Coyne: Ontario's broke, will Ford really reject a multi-billion dollar carbon tax windfall?

By Andrew Coyne, Ottawa Citizen, June 9, 2018

There is a tendency after every election to over-read the results. We are particularly prone to this in my trade, invested as we are in the significance of every falling leaf.

So the replacement of one government with another in Ontario, Doug Ford’s Conservatives taking over from Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals, has been greeted with headlines to the effect that Ontario had overnight been tranformed into “Ford Nation.” In Ottawa, Conservative MPs were on their feet in the House claiming the results meant Ontarians had “rejected” the federal carbon tax, along with the rest of what their leader, Andrew Scheer, called “Justin Trudeau’s damaging policies.” There is much talk of the sweeping mandate Ford has been given.

So let’s just take a minute, shall we, and get real? Over four previous elections, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives averaged roughly 33 per cent of the popular vote, enough for between 24 and 37 seats. The difference between those abysmal failures and Thursday night’s 76-seat triumph was seven percentage points: it is only the funhouse mirrors of the “first past the post” electoral system that converts 40 per cent of the vote into 60 per cent of the seats.

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