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Doug Ford re-elected as Ontario premier with majority government, CTV News declares

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Doug Ford has been re-elected as premier of Ontario with a majority government, CTV News declares.

Polls closed across the province at 9 p.m. on Thursday and shortly after CTV News declared the Progressive Conservative leader the winner of the 2022 election.

At Toronto Congress Centre in Etobicoke, Ford celebrated his second mandate to wild applause and shouts of "four more years."

"Tonight's victory, it isn't about me, it isn't about the party," Ford told the crowd about an hour after the results poured in. "This victory belongs to every worker who knows that they deserve better. Every family knows that they can dream bigger."

"But most of all this victory belongs to each and every one of you.”

Ford also won a second term as representative in his riding of Etobicoke North.

The 57-year-old has been the frontrunner of the election for months, leading in nearly every poll in both general party support and top choice for premier.

Ford first dove into provincial politics in 2018 after serving eight years as a city councillor in Toronto. In his first election he was able to oust Kathleen Wynne, ending the Ontario Liberal Party’s 15-year reign in the province.

Despite his many years of public service, Ford tends to brand himself moreso as a businessman and builder—someone who says “yes” to projects and promises to “get it done.”

In 2018, he promised that under his leadership Ontario would be “open for business” and that he would usher in an era of “economic growth and prosperity.”

This time around, he focused on the building of new infrastructure such as Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass, in addition to new hospitals and long-term care.

Ford’s success comes from his ability to portray himself as accessible and understanding of the plights of the working class. His early promises were all about affordability—such as the licence plate renewal fee rebate, which saved families about $120 a year and the six-month gas and fuel tax cut—pledges that were meant to put money back into the pockets of Ontarians.

He was able to win a number of high-profile endorsements from municipal and union leaders in the process, something he didn't shy away from mentioning in length during his acceptance speech Thursday night.

" This is my proudest achievement as a leader of this party, building a new coalition, expanding our base, creating a more inclusive party where everyone matters, because never in our lifetime has it been more important for a party to represent all of Ontario," he said.

"If you've had to worry about your job at the local auto plant, I want you to know we're investing in the future of Ontario's auto sector. If you're a student who wants to work in the tech sector, we will have a job waiting for you. If you're a newcomer with a degree who can't get a job in your field, we'll make sure you can get credentials you need. This is what we're working for. This is what the Ontario dream is all about."

In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated Ford on his re-election, saying that he looks forward to continuing to work with the premier over the next four years.

“Over the past several years, the federal government, working with the province, has delivered historic investments in retooling our auto sector to build cleaner vehicles while creating and securing thousands of good jobs in communities across the province," he said.

“We will build a better future for Ontarians, and all Canadians.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory also issued a statement touting his "strong intergovernmental partnership" that he forged with the PC government during the pandemic.

"I will work to ensure that continues so that the Toronto economy and the Ontario economy – which relies heavily on our city's success - come back together stronger than ever."

The popularity afforded to Ford fluctuated greatly over the last four years. In the beginning of his first term in office, the PC leader made substantial cuts to multiple ministries, including healthcare and the environment.

But when the pandemic hit in March 2020, Ford was able to establish himself as a level-headed leader, using daily news conferences as a means to inform the public and make multiple policy announcements.

Ford has admitted that the pandemic was one of his most trying times as a politician; and while the Liberals and Ontario NDP have often criticized the PCs for their decisions surrounding the lifting of mandates and the handling of long-term care outbreaks, it doesn’t seem to have made that much of a difference in terms of voter support.

OTHER PARTY LEADERS RESIGN

CTV News has declared the Ontario New Democratic Party will form the Official Opposition.

Andrea Horwath, who led the party for 13 years and was re-elected in her riding of Hamilton Centre on Thursday, told supporters that it was time for her to step down from her position as leader.

“It’s time for me to pass the torch,” Horwath said through tears as her supporters chanted her name.

Meanwhile, Steven Del Duca also stepped down as leader of the Ontario Liberal Party after losing his seat in Vaughan-Woodridge and failing to secure the position of Official Opposition.

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