Which, as you will hear about fifty billion times this weekend, leaves the Liberals one seat shy of a majority government. However not all minorities are created equal, and failing to win that last seat isn't the complete failure many will paint it as.
For starters, it shouldn't be too hard to find an opposition MPP willing to take on the job of speaker...and the raise and perks that come with it. That would leave the Liberals and opposition tied at 53 seats and, as we all learned during the Chuck Cadman confidence mayhem, the speaker would be required to vote with the government on non-confidence motions to preserve the status quo.
There's also bound to be some fluidity in the seat count. MPPs will resign, and there will be by elections. Perhaps we may even get a floor crossing - though, sadly, the most poachable candidate for this went down in a blaze of glory in Eglinton Lawrence tonight.
Beyond the math, there's also the politics. Ontarians have gone to the polls three times in the past year, and given the abysmal turnout rate tonight, the appetite is definitely not there for another election anytime soon. Don't expect anyone to force an unnecessary election and bear the wrath of the electorate - at least not until campaign debts have been paid off.
So while McGuinty won't be able to write his name in the record books with three straight majority governments, he got the strong mandate he was asking for. That should be enough to keep Ontarians away from the polls for at least 2 or 3 years.
Labels: 2011 Ontario Election