PC’s Michael Ford wins

Michael Ford won the provincial election last night with 36.6% of the vote. Incumbent NDP candidate Faisal Hassan came a close second, trailing by 800 votes. Liberal candidate Nadia Guerrera came third with 24%.

I found the results surprising. Polls had found the Liberals in second place and the NDP quite far behind. In the end, the NDP came very close to taking the riding.

Ford’s win is historic; it’s the first time since 1955 that a Conservative has eld the seat (when it was York South). He has only a narrow mandate, though; more than 60% of voters supported left-leaning parties.

Ford tweeted “It will be my honour to represent you down at Queens Park and get real results for our community and all Ontario’s working with Premier Ford.”

Hassan said, “While the results are not what I had hoped for, please know that you can count on me to have your back in the days ahead.”

Debate report

Wednesday night’s debate was extremely well attended. The hall at Weston Park Baptist Church was full, and the audience was very engaged. Faisal Hassan (NDP), Tom Hipsz (New Blue), Nadia Guerrera (Liberal), and James Fields (Independent) attended.

The questions covered social supports, the environment, flooding, the Eglinton Crosstown, and housing, among other things. In general, the responses were unsurprising: both the Liberal and NDP candidates promised much and differed only in details, such as what the minimum wage would be and how rent control would work. Their promises were expensive, too: I’m not sure either of the leading candidates said they wouldn’t fund a program, whether it was tunnelling under the Eglinton Flats or a universal basic income.

I do wish someone had asked about debts, deficits, and how the candidates planned to pay for their promises. I also wish Michael Ford had attended—but he did not. Perhaps he would have had a more fiscally-conservative plan.

I was also hoping there would be a decisive moment or a victor, but Nadia Guerrera and Faisal Hassan sparred only infrequently and there was no mortal blow that settled the contest. In fact, the candidates were almost always very generous with one another. At one point, Guerrera even applauded Hipsz, her very conservative competitor, while Hassan was nodding in agreement.

Guerrera did fire on the NDP at a few points, saying that Hassan and his party have not been an effective opposition. In her concluding remarks, she said “This is our moment to decide what matters, to be visionary and aspirational… The NDP did not hold [the Ford] government to account and will not prevent them from forming another Conservative majority”. It was, perhaps, the most stirring moment of the night, but also, perhaps, a concession that the Liberals are trailing in the race and will not form the government.

Hassan criticized the record of past Liberal governments, especially regarding our riding. He said “we have seen the promises they made with respect to electrification and the UP Express” and “the record of the Liberals and the Conservatives when it comes to the environment is horrible”. In his closing comments he said “we cannot count on Michael Ford to stand up to his uncle, or on Steven Del Duca to fix the mess they made—or even to win his seat.”

Both Hassan and Guerrera were extremely well prepared, with an excellent command of the issues and their parties’ platforms.

Tom Hipsz and James Fields were, I think it’s safe to say, a little less polished. (I don’t blame them. I’m a pretty big YSW nerd, and I was lost much of the time.) Both of them were exceedingly good sports. Hipsz often tilted at green-power “windmills”, and COVID mandates (he was maskless the whole night). He also admitted when he didn’t know the answer to a question, which I thought was refreshing. Fields was harder to pin down: he seems to have an eclectic platform—but as he said, as an independent, he can steal the best ideas.

While Michael Ford is the highest-profile candidate to skip last night’s debate, he wasn’t the only one. Ignacio Mongrell, who is running for the Green Party, did not attend. Neither did Ana Gabriela Ortiz, of the Ontario Party. Neither seems to be campaigning very much, if at all.

The debate was organized by the Weston Village Residents’ Association, the Rockcliffe–Smythe Community Association, and the Mount Dennis Community Association, who did, as always, a super job.

Michael Ford skips debate

Surprising nobody and disappointing many, Michael Ford did not attend last night’s debate. I think this is inexcusable.

Perhaps Ford was afraid he’d embarrass himself in front of his constituents. If that’s the case, he shouldn’t go any further. If he can’t take the heat of two hours in a church basement, he’ll be incinerated over four years at Queen’s Park.

Maybe Ford was worried his ideas or experience won’t stand up to the scrutiny of the other candidates. If so, he should quit. There is no shame in that—a good person knows when they’ve been bested.

But I think these possibilities are very unlikely. Michael Ford has been city councillor— he’s not afraid of the spotlight, nor a little rough-and-tumble.

He is almost certainly following the instructions of his masters in the party. If so, he’s got his responsibilities backward: he works for us, not the PCs. He needs to take courage and make his pitch. If he catches hell for it, so be it. York South–Weston needs someone with guts to represent us, not a PC puppet taking orders from above.

Meeting with—and representing—his constituents is the job. If he won’t show up for the interview, we would be fools to hire him.

I take debates seriously because politicians are too sure, too often. Debates test their ideas in front of constituents and competitors. If politicians won’t bring their ideas into the light, they are afraid of what we’ll see—or that we’ll see nothing at all.

I won’t be voting for Michael Ford.

Polling says PCs will win

Mainstreet Research says that Michael Ford will win the provincial election in York South–Weston.

From iPolitics

According to their model, Ford has a modest 6% lead on Nadia Guerrera, the Liberal candidate, and a substantial 11% lead on the incumbent NDP candidate, Faisal Hassan.

I’m generally skeptical about results like this because I’m not sure that polling companies are typically able to get good data at the riding level. But Mainstreet seems very confident: they wrote “PCs’ Mike Ford set to take York South-Weston from the NDP”

An earlier poll by Forum Research also projected that the PCs would take York South–Weston.

Greens field candidate

The Green Party has fielded Ignacio Mongrell for the provincial election, completing the roster of candidates from the major parties.

The Greens say “Mongrell is a husband, environmentalist, and entrepreneur who proudly identifies as queer. He has worked with entrepreneurs for over 12 years at the Waterloo Accelerator Centre…. He is currently the Assistant Director at ICUBE, a business accelerator program at the University of Toronto.”

Michael Ford will be running for the Progressive Conservatives. Ford is, of course, the nephew of Premier Doug Ford and currently the city councillor for Etobicoke North.

Nadia Guerrera is representing the Liberals. She is teaches at Chaminade, where she heads the Social Science Department. Guerrera ran in Parkdale–High Park for the Liberals in 2018.

Faisal Hassan, our incumbent MPP, will be running again for the New Democrats.