Scandal-plagued Liberals win majority government in Ontario
TORONTO — Premier Kathleen Wynne led her Ontario Liberals triumphantly back to government with a new and stronger mandate.
The Liberals won their fourth election in a row — and their second majority in four tries — carried on the shoulders of Greater Toronto Area voters.
Tim Hudak immediately announced he would step down as leader of the Progressive Conservatives, although he would stay on as the MPP for Niagara West-Glanbrook.
The Liberals were leading or had won 59 seats, the PCs were leading or winning in 27 seats and the NDP were leading or winning in 21 ridings late Thursday night.
"We did this," a jubilant Wynne told her supporters. "Thank you Ontario ... You have put your trust in us and we will not let you down."
Watch below for live video from Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne's election headquarters.
The government's job now is to build this province up for every single person in it, she said.
Wynne thanked her partner, Jane, her campaign team and her candidates, and said she was so proud to be standing before them as the first woman elected premier of Ontario.
She has said her first order of business would be to re-introduce her spring budget within 20 days -— the same budget rejected by the NDP and PCs.
Hudak thanked the residents of his riding for re-electing him, and said he couldn't be prouder of his message of hope and jobs.
Wynne will have an opportunity to deliver the change she promised and the province needs, he said.
"Nobody should mistake this result as an endorsement of the status quo," Hudak said. "She will be held accountable if she does not deliver on that change."
The NDP was holding its seats but Horwath will likely be forced to explain her decision to run on a middle class-friendly platform that didn't go over well in downtown Toronto.
"We made gains in other parts of the province," Horwath said.
The campaign was the first in the history of the province to feature a female premier and opposition leader, but may also go down as one of the nastier writ periods as well.
Shortly after Horwath announced on May 2 that she would not support the Liberals' take-it-or-leave-it budget, Wynne met with Ontario Lt.-Gov. David Onley to ask that the legislature be dissolved.
The Ontario Liberals had 48 seats, the PCs 37 seats and the NDP 21 going into the election.
Throughout the campaign, Horwath fought off recriminations from Liberals and many NDPers who argued she should have backed the "progressive" budget on its own merits and to fend off a majority PC government.
Horwath later told a QMI Agency editorial board that she could not prop up a "corrupt" Liberal government that cost Ontarians up to $1.1 billion in the gas plant cancellations and remained under investigation by the OPP for alleged destruction of public records to cover up the scandal.
Wynne repeatedly told Ontarians that a vote for Horwath was a vote for "dangerous" Hudak.
Hudak laid out his "Million Jobs Plan" which instantly came under attack for how he calculated his job creation numbers.