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Ontario voting roundup: The gloves are off, but has anyone landed a punch?

The barrage of ‘opposition searches’ sees turf candidates Del Duca, Ford stick by Lecce. Del Duca finds a big old target on his back. Is it really a question of “affordability” or not?

Alex Boutilier: Welcome to Global News’ Ontario Voting Roundup, your increasingly desperate recap of the week in Ontario’s 43rd general election.

Each week, Global’s Queen’s Park Bureau Chief Colin D’Mello and I try to make sense of politics, policies and polls as Ontarians prepare to make their choices at the polls on June 2.

It’s been a busy week – Steven Del Duca released the Liberal platform on Monday, we had the North debate on Tuesday and a barrage of opposition research was released in an attempt to unsettle the campaigns. And Doug Ford – facing further criticism for dodging scrutiny by dodging reporters after the debate – has detained not one, but two outlets!

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Colin, we have a lot to do, so let’s get your impressions early on. What counted in the election campaign this week?

Colin D’Mello: After a sleepy start to the campaign last week, parties began rolling out their opposition research this week in a bid to weed out as many candidates before the nomination deadline.

The Ontario Liberals ended up being the week’s big losers, having had to rule out three candidates in total, meaning they won’t be able to field a full slate of 124 candidates and are facing questions about their process of verification.

What I found interesting was how each party handled the allegations about the candidates.

Doug Ford, for example, very quickly hushed up the story of Stephen Lecce’s involvement in a “slave auction” as a college student by bolstering Lecce’s excuses, excusing his actions because Lecce was teenager at the time and declaring his support for Lecce. Ford was able to deny more oxygen to the story and therefore did not have to answer for it the next day – effective strategy.

Del Duca, on the other hand, immediately vowed to expel candidates for past offenses when reporters presented him with allegations and, in doing so, gave opposition parties a shift to systematically target even more candidates. hoping to create chaos for the liberal camp. .

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As for the Northern debate, what stood out was who the primary target was. Going into the debate, most would reasonably expect the incumbent to be caught off guard by the other executives, but Doug Ford seemed to be playing second fiddle to Steven Del Duca.

Del Duca found himself fending off the majority of the attacks, as other leaders tried to hold him accountable for 15 years of Liberal rule in Ontario – even though Del Duca was only around for seven of those years and was minister for four. This could be an indication that the parties are sensing a liberal resurgence in the province.

Alex Boutilier: I really don’t feel, either from the available public polls or just watching the race, that anything is really breaking through. I mean, I literally get paid to pay attention to this, and I’m still having trouble understanding what this election is all about.

People keep shouting “it’s about affordability!” to me, and with inflation, housing and… vaguely gestures at everything … I guess that makes sense. But I remember people shouting that during the 2019 and 2021 federal election campaigns, and I’m not sure that’s what really decided those races.

Let’s assume the yelling people are right, though. If it’s affordability, who has the edge right now? Del Duca and his public transport plan Buck a Bus? Horwath with his health care commitments? Doug for being the guy who sent me several hundred dollars off license plate stickers before the campaign?

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Colin D’Mello: Alex, we know your life has become more expensive, your grocery bills have gone up, your mortgage is expensive, gas prices have gone up. that’s why [INSERT PARTY LEADER NAME HERE] is the only leader who can make your life more affordable.

Sound familiar? This is because all parties are saying exactly the same thing on a macro scale, the only difference being the pathways to affordability. So to more directly answer the question of who has the edge: all of the above and none of the above. Neither party has been able, to date, to present itself as the single answer to the question of affordability with much effect. But they will keep trying.

Alex Boutilier: Well, to paraphrase Arrested Development, there’s always money in local riding associations…

Alright, well, we’re only a week and a half away, and yet there are less than three weeks until E-Day. Next week is a big one, though, with a debate scheduled for Monday evening.

Will Horwath rally the province’s progressives to her banner? Will Del Duca be everyone’s favorite target again? Will Doug Ford improve his media dodging skills and bring a smoke bomb to evade interrogation?

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See you Monday to find out. To be better prepared, catch up on some of this week’s coverage that you may have missed.

Worldwide coverage of the 2022 Ontario election, week two:

Check out Global News’ pledge tracker, keeping tabs on every pledge and policy announced during the campaign.

Liberals drop candidate hours before Elections Ontario deadline
The Ontario Liberals dropped a third candidate in as many days on Thursday after the NDP unearthed Facebook comments he allegedly made that used a gay slur. (Nicole Thompson/The Canadian Press)

Ford says Lecce has his ‘full backing’ after ‘slave auction’ report, apology later
Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford says Stephen Lecce has his ‘full support’ after he apologized following a report of a ‘slave auction’ that went viral. produced when Lecce was part of a fraternity at Western University in the 2000s. (Ryan Rocca/Global News)

Doug Ford promises to ‘tighten up’ election finance laws after MPs’ allowances controversy
Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford vows to ‘tighten up’ election finance rules after a Global News investigation found eight PC MPs received allowances from their local riding associations – paid for by party donors and taxpayers. (Colin D’Mello/Global News)

The road to Queen’s Park: parties divided on the highways, united on public transport
Ontario’s political parties have identified the transportation pledges they hope will propel them into government at Queen’s Park after the June 2 provincial election.

Ontario NDP vows to ban MPs’ allowances to party donors
The Ontario NDP vows to ban the practice of MPPs dipping into riding association funds to pay for expenses, following a Global News investigation into how donations to the PC party from the Ontario are used.

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Doug Ford pledges to continue expanding Highway 7 between Kitchener and Guelph if re-elected
Ontario PC Party Leader Doug Ford, who made appearances in Kitchener and Cambridge on Thursday, pledged to continue construction on the Highway 7 widening between Kitchener and Guelph.

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