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Canada  

Premier Doug Ford

UPDATE: 8:50 p.m.

Doug Ford rode a populist wave to power in Ontario on Thursday, capturing a Progressive Conservative majority by harnessing voters' economic anxiety and anger with a scandal-plagued Liberal government.

The Tory leader's election promises were in stark contrast to the other left-leaning major parties and included income tax cuts, scrapping the Liberals' updated sex-ed curriculum and strongly opposing a carbon tax.

Ford also rolled out several pledges designed with populist appeal in mind, from cutting gas prices by 10 cents a litre to introducing buck-a-beer to cutting hydro bills.

"A new day has dawned in Ontario — a day of opportunity, a day of prosperity and a day of growth," he told a crowd chanting his name.

The Liberals saw a stunning collapse after leading the province for the past 15 years and capturing a majority government just four years ago. Premier Kathleen Wynne, who narrowly hung on to her seat, resigned as Liberal leader and all but a handful of the staunchest Liberal ridings fell.

The NDP under Andrea Horwath will form the Official Opposition, marking a turnaround for a party consistently stuck in third place since Bob Rae's New Democratic government was defeated in 1995.

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner captured the party's first-ever seat in Ontario.

Ford is a newcomer to provincial politics, having only captured the party leadership three months ago. He beat out establishment favourite Christine Elliott after former leader Patrick Brown stepped down over sexual misconduct allegations that he denies.

"My friends, together in 88 short days we achieved the impossible," Ford said. "We united our party and united our province and this is your victory."

Under Ford, the Progressive Conservatives recaptured the province they have not led since 2003, overcoming the failings of the past three elections that saw them unable to defeat the Liberals.


UPDATE: 7:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford is thanking the people of Ontario for giving his party a majority government.

Speaking to supporters gathered at the Tory campaign headquarters, Ford says under his government, Ontario will enter a previously unseen period of economic prosperity.

Ford, whose favourite campaign slogan was "Help is on the way", tells the cheering crowd "Help is here."

He says "the party with the taxpayers' money is over."

And he promises to work to win the support of those who did not vote for him.


ORIGINAL: 7:25 p.m.

The Canadian Press is projecting a Progressive Conservative majority government in Ontario, to be led by Doug Ford.

It's a stunning victory for Ford, whose campaign was heavy on populist promises but light on fiscal details.

The New Democrats, who had been neck and neck with the Tories in several polls before the election, will form the Official Opposition with 41 seats at the latest count.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath handily won her seat.

The election has also marked a stunning collapse for the Liberals, who governed the province for the last 15 years.

Ford positioned himself during the campaign as a defender of "the little guy," promising to lower taxes, cut hydro rates and eliminate the province's cap-and-trade-system.

Former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne won her seat.

Wynne admitted last weekend that her party would lose the election, but urged voters to elect enough Liberals to prevent the other parties from winning a majority government.

Wynne's low personal approval ratings helped drive the Liberals way down in the polls.

Many of her cabinet ministers have been defeated.

The Liberals could drop to single-digit seats in the legislature, losing official party status.

Wynne has declined to say whether she'll stay on as party leader, but many expect her to step down.



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