By Vivian Collings
Progressive Conservatives win second majority
The 2022 Ontario general election on Thursday, June 2 saw the lowest voter turnout in the province’s history with only 43 per cent of eligible voters appearing at the polls.
The turnout was 15 per cent less than the 2018 general election, but both saw Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford win a majority government. The Ontario PC party claimed 83 out of 124 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, with Member of Provincial Parliament for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock Laurie Scott securing one of them.
The HKLB riding saw 48,636 voters with former sitting member Scott claiming 52.8 per cent of votes to be re-elected.
Elected for the sixth time since 2003 to represent HKLB, Scott was happy about the outcome and was proud about her past term.
“For the last four years, it’s been great in Haliburton – Kawartha Lakes – Brock. We’ve been able to attain many, many things. Four long-term care homes, more funding for hospitals, more internet. I’m very happy with how the last four years have gone, and I’m very humbled and honoured to be representing Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock again,” she said on election night at her campaign party in Lindsay.
Scott said that she had seen a shift towards an “even stronger” PC majority in the few days leading up to election night, which gave her an extra boost of confidence.
“I’m feeling very good tonight. We had a great campaign with great weather, and it was nice reconnecting with people after the pandemic. I was surprised at how quick the election was called at 9:11 p.m. with the electronic voting,” Scott said, soon after the polls closed at 9 p.m. on June 2.
Scott reflected on achievements, most notably, how she brought awareness to the prevalence of human trafficking and other passion projects of both hers and the PC party.
“Human trafficking is always a definite passion. I was very, very passionate about broadband, I must say, and I worked very hard on that portfolio. I’ll always have a passion for health care because I was a nurse for 20 years, and I think there are a lot of challenges, but lots of good options that will evolve as we go forward.”
Scott also reflected on her family’s history in politics as her father, William C. Scott, served as MP in Victoria-Haliburton from 1965 and onward to win six more elections.
“People did say in the campaign trail, I got it more this time around, that they have voted for a Scott every time there is a Scott on the ballot,” Scott said.
The New Democratic Party regained Official Opposition status, but leader Andrea Horwath resigned shortly after election results were in.
Barbara Doyle, NDP candidate for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, was optimistic before polls closed because of the support her campaign team received.
“I’m much more confident to talk about provincial issues,” said Doyle, who previously has run as NDP’s federal candidate in the riding. “It was much easier to talk about these things that I already talk about everyday like health care and education. People were a lot more receptive this year, and we have amazing supporters, members, and volunteers. Lots of people were telling us that they were voting NDP for the first time ever. Everything that was broken pre-COVID was more broken during COVID such as huge issues in health care and long-term care. It really highlighted how vulnerable we are.”
Doyle was disheartened by the results of the election on Thursday night but attended Scott’s campaign party to congratulate her on winning.
“I am scared for every Ontarian across the province,” Doyle said to the Times on Friday, June 3. “I’m very dismayed with the results here in this riding. So many people didn’t vote, and I’m surprised at such a big PC win when that’s not what we were hearing on the ground.”
Doyle wanted to thank all of her supporters for their encouragement.
“We just want our supporters to know how grateful we are for their dedication to us and their continued support. These were not the results we were hoping for at all, but we are going to keep fighting and working every day.”
Doyle will be returning to her job as curator at the Kawartha Lakes Museum and will continue volunteer work with numerous community organizations.
The Liberals failed to secure official party status with only eight seats in the Legislative Assembly, and Steven Del Duca resigned as their leader.
Before polls closed on Thursday night, HKLB Liberal candidate Don McBey said, “We’re happy with the campaign we ran, coming from a third position, we wanted to make sure we covered the whole riding. We had some really good mailings and voter contact. Feedback from constituents was very positive. Big concerns about health care and long-term care from seniors, and for young people, affordable housing and daycare.”
McBey said he was discouraged by the lack of PC presence at the candidate debates.
“This was such a short campaign, and nobody really got the chance to see Laurie [Scott] because she hadn’t shown up to any of the debates. With the one televised debate they had, they left the PC podium there to show that [Scott] wasn’t there. With all-candidates meetings, they widen the discussion of policy, and the three-way discussions we had with the Green Party and NDP, we agree on so many things. It’s hard because we didn’t have the PC representative there to defend their position, which made the meetings awkward. I think there would’ve been a better campaign if there were more opportunities for all-candidates meetings, even if they were virtual.”
McBey received 13.6 per cent of the votes in the Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock riding, which was up from Brooklynne Cramp-Waldinsperger’s 9.9 per cent in the 2018 general election.
“We have a traditional Liberal vote in this riding, and I think a lot of those people stayed home or didn’t come out in the last election. We are seeing that vote bounce back,” McBey said.
Haliburton County resident and Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock Green Party candidate Tom Regina said that he did not expect the election results.
“What a result overall, it feels overwhelming and surreal. I got a lot of good response, personally and heard a lot of dissatisfaction with the premier and even for our [former sitting member], who is generally, well loved. I would not have predicted the way it went,” Regina said the day after the election.
He said that the party had gained an abundance of experience over the past two elections, and they will use that knowledge to help gain more support in the future.
“I had a very small team and modest resources, so taking that into consideration we did quite well; way more bang for our buck. We would like to be able to keep our riding association going between election cycles so as to build a strong foundation of support for our next candidate.”
Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock Ontario Party leader Kerstin Kelly said that their campaign received a lot of support when visiting the Haliburton area.
“There are so many amazing people in Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes, and Brock. It was outstanding to meet everyone. The election is made to be very supportive of [the former sitting member], but that’s OK. I had a super large team that worked very hard and covered most of the riding and were very thorough. Supporters really desperately need a change. They say the world is going in a bad way and that we need some goodness back. The Ontario Party is offering that truth and transparency. We need to bring the power back to the people. This was the land of freedom and opportunity, and it certainly hasn’t been that over the past few years.”
Kelly was expecting “an upset” in the riding and gained 7.9 per cent of the total vote in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock.
On Friday, June 3, Kelly said in a tweet, “Thank you to everyone who supported us. We ran a good campaign … this is only the beginning.”