liberals in the minority government scenario.
That’s less likely to work for Mr. Ford, because of his leadership style — we’re thinking: temper tantrums. Ontario is a complicated place, in theory.