2007 Ontario General Election

Feature by Jay Makarenko || Sep 19, 2007
2007 Ontario General Election

On October 10, 2007, Ontario voters returned Dalton McGuinty and the Ontario Liberal Party to government. McGuinty and the Liberals won a strong majority government, taking 71 of the 107 seats in the provincial legislature, as well as 42 percent of the popular vote. This article provides an overview of the 2007 general election, including a summary of the previous election, by-elections, and public opinion polls; background information on the three major political parties; and results of the election.

Ontario Electoral Backgrounder

Previous elections and pre-election polls

Ontario Liberal Party: 2007 Election Overview

Leader bio and election platform of the Liberals

Ontario PC Party: 2007 Election Overview

Leader bio and election platform of the Progressive Conservative

Ontario NDP: 2007 Election Overview

Leader bio and election platform of the New Democrats

Minor Parties in the 2007 Ontario Election

List and links to minor political parties in the election

Results of the 2007 General Election

Liberals win a majority government

Sources and Links for More Information

List of article sources and links for more on this topic


Ontario Electoral Backgrounder

Previous elections and pre-election polls

Results of 2003 General Election

The previous general election in Ontario was held in 2003, in which Dalton McGuinty and the Ontario Liberal Party won a majority government. The win was a major one for the Liberals, ending eight years of rule by the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. Below is a summary of results from the 2003 general election.

Political Party

Popular Vote

Seats Won

Status

Liberal Party

46.45

72

Majority Government

Progressive Conservative Party

34.64

24

Official Opposition

New Democratic Party

14.70

07

-

Other

4.21

-

-

Party Standings Prior to 2007 Election

Prior to the calling of the 2007 general election, and the dissolution of the Ontario Legislative Assembly, party standings in the Assembly were as follows:

Political Party

Seats

Status in Assembly

Liberal Party

67

Government

Progressive Conservative Party

25

Official Opposition

New Democratic Party

10

Opposition party

Vacant

1

-

Much of the change in seat distribution since the 2003 election was the result of several provincial by-elections. Of the 10 by-elections held between 2003 and 2007, four were won by the NDP, three by the Liberals, and three by the PC Party (Elections Ontario, Past Election Results).

Pre-election Public Opinion Polls

Public opinion polls conducted prior to the election have shown a small lead for the Ontario Liberal Party, with the party’s level of support hovering around 40 percent. The Ontario PC Party is showing the second largest amount of support, between 33 and 35 percent. Support for the other major party, the NDP, ranges between 13 and 19 percent.

For more information on Ontario pre-election public opinion polling:


Ontario Liberal Party: 2007 Election Overview

Leader bio and election platform of the Liberals

Dalton McGuinty: Leader of the Liberal Party

Dalton McGuinty is currently Ontario’s Premier and the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. He was born in Ottawa, Ontario, in 1955. He received a law degree from the University of Ottawa, and a science degree from McMaster University. McGuinty is married to his wife Terri, and together they have four children. Before entering politics, McGuinty practised law and taught business law at Carleton University. He was first elected to the Ontario Legislature in 1990, representing the riding of Ottawa South, and was elected leader of the Ontario Liberal Party in 1996. In 2003, his Liberal Party won the provincial government, with McGuinty becoming premier.

Liberal Party 2007 Election Platform

Moving Forward Together, the Liberal Party platform, centres on five key policy areas: education, the economy, health care, the environment, and families. Highlights of Moving Forward Together are as follows. 

Regarding education, the Liberal Party promises the following initiatives:

  • Continue to improve the funding formula: invest an additional $3.1 billion annually by 2011 and require a funding formula review by 2010.
  • Double the funding for the Community Use of Schools program, so that space for after-school activities is affordable for all Ontario families and free in communities that need it most.
  • Make homework help available online and after school.
  • Create a $150 million Every Student Fund for students in grades 4–8 as the next step toward closing the gap in supports for elementary students.
  • Make schools healthier: ban trans fats from all school cafeterias, prescribe a healthier menu that conforms to the new Canada Food Guide, and create an Ontario Fitness Challenge program to fight childhood obesity.
  • Provide a new textbook and technology grant of $300 for university and college students to help them get started each year at school.
  • Introduce a special distance grant for students from remote areas.
  • Provide parents with a grant at the beginning of the school year instead of making them wait for the post-secondary education tax credit payable at the end of the year.
  • Work with the federal government to give students twice the amount of time before they must start repaying their student loans, so they have a chance to get established in their new careers.
  • Increase new apprenticeships by a full 25 percent.

In the area of the economy, the Liberals have made the following commitments:

  • Expand the Next Generation Jobs Fund to $1.15 billion to support job creation in areas of great potential for Ontario.
  • Establish Investment Ontario Inc., an independent investment attraction agency modeled on successful efforts in countries like Ireland.
  • Add a new Second Career strategy to the Rapid Re-Employment and Training Service, to help Ontarians who have suffered job loss build new skills and find new employment.
  • Help rural communities prosper by increasing the Rural Economic Development fund by 50 percent.
  • Increase funding for the Northern Heritage Fund to $100 million per year; to reflect the key role northern communities play in creating Ontario’s prosperity.
  • Help newcomers upgrade their skills by expanding the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) to include books, language courses and bridging programs.
  • Increase English as a Second Language funding for schools
  • Build a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy around the Ontario Child Benefit. This includes working with partners to develop indicators and targets to measure and address child poverty. The first step will be to support dental services for low-income Ontario families.
  • Building on the Liberals’ first-term successes in education and Best Start, appoint an Early Learning Advisor to advise the Premier on developing and funding a full-day pre-school program.
  • Create a long-term strategy for affordable housing.
  • Continue to balance the budget and pay down the provincial debt.
  • Help Ontario businesses stay competitive by eliminating the capital tax and reducing provincial property taxes on business.

For health care, the Liberal Party has committed to continuing investment in universal public health care, with a focus on preventive health care and making the system more patient-friendly. Specific initiatives include:

  • Expand the province’s progress on wait times to more services; specifically, emergency room visits, children’s surgery and general surgery.
  • Deliver access to a family doctor to 500,000 more Ontarians.
  • Deliver 50 more Family Health Teams over the next four years, targeting areas in rural and northern Ontario, where doctors are harder to find.
  • Hire 9,000 more nurses, meet the goal to have 70 percent of nurses working full time, guarantee jobs for new nursing grads, invest in healthy work environments for nurses and establish 25 more nurse-led clinics.
  • Support Ontario seniors who want to stay in their own homes with an easy-to-access basket of services, improve the level of care in long-term care homes with 2,000 new nurses, build 35,000 long-term care beds over 10 years, and provide financial support for those caring for elderly family members.
  • Help the growing number of Ontarians living with diabetes through a mix of prevention, technology, personal planning, and access to specialized resources and health professionals.
  • Improve breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening rates and cover the cost of both the PSA test to detect prostate cancer and the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.
  • Provide tax incentives to encourage Ontarians to stay active in their daily lives, including a break on provincial sales tax on bicycles and bike helmets and tax credits for families with children enrolled in organized physical activities.

In the context of environmental policy, the Liberal Party is committed to the following initiatives:

  • Introduce the province’s first long-term energy plan in a generation, which will include a reducing reliance on coal-generated energy.
  • Build more rapid transit in the province.
  • Reduce emissions that cause climate change by 6 percent below 1990 levels by 2014, 15 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
  • Provide rebates and tax incentives for Ontarians to buy energy efficient appliances and make energy-saving investments in their home.
  • Eliminate inefficient, old light bulbs.
  • Provide financial assistance to communities to help save energy and reduce emissions that cause climate change.
  • Create a tough new toxic reduction law that requires companies that emit toxic pollution to reduce their emissions over time.
  • Work with Cancer Care Ontario and the Ontario Medical Association to identify, target, and reduce the number of cancer-causing agents released into Ontario’s environment.
  • Ban the cosmetic use of pesticides across the province.
  • Implement the Endangered Species Act, beginning with a plan to protect large-scale areas for caribou habitat in the Boreal Forest.
  • Consider applications by regional and county governments to grow the Greenbelt.
  • Create stronger protections for threatened lakes like Lake Simcoe and provide funding to clean up hot spots in the Great Lakes, like Randle Reef in Hamilton.

Finally, in the area of families, the Liberal Party has made the following election promises:

  • Help families with the cost of taking care of an aging parent or relative at home.
  • Expand the new home tax credit to all first-time homebuyers, to help young Ontarians starting out.
  • Create a new homeowners grant for seniors who have trouble paying their property taxes, to help them stay at home.
  • Obtain Ontario’s fair share of new federal funding for new police. Use that money to hire at least 1,000 additional officers, half of them municipal officers and half frontline Ontario Provincial Police officers.
  • Continue to press the federal government to ban handguns.
  • Keep dangerous offenders off Ontario’s streets. Increase the number of applications for dangerous offender status, keep closer watch on dangerous offenders when they are released, and work with the federal government to make it more difficult for dangerous to get out of prison in the first place.
  • Make sure families can depend on modern infrastructure, by investing at least $60 billion over the next 10 years in critical infrastructure such as public transit, roads and bridges, water systems, waste solutions, and cultural and community recreational facilities.
  • Preserve the unique character of small-town Ontario by redeveloping historic downtowns through a new partnership.
  • In the first year of the Liberal Party’s next mandate, create a new long weekend in February.
  • Help people have families by making fertility monitoring available earlier in life, so people know whether or not they are likely to have a problem having children and make treatment and adoption more accessible and affordable for people.
  • Ensure that military families qualify for all provincial services immediately upon taking residence in Ontario by exempting them from the 90-day waiting period faced by most newcomers to the province.

Ontario PC Party: 2007 Election Overview

Leader bio and election platform of the Progressive Conservative

John Tory: Leader of the PC Party

Going into the 2007 general election, John Tory is the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. Tory was born on May 28, 1954. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Trinity College at the University of Toronto, followed by a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School at the University of Toronto. From 1972-79, Tory worked as a radio reporter, interviewer, and newscaster for Rogers Broadcasting Ltd. From 1995-99, and from 1999-2003, Tory served as the President and CEO of Rogers Cable Inc. He also spent many years as a managing partner in one of Ontario’s largest law firms, Tory Tory DesLauriers & Binnington, from 1980-81 and 1986-95. In 2004, he was elected leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, and was elected to the provincial legislature shortly thereafter.

PC Party 2007 Election Platform

The PC Party election platform is outlined in a party document titled For A Better Ontario: Leadership Matters. In that document, the PC Party makes a wide range of election promises in several different policies areas. The following highlights some of the Party’s key election commitments stated in For A Better Ontario.

Regarding health care, the PC Party has promised the following:

  • Guarantee growth in health funding. John Tory will significantly increase health care investments so that by the fourth year of a PC government, spending will be $8.5 billion more than current annual spending by the McGuinty Liberals. Hospitals and health care providers will be informed well in advance how much money they will get every year.
  • Improve access to services, decrease wait times, and increase capacity by working with both public- and private-sector partners.
  • Help ensure Ontario has enough doctors by implementing a comprehensive long-term physician recruitment strategy.
  • Invest in training and education programs for health care professionals in under-serviced communities. The physician and specialist shortages in these areas will also be reduced using technology to improve remote access and improve the quality of care.

In the area of education, the PC Party platform includes the following initiatives:

  • Improve the education funding formula and keep it updated. Provide short-term help to schools in financial trouble, smaller and rural schools in danger of closing, and schools that need more flexibility to meet local needs such as more ESL funding.
  • Move to a better, more sensible way to reduce class sizes. The key is allowing local flexibility so that school boards can decide the best way to use their resources.
  • Provide stable, long-term funding so that educators can plan for the future with confidence.
  • Expand standardized testing. Standardized tests are an effective measure of how students measure up to Ontario’s standards, as long as such tests supplement, but never replace, hands-on evaluation by a teacher.
  • Ensure a safe, secure learning environment for students and staff in Ontario’s schools. Create a secure system for students and parents to report incidents to their schools, and work with schools on a system for mandatory responses. Local parent councils will be allowed to make decisions about funding school safety and anti-violence programs, so that local needs are met.
  • Continue to invest in early childhood education, building on the success of the early learning centres.
  • Ensure English as a Second Language (ESL) programs help those who need it.
  • Take action to bring faith-based schools into the public system, by creating an opportunity for non-Catholic, faith-based schools to choose to join the publicly funded education system the same way Catholic schools have already done.

The PC Party platform also makes several commitments with regard to making communities safer. These include:

  • Focus on key areas where crime is growing or is of greatest public concern. These include drugs, violent youth crime, and white collar crime.
  • Strengthen programs that focus on early intervention and prevention, starting from the belief that hope and opportunity can overcome social alienation and temptation to get into crime.
  • Keep more dangerous offenders behind bars by using special prosecutors who will navigate the complex process of getting a dangerous-offender order in place.
  • Demand that the federal government improve the National Sex Offender Registry by automatically adding designated offenders, and making the registry available 24/7 to law enforcement officers.
  • Appoint more Justices of the Peace as soon as possible, to avoid having more charges thrown out of court because there is no JP available.
  • Enhance the openness of the justice system through a Truth and Transparency in the Justice System Act that would require annual public reports on the activities of Ontario’s courts.
  • Work with the federal government to increase police on the streets.
  • Improve information sharing between police forces so that cases do not fall between the cracks, and work with communities to provide the latest information and education programs for law enforcement.
  • Work with the police to enhance 24/7 policing, recognizing that most crimes now take place between midnight and 4:00 a.m.

The PC Party also promises to fight poverty in the province through several policies and programs:

  • House the homeless by granting municipal agencies the flexibility to use their funding to find permanent housing for the homeless.
  • Grow the supply of co-operative housing.
  • Increase the minimum wage to a realistic level that allows Ontarians at that income level to live in dignity.
  • Break down the barriers that keep many skilled immigrants in poverty, including faster recognition of foreign credentials and more help for new Ontarians to settle in their new homes and to upgrade their skills and education.
  • Provide equal protection for vulnerable people. Crimes against vulnerable people, whether they are drug addicts, prostitutes, the homeless or anyone else, must be seen as equally important in the eyes of our justice system.
  • Work with Ontario’s Aboriginal peoples to address the deplorable conditions in many Aboriginal communities.

In the area of taxation and government finance, the PC Party promises the following:

  • Lower levels of taxation in the province, while committing to a balanced budget
  • Phase out the provincial health tax.
  • Put a 5 percent cap on annual property assessment increases for as long as an individual owns her or his home.

In the context of government reform, the PC Party is committed to the following policies (PC Party, For A Better Ontario…):

  • Reforming Ontario’s provincial parliament, based on four principles: (1) enhancing the role of the individual MPP; (2) making government more accountable by using the legislature more effectively; (3) encouraging greater emphasis on consensus as opposed to confrontation to improve the productivity of the Legislature and respect for MPPs and the parliamentary process; and (4) encourage more diversity and gender balance through family- and MPP-friendly reforms.
  • Adopt new accountability practices. Appoint chief financial officers, just like the position in corporations with responsibility for tracking and managing money. Create an independent Legislative Budget Office that will prevent the government from distorting budget numbers, while demonstrating more accountability to elected parliamentarians.
  • Make the regulatory process more transparent, so that proposed regulations are pre-published for public review, not just passed in secret by the Cabinet.

In the area of economic policy, the PC Party promises the following:

  • Reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses, by adopting British Columbia’s model of regulatory review. This would require government to justify every new regulation created.
  • Join the inter-provincial free trade agreement between British Columbia and Alberta, and explore a similar arrangement with Quebec.
  • Remove barriers to investment by favouring taxes that are predictable and share the burden as broadly and progressively as possible.
  • Build a new economic foundation for the North through the creation of a 25-year plan to support innovation and economic development in the North.
  • Improve Canada-U.S. border crossings and work with the United States to find an alternative to the US’s new passport requirements that are hurting both economies.

Ontario NDP: 2007 Election Overview

Leader bio and election platform of the New Democrats

Howard Hampton: Leader of the NDP

Howard Hampton is the leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party in the 2007 election. He was born in 1952. Hampton is married to Shelley Martel, and they have two children. He earned his law degree from the University of Ottawa, a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Prior to entering politics, Hampton worked as a labour lawyer for the Canadian Labour Congress and in private practice in Fort Frances. He also worked for the Blakeney government in Saskatchewan, and as a teacher in southern and northern Ontario. Hampton was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 1987. Under Premier Bob Rae, he served as the Minister of Natural Resources and as Attorney General of Ontario. He was elected leader of the party in 1996.

NDP 2007 Election Platform

The NDP election platform focuses on fighting for a fair deal for working families. In this context, the NDP has outlined a set of initiatives in the areas of taxation, social spending, and the environment. These include:

  • Increase investment in health care, education, and other public services working families need.
  • Immediately increase the minimum wage to $10/hour, with subsequent increases to match inflation.
  • Help working families by keeping property taxes down, freezing transit fares, and reducing home energy bills by providing energy efficiency and conservation incentives (loans and grants) for home retrofits.
  • Implement a Fair Tax Plan that would ensure that all pay their fair share of taxes. This would include maintaining the current level of manufacturing and small business taxes, while bringing in a modest increase in the General Corporate Tax rate (from 14 to 14.5 percent). Also, for individuals making $150,000 or more, create a new provincial personal income tax bracket that is two per cent higher than the existing upper rate.
  • Commit to protecting good jobs and ensuring that manufacturing plants are not shut down at the expense of workers’ benefits, pensions, and severance.
  • Establish a Right-to-Know law that ensures families know what toxins and other environmental hazards are in their food, air, ground and water.
  • Fight global warming by shutting down Ontario’s biggest polluter – the Nanticoke coal plant – by 2011, and investing in safe, green, renewable energy instead of nuclear mega-schemes.
  • Fast-track public transit expansion – including new investments in light rail and GO Transit – to reduce greenhouse gases the quickest.

Minor Parties in the 2007 Ontario Election

List and links to minor political parties in the election

While the Liberal, Progressive Conservative, and New Democratic parties are the major political parties in the election, there are several minor parties participating. These include:


Results of the 2007 General Election

Liberals win a majority government

The Ontario Liberals won a strong majority government in the 2007 general election, taking 71 of the 107 seats in the provincial legislature (CBC, October 11, 2007). This nearly equaled their total of 72 seats in the 2003 general election. The Liberals also picked up 42 percent of the popular vote (a small decrease from their 46 percent in 2003) (CBC, October 11, 2007). The Liberal victory was of historical significance, as it marked the first time in 70 years that the provincial Liberals had won back-to-back majority governments in Ontario.

The Progressive Conservative Party came in second and formed the Official Opposition, winning 26 seats and 31 percent of the vote(CBC, October 11, 2007). In the 2003 general election, the Party won 24 seats and 34 percent of the vote. Of note, John Tory, the Party’s leader, failed to win his riding in the 2007 election, meaning that he will not be able to sit in the provincial legislature until another election or by-election is held.

The New Democratic Party came in third, with 10 seats and 16 percent of the vote(CBC, October 11, 2007). This represented an upswing for the Party from the 2003 general election, in which it won 7 seats and 14 percent of the vote. Finally, the Green Party failed to win any seats in the election. The Party, however, did manage to get 8 percent of the popular vote(CBC, October 11, 2007).

Sources and Links for More Information

List of article sources and links for more on this topic

Sources Used for this Article

List of Links for More Information

Syndicate content