The road to Queen’s Park, and other election news – March 28, 2018

Good morning PPGR enthusiasts! Brace yourselves – it’s almost time for another provincial election in Ontario. The past few months have seen significant political turmoil with the resignation of Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown and rise of Doug Ford as the new PC leader going into the election. The articles below delve into other issues related to voting, elections, and campaign politics.

This week’s Morning Brief was prepared by Cindy Liu. Sign up here to receive the Morning Brief directly to your inbox.

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  • In an unexpected move that’s been met with much public criticism, Premier Wynne decided to prorogue the Ontario legislature on March 15. A throne speech was then delivered on March 19 to outline the government’s priorities in the time remaining before the legislature is dissolved in early May. Sacha Forstner argues that the premier has used prorogation as more of a political tool to promote the Liberal platform rather than for its traditional purpose of marking the completion of the agenda laid out in the previous throne speech. [Forstner/PPGR]
  • In BC, the Greens have introduced a private member’s bill to lower the voting age to 16 – and the premier has said the government will consider it. Internationally, around 20 countries have voting ages lower than 18. In Austria, for example, lowering the voting age to 16 has resulted in 16 -and 17-year-olds voting at higher rates than other young voters. From the PPGR archives, Federico Vargas argues that allowing younger people to vote will increase political engagement, now and into the future. [Vargas/PPGR]
  • With the provincial election just weeks away and the Liberal Party trailing the PCs by 17 points according to recent polls, the premier likely saw the throne speech as an opportunity to set her party apart from the opposition. The speech, which promised new investments in areas such as health care and child care, contrasted the Liberals against Doug Ford’s PCs, who have proposed spending cuts. Although point leads do sometimes disappear in elections, these polling numbers show that the Liberals have quite the distance to go if they want to stay in power. [Grenier/CBC News]
  • In Ottawa, the federal government insists that it’s going to push through Bill C-33 and deliver on Trudeau’s 2015 campaign promise of election reform. The bill, currently awaiting second reading, would make voting easier by restoring the use of voter information cards as valid ID, bringing back the practice of vouching for a voter without ID, and repealing the prohibition on voting by Canadians living abroad. Amid Facebook’s scandal over unauthorized use of personal data, there’s also been talk that the government will introduce another bill to regulate social media giants from tampering in elections. [Bryden/CBC News]

That’s all for this week! Stay tuned for the next edition of the Morning Brief, landing in your inboxes on April 4, 2018.

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