Why does Ontario vote every four years in June?

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Why does Ontario vote every four years in June?
Author of the article:Brian Lilley
Publishing date:Apr 30, 2022 • 1 day ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Parliament Building in Toronto.
Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Parliament Building in Toronto. PHOTO BY ISTOCK /GETTY IMAGES

The election shall be called on Wednesday and voting will happen on a Thursday. So says the law.


While Ontario, like most of Canada, has had elections every four years or so for most of our history, the idea that it is fixed in law is fairly new. Prior to 2005, the time a government would spend in office would range from 2 years to more than 5 years.

Ontario’s first parliamentary session following Confederation lasted three years and five months from September 3, 1867, until February 25, 1871. The longest stretch between elections was from October 6, 1937, until August 4, 1943, a period of 5 year, 9 months and 29 days.

The 1943 win by the Progressive Conservative government of George Drew led to 42 years of PC governments that would not come to an end until 1985 when the Liberals and NDP formed a coalition to seize power. That would eventually lead to the 1990 NDP government of Premier Bob Rae who holds the record for longest serving time as premier under one election — four years, seven months and 22 days.


Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty introduced legislation in 2005 to set the election date as the first Thursday in October. That date proved problematic, often falling on religious holidays and was moved to the first Thursday in June in 2016.

The legislation requires the election to be called on a Wednesday with voting day on the fifth Thursday after the writ is issued. While this appears to make election dates cut and dry, there is nothing that prevents a government from calling an election early.

The legislation states that, “Nothing in this section affects the powers of the Lieutenant Governor, including the power to dissolve the Legislature, by proclamation in Her Majesty’s name, when the Lieutenant Governor sees fit.”


In 2014, Premier Kathleen Wynne asked the Lieutenant Governor to call an election just two and a half years after the previous vote. In that instance, the 2011 election had returned a minority government and Andrea Horwath’s NDP had indicated that they would not support the Liberal government’s budget.

In essence, though, the fixed election date legislation doesn’t actually fix the election date except through the honour system. Any government could ask the Lieutenant Governor to dissolve the legislature and call an election at any time, a request that is unlikely to be rejected except under the most extreme circumstances.

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The Ford government was encouraged by many to call an election early, especially when the PC Party was riding high in the polls at various points over their handling of the pandemic. Despite being asked several times about calling an election early to take advantage of favourable poll swings, Premier Ford has said no, that he would follow the law.

So despite whatever date you want to pick for when parties began campaigning, the election will be called on Wednesday, May 4 and the final voting day will take place on Thursday, June 2.
 

spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
31,194
2,032
113
Why does Ontario vote every four years in June?
Author of the article:Brian Lilley
Publishing date:Apr 30, 2022 • 1 day ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Parliament Building in Toronto.
Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Parliament Building in Toronto. PHOTO BY ISTOCK /GETTY IMAGES

The election shall be called on Wednesday and voting will happen on a Thursday. So says the law.


While Ontario, like most of Canada, has had elections every four years or so for most of our history, the idea that it is fixed in law is fairly new. Prior to 2005, the time a government would spend in office would range from 2 years to more than 5 years.

Ontario’s first parliamentary session following Confederation lasted three years and five months from September 3, 1867, until February 25, 1871. The longest stretch between elections was from October 6, 1937, until August 4, 1943, a period of 5 year, 9 months and 29 days.

The 1943 win by the Progressive Conservative government of George Drew led to 42 years of PC governments that would not come to an end until 1985 when the Liberals and NDP formed a coalition to seize power. That would eventually lead to the 1990 NDP government of Premier Bob Rae who holds the record for longest serving time as premier under one election — four years, seven months and 22 days.


Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty introduced legislation in 2005 to set the election date as the first Thursday in October. That date proved problematic, often falling on religious holidays and was moved to the first Thursday in June in 2016.

The legislation requires the election to be called on a Wednesday with voting day on the fifth Thursday after the writ is issued. While this appears to make election dates cut and dry, there is nothing that prevents a government from calling an election early.

The legislation states that, “Nothing in this section affects the powers of the Lieutenant Governor, including the power to dissolve the Legislature, by proclamation in Her Majesty’s name, when the Lieutenant Governor sees fit.”


In 2014, Premier Kathleen Wynne asked the Lieutenant Governor to call an election just two and a half years after the previous vote. In that instance, the 2011 election had returned a minority government and Andrea Horwath’s NDP had indicated that they would not support the Liberal government’s budget.

In essence, though, the fixed election date legislation doesn’t actually fix the election date except through the honour system. Any government could ask the Lieutenant Governor to dissolve the legislature and call an election at any time, a request that is unlikely to be rejected except under the most extreme circumstances.

MORE ON THIS TOPIC

The Ford government’s pre-campaign budget is sparking a mix of reaction as nurses slam it as
Ford's budget gets mixed reviews on eve of election campaign
Premier Doug Ford speaks during an announcement at the Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus in Ottawa, Friday, March 25, 2022.
GOLDSTEIN: Instead of serious tax relief, Ford delivers election bribes
Ontario Liberal Party Leader Steven Del Duca high-fives candidates after speaking in Toronto, Saturday, March 26, 2022, as the party announces its first platform plank ahead of the provincial election.
LILLEY: A cheaper chicken dinner for every vote is latest Ontario election promise

The Ford government was encouraged by many to call an election early, especially when the PC Party was riding high in the polls at various points over their handling of the pandemic. Despite being asked several times about calling an election early to take advantage of favourable poll swings, Premier Ford has said no, that he would follow the law.

So despite whatever date you want to pick for when parties began campaigning, the election will be called on Wednesday, May 4 and the final voting day will take place on Thursday, June 2.

the federal, provincial, and municipal elections should be every 5 years. 💡