Three provinces will be heading to the polls this year, and amid a barrage of media questions, Ontario Premier Doug Ford confirmed that his province won’t be joining them.

However, he has not ruled out holding an election in 2025, sooner than the scheduled date of June 4, 2026.

But why would a government elected with a second majority in 2022—meaning it can comfortably stay in power until 2026—want to go to the polls early?

Although only the Progressive Conservatives know the answer to that, many observers are speculating that it has to do with provincial-federal dynamics.

“There’s the idea of ​​a ‘carbon tax election’ that Doug Ford would call. If he goes on that and it plays well enough in the media, he can go and ride the Poilievre wave that’s happening federally to go and give himself another majority on that,” Greg Loerts, a consultant with Bluesky Strategy Group, said in an interview. .

The PCs aren’t the only Ontario party shaping their messaging by what’s unfolding federally.

Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie tried to distance herself from her federal counterparts after the June 24 byelection upset for the Liberals in Toronto–St. Paul’s, and even said that it’s the PCs who are closer to the federal Liberals.

“I think the biggest friend is Doug Ford, is the closest friend of Justin Trudeau,” she told Global News in an exclusive interview. “I probably speak to the prime minister less than once a year.”

Provincial parties in other provinces are also being impacted by the fortunes of their federal cousins.

Angus Reid says its recent polling has shown that the popularity of the federal Conservatives has contributed to the increase in support for the BC Conservatives ahead of that province’s election in October.

“More than half (56%) of likely federal Conservative voters place their vote with the provincial Conservatives currently,” the pollster said in April.

“This comes as BC Conservative leader John Rustad has promised to ‘axe’ B.C’s carbon tax if his party were to win the coming election, aligning himself with federal Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre, who has not officially endorsed either United nor the provincial Conservatives. .”

But in Ontario so far, the possibility of early Ontario election remains mere speculation. Mr. Ford’s office has not returned requests for comment on the issue.

Favorable Outlook

Politically, the outlook for the Conservatives in Ontario and at the federal level is favorable. According to an Abacus poll from May, the PCs have the support of 39 percent of Ontarians, compared with 26 percent for the Liberals and 22 percent for the NDP.

John Shields, a politics and public administration professor at Toronto Metropolitan University, says another possibility that the PCs may want to rush to the polls ahead of a federal election could be if a Conservative government implements expenditure-cutting measures that don’t sit well with a portion of the Ontario electorate.

“That government is very likely … going to be interested in slashing a lot of programming,” Mr. Shields told The Epoch Times. “That’s going to potentially rub off on the Progressive Conservatives in the province of Ontario.”

Mr. Shields also pointed out that Ontario has a tendency to elect a party that is the opposite of the federal party currently in power, calling it “a little bit of a balancing act” that Ontarians make.

‘Polls Are Fickle’

According to Mr. Shields, while calling an early election could benefit the Progressive Conservatives, it could also backfire. He notes that former Ontario Premier David Peterson called an early election in 1990, seeking to win re-election before the economic recession would reach its worst.

“They saw their lead in the polls as very high. They thought this was a way of guaranteeing them another four years in office with a really strong majority, so they went earlier than they had to go,” he said. “Then, of course, the polls turned on them because people didn’t like the fact that they were calling an early, expensive election.”

The NDP ended up winning that election for the first time ever, going from 19 seats to 74. The Liberals’ seat count fell from 93 to 36, and Mr. Peterson resigned on election night.

“Polls are fickle. They can turn pretty quickly, and people are pretty skeptical about governments,” Mr. Shields said.

He added that if the Ontario PCs decide to call an election, they would do it in early 2025 if the “polls continue to be favorable.”

Mr. Loerts also thinks there are risks to an early election, especially since Mr. Ford has a majority government well into 2026.

He points out that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to call an early election in 2021 to secure a majority government failed, with many Canadians criticizing the move to call an election during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If Ontarians really look at it and they go, ‘we’re not happy that you just tossed us into an election,’ they might return [Mr. Ford] with a minority,” he said.