News, Politics

Big “Wynne Win” Surprises Pollsters

Kathleen Wynne, April 2014. Image: Uiaeli
Kathleen Wynne, April 2014. Image: Uiaeli

It came as a big surprise: Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals were elected on Thursday night with a majority government.

The people who predict how elections will turn out didn’t see that coming.

Until the last days before the election, the odds were that either the Liberals would win a minority government or the PC party, led by Tim Hudak, would win.

But not only did the Liberals win, they won with more seats than all of the other parties combined.

The final tally was:

Liberals, 59 seats (38.7%)

PCs, 27 seats (31.2%)

NDP, 21 (23.7%)

Green Party, 0 seats (4.8%)

Others, 0 seats (1.5%)

In this case “seats” means the number of people for each party who will serve as Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) in the Ontario government.

The Liberals, with 59 MPPs, have more than the other two parties combined (27 + 21=48). That gives them a “majority” government.

Having a majority government is important, because it means that when it comes time to decide on important issues, the Liberals can’t be out-voted, even if all of the other MPPs vote against them. That will allow them to make laws and decisions they want to make, even if they are unpopular with the other parties.

In voting overwhelmingly for the Liberals, Ontario voters also sent a signal to the Progressive Conservative party that they didn’t like some of the things they stand for.

Shortly after the election was decided, Tim Hudak announced that he will step down as leader of the PCs to let someone else lead, so they can try to do better next time.

Whenever a party is campaigning—trying to get people to vote for them in an upcoming election—they make promises to the voters. “If you will vote for me, I promise to do such-and-such when I get in.”

Kathleen Wynne is no exception. Voters should remember the promises she made and see, in the coming months and years, whether she keeps them. Among her promises:

*increase taxes on cigarettes and to use that money to build new bus and subway routes in Ontario;

*make it easier for people to buy alcohol in the province; this may mean that people will be able to buy beer in grocery stores, for instance;

*expand hospitals in the province and increase the pay given to health workers; and

*improve the province’s health plan so that children in low-income families will get free medicine when they need it.

Kathleen Wynne was already the province’s premier (leader). However, she got that job when the previous premier, Dalton McGuinty, stepped down—she didn’t get it by being elected.

This time, the people of Ontario voted for her, which makes her the first elected female premier in Ontario’s history, and the first openly gay premier as well.

After she won the election, Wynne said the first thing she intends to do is pass a budget for the province. A budget is a list of things the government is going to do with the money it has. She said she will pass the budget within 20 days.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
The article explains the difference between a minority government and a majority government. Explain the difference in your own words. What are the positives and negatives of each of these types of government?

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences/Interpreting Texts
Although the Liberals won a majority government, not everyone in Ontario voted. Approximately 52% of people living in Ontario voted in this election. Why do you think this number is so low? What could that government do in order to get more people to vote?

Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Language Feature: Bullet Points
Bullet points are used to introduce items in a list. In this article, bullet points are used to list some of the promises that Wynne made. Why do you think the journalist chose to write using bullet points instead of using paragraphs?