Election Coverage / Government Watch / Politics

A Conservative Sweep in Canada, Powered by Immigrants and Blue-Collar Voters

AMAC Exclusive – By Daniel Berman


On Thursday night, voters in the Canadian province of Ontario, the largest in the country, comprising well over a third of the national population went to the polls and overwhelmingly reelected their Conservative government. The Progressive Conservative party, led by the boisterous Doug Ford, the brother of the late populist Mayor of Toronto, whose brand of politics, “Ford Nation” has sought to unite blue collar white voters with middle class Asian and ethnic voters against the dominance of the urban liberals of downtown Toronto and the power of unions. It is an unusual coalition, one the national Conservative Party only mastered once, in 2011, which is coincidentally the only time they have won a majority in Canada in the last 35 years.

Despite a four-year campaign of vilification by the Toronto and Ottawa press, this week that coalition delivered for Ford, whose party won 83 of the 124 seats up for election, compared to 31 for the socialist New Democratic Party and a mere 8 for the local branch of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party, which previously ran Ontario for 15 years from 2003 to 2018. Most importantly for Prime Minister Trudeau, in what had become a proxy battle over a ban on private handguns, the voters overwhelmingly rejected further restrictions. Ford’s victory produced reactions American conservatives will be all too familiar with: accusations of voter suppression, demands to change the electoral system, and threats to move to another province. The absurdity of the voter suppression charges is clear given that Ford’s party defeated its nearest rival by a margin of 17% of the popular vote. But the claim also highlights that the obsession with electoral systems as the cause for political defeat is not merely an American phenomenon. Liberals’ reaction to losing was not to ask how they could win over more voters, but to try to figure out a system whereby their existing support would be sufficient to win. In this case, the exercise was as futile as the year Democrats spent obsessing over H.R.-1 in the United States. In the case of Ontario, it was arguably worse. The NDP and Liberals spent the campaign arguing over who was best positioned to defeat the Conservatives, with the result that their nasty, issue-less campaign for second place more or less resulted in a tie for third.

If Democrats might have a lesson to learn from the disaster which befell the center-left in Canada’s largest province, there is inspiration to be drawn for Republicans from the coalition Ford built. The Ford brothers were treated as uncouth, almost “white trash” outsiders by the Conservative establishment in Canada, with Doug Ford’s brother in particular attacked for having recovered from drug addiction. Yet they succeeded where the more upscale, well-dressed Conservatives failed. In particular, the Fords demonstrated that rather than being diametrically opposed constituencies, as the Romney campaign and the RNC autopsy believed in 2012, many working-class whites and non-whites have more in common with each other than either does with wealthy urban white liberals. In the case of Ontario, the Progressive Conservatives understood that Sikh parents whose families came to Canada to give their children a better life and formerly unionized laborers in rural Ontario both wanted schools to be open, businesses free to operate, and a government that worked for them rather than sought to “protect” them from themselves. By trying to label opposition to COVID-19 restrictions as “white supremacy,” the Liberals and their allies actually alienated non-white voters, without ever asking them whether they wanted their schools closed, or police defunded. When a Liberal member of Parliament accused Ford of “crimes against humanity” for not doing more to tackle climate change, this crossed the line into farce.

While politics is different in Canada, the issues Ford emphasized for his coalition, including crime, are universal. In particular, a provincial ban on handguns became a major issue in the campaign. Liberal leader Stephen Del Duca proposed a ban on private handguns across the Province if the Liberals won. Doug Ford made opposition to further gun control a major issue. On June 2, Del Duca lost his own seat by a margin of 17%, while the Liberals won a mere 8 seats.

This is a shot across the bow of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal government, which recently proposed a nationwide ban on the sale of handguns in the aftermath of the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas. That handguns were not used in the shooting, nor have they been used in any in Canada, is beside the point. Yet, Del Duca’s failure to use the issue in Ontario indicates that this gimmick may backfire. Ontario is far from the most pro-gun or right-wing province of Canada. On the contrary, the ability of the Liberals to dominate Ontario at the Federal level is what allowed them to maintain power in 2019 and 2021 despite losing the popular vote. In 2019, the Liberals won 79/121 seats in the province with 41.6% of the vote, while in 2021 they managed 78/121 with a mere 39.3%.

The core of Liberal strength in Ontario has been built on successful portrayals of the Federal Conservatives as a scary “foreign” force of prairie populists out of touch with “civilized” sentiment in Toronto. Liberals have sought to contrast the “woke” Ontarians with their less sophisticated compatriots. This manifested in a willingness to mobilize the power of the state against ordinary people when the Canadian government, spearheaded by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, froze the bank accounts of anyone who donated to support truckers who went on strikes to protest COVID-19 mandates. The handgun ban is yet another effort to do so.

The cost of demonizing large sections of the country has been to destroy the Liberal Party in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. But with the crushing rejection of the efforts of the local Liberals to use COVID-19 and gun control to beat Doug Ford, there is reason to believe the shelf-life of this strategy is running out. Recent polls have shown the Liberals trailing the Conservatives despite the Conservative Party lacking a leader. And as was the case when Terry McAuliffe tried to use similar gimmicks against Glenn Youngkin in Virginia, voters seem to be sick of it.

Canada is still a long way from a conservative revolution, but the elections in Ontario, and the impending right-wing landslide in historically left-leaning Quebec this fall, suggest Canadian progressivism has peaked. Voters are tired of gimmicks, and when woke culture war gimmickry is all the left can offer, they can expect to lose as they did in Ontario last week.

Daniel Berman is a frequent commentator and lecturer on foreign policy and political affairs, both nationally and internationally. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He also writes as Daniel Roman.    

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7 months ago

Very informative article. Nice to know the folks up north are sick of this progressive crap as much as we traditional Americans are.

7 months ago

There is a lot we can learn from our neighbors to the north. The U.S. is slipping into a serious decline. We must take back our Nation for all of us before it’s too late.

Mark Freiberg
7 months ago

Did CNN forget to run this story?

7 months ago

Hi, Im a Trucker in our USA. GO canada Go and Vote OUT your Liberal Loser Progressive Dictatorship of Trudeu !!! We Hope you ARE FREE AGAIN SOON !!!

7 months ago
Reply to  Laura ANDERSON

Agree. Hope this Canadian Conservative voting approach is contagious, and we also get rid of the similar Limousine Liberal Commies ruining our Great USA. Maybe these corrupt officials in both countries can move to Russia and China. Wouldn’t that be great!

7 months ago

WOW. Go Canada go! Take down the socialists and get back to the real people…

7 months ago

Anti-gun politicians always use a crisis, such as any of the recent string of mass murders, to make another attempt to take guns away from the citizens. I don’t know what Canada’s constitution-equivalent says, but, here, the founding fathers wisely incorporated into the Constitution the right to bear arms as a protection against government tyranny.

The fact that Canada’s Liberal party sought to ban privately held handguns, when they’re not a problem there and weren’t even used in the Texas shooting, is both laughable and absurd. We the People around the world, I hope, finally are wising up. Congratulations, Ontario.

7 months ago
Reply to  Kim

I have been reading comments on FB where MANY people are stating that they think that our government is possibly even setting up these shooters (who all have ended up dead) to push the ban on guns. I didn’t give this thought til I read one after another commenting on how immediately our pelosi , shumer etc, have bills already trying to be passed within several days of a shooting. Just several days after this last shooting, pelosi had 4 bills already before congress. Furthermore, how does a kid who works at a fast food place, AFFORD one of the most expensive guns on the market, plus ammo that costs just as much as the gun? That was another reason they think government is somehow behind the shootings. Food for thought.

7 months ago
Reply to  Sara

I should hope not. Pelosi and Schumer always have bills waiting in the wings for opportunities like this. They’re career opportunists, prepared to pounce on any incident that they can point fingers to and say,”See? We need to do something now!” It’s a heat-of-the-moment reaction, and they know emotional issues like these are when they can win over more voters. But smart people look beyond the superficial presentation and think more deeply about consequences of these bills, i.e., surrendering our freedoms.

I’ve never been on FB and never intend to. What you’ve read is one reason why. And not all shooters are kids or are dead. They either stole the guns, stole money to buy them, already owned them, or bought them on a credit card, never intending to pay the bill.

7 months ago

God Bless Canada! In America, when we get prayer back in our public schools, the ten commandments posted on the walls of all of our educational institutions and the US constitution posted there as well, then things will began to change in a very positive way.
The problem in America is not a gun problem. It is a moral, values, ethics and character problem.
Until individuals are willing to sit down and discuss their difference of opinions in a civil manner with someone who disagrees with them, our great country will continue to be divided.
We are in a spiritual battle. Some of the leaders on the left are evil. They do not want that which is best for America. They want power and a one world government.

7 months ago

This is really a pleasant surprise. What a great idea, calling themselves the PROGRESSIVE Conservative Party!!! Why didn’t WE think of that?

7 months ago
Reply to  JoanHR

I was thinking the same thing. That would really make their (the libs) day!

7 months ago

Our country is on the verge of a liberal take over in the midterms and we are worried about Canada. I got news for you and that is, yet another Rigged Election is on our doorstep this November and I have no doubt whatsoever that it will happen. Biden’s flooding the lower courts with liberal judges. The primaries were once again a mail in ballot joke. I have no faith in the election process and believe we will be officially screwed in November. Personally, I don’t give a damn about Canada and as long as Trudeau’s in office he’ll find a way to keep them as is. Remember liberals are corrupt and always get their way. You only have to look at what’s happening here to know that.

Charles Alvarado
7 months ago

Let’s take down Trudeau and his woke socialist party. Now.
Canadians unite… revolt. Take back your country. Be courageous!!

Tim Toroian
7 months ago

Yippee Kai Yay! Let’s hope it carries over to ridding themselves of Numbnuts.

7 months ago

God Bless Canada! I pray we’ll do the same in November and in 2024!!!

7 months ago
Reply to  Barb304

ALL AMERICANS….take notice and DO THE SAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

7 months ago

Lucky for Canada they don’t have the same kind of election fraud we’re having with the Democrat Party, or a conservative outcome will never have happened.

7 months ago

Just a few days ago , Canada’s Prime Minister decided , all on his own , to ban fire arms sales in Canada . This demonstrates how Canada is governed by the whim of it leaders . Canada needs a real constitution . I’ve read what it claims is its constitution . Very poor ! Canada needs a real Constitution .

7 months ago

I’d say things are looking up, up North.

7 months ago

Glad to see that there is still some degree of sanity left in the world. God bless the Canadians for pushing back against the Liberals and saying, “Enough is enough.” Saying that the Americans Dems might learn a lesson from the Canadians is a ridiculous thought. The (Un) American Dems have closed their minds to learning anything intelligent.

7 months ago
Reply to  Jerry

The Canadians have truly risen to the occasion.

7 months ago

This is a huge relief. People around the world finally seem to be waking up to the atrocities of Communism.
The Left forgot (or got too smug and arrogant) to keep their actual meanness hidden.
No sane person chooses Totalitarianism.

7 months ago
Reply to  Becky

This small good news conceals that fact that Canada needs a Constitution .

7 months ago
Reply to  Becky

There seems to be a lot of insanity in the world today.

Deploreable Sam
7 months ago

Well done Ontario! Freedom for our northern brothers, keep it up.
fjb… fjt…etc etc

7 months ago

You can hardly blame the people of the world. This crazy progressive liberalism makes it impossible to live an even half way decent life.

7 months ago


7 months ago
Reply to  jocko

All leftists lie and project their lies on their opponents!

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