The Ontario provincial election experiences a dramatic shift. While the Ontario PC party started the election race with a large and stable lead, the NDP has surged in support – with Ms. Horwath being the front-runner in the latest opinion polls-- while the PC is losing its ground. The rapid change in voters’ choices has highlighted a simple fact – that Ontario voters care about the leader’s integrity and that they want to elect an honest government.
While the NDP leader Andrea Horwath seems to lack a showman’s nature or physical charisma, she has a genuine and authentic personality that has earned her the trust from her party members and her local constituents, and a positive view from Ontario voters. She is not known to have been involved in any scandals and she is a person who cannot tell a lie. Once a $1.4-billion error was detected in her campaign platform, she immediately acknowledged the mistakes and apologized for it.
This honest leader and her scandal free party appears to stand in strong contrast to their opponents. A few weeks earlier, Ontario PC was poised to form a majority government. As a global populist wave spreads to Ontario, a campaign strategy by tapping into voter’s anger towards the liberal government seemed to have paved a winning path for the new leader Doug Ford. Ford hits home with an electorate that wants to end the gravy train. His attacks on excessive government spending resonated well with the immigrant community.
But PC party’s voting scandals have prevented the voters’ love to reach its fever pitch. Some half-dozen controversies about local nomination process are exposed that have led to corruption and criminal probes. The Globe investigation has revealed electoral fraud that included ballot-box stuffing, ineligible voters and fake memberships.
Doug Ford’s alleged involvement in the scandal has only fueled voters’ frustrations. Under his watch, a PC candidate resigned after it was found that the personal data of 60,000 customers had been stolen by the company where he worked. A recording emerged has left Ford facing accusations of violating party’s rules by signing up bogus members to help a candidate of his choice.
But despite the shocking scandals, it seems that PC party hasn’t lost any ground in the Chinese community, with many remaining to be Ford’ Nations’ staunchest supporters. For those who are under a cultural influence that values materialism over moral, the party that promises to put more money in their pocket but is morally broken can still be their most favorite choice.
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