The Political Landscape

Written by Wayne Snow March 13, 2024 Lobbying

A green corn field with a soft sunlight.

Polling from Abacus data in February showed Premier Ford and his PC Party were back up to 41%.

After Bonnie Crombie won the leadership on December 2nd last year, Ford’s PCs dropped from 42% to 38%. February’s poll indicates that the Premier has returned to safe majority territory.

The Liberals received a boost after Crombie was elected leader, jumping from 23% to 27%. However, in the three months since, her support has flatlined at 27%. Marit Stiles and the NDP have seen their support drop from 24% to 19% in that same time.

What to Expect in The Spring Session

This legislative session runs until mid-June.

Premier Ford is looking to turn the page from a scandal-plagued 2023.

The overarching lens for policy decisions will be affordability: whether housing, inflation, interest rates, economy, unemployment, etc. We have seen this theme run through the legislation introduced so far this session and will be the focus of the budget on March 26th.

Outside of the legislature, the Premier is required to call two byelections: Lambton Kent Middlesex by the end of March and Milton within six months.

The Cabinet post of Minister of Red Tape Reduction also needs to be filled to replace Parm Gill, who left Queen’s Park to run for federal Conservative Party.

For Bonnie Crombie, her party has nine seats in legislature. The Liberals do not have Official Party status in the legislature, so they are not allotted regular questions, full standing on committees, and they receive less legislative funding and resources.

Crombie does not have a seat in the House, and so far, she has not ruled out running in Milton. Her challenge of not having a seat in the legislature could be an asset, allowing her to spend time touring outside of the GTA and building her profile while her opponents are constrained by the daily duties of the House. She also needs to push back on the PC's attempts to define her as elite, out of touch, with a history of increasing taxes.

There is almost as much on the line for Stiles as Ford in this session, as she tries to maintain her Party’s relevance – and Official Opposition status. She will try to take advantage of the spotlight in the legislature since Crombie doesn’t have a seat and her caucus does not have Official Party Status. This could also force Premier Ford to speak on NDP priority issues after essentially ignoring Stiles and focusing his attention on Crombie since the December leadership.

Stiles will also try to woo progressives within the Liberal party who feel that Crombie’s ideology and policies may be too centrist for their liking.

CEDA’s Engagement with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

CEDA continues to engage the Minister and OMAFRA staff/officials on significant gaps in the Ontario Farm Implements Act (OFIA) and its Regulation 123/06.

CEDA has held multiple meetings with Minister Thompson, her policy staff and Ministry officials. We have held similar meetings with policy staff from the offices of the Premier, Minister of Labour, the Minister of Economic Development, as well as Minister Thompson’s Parliamentary Assistant. CEDA has received support from the OFA, the Veal Farmers of Ontario, and shortline manufacturers in Ontario.

In December, OMAFRA officials presented CEDA with potential regulatory amendments they are considering. After analysing the impacts and identifying gaps that would remain, CEDA responded with a submission that provides feedback on OMAFRA’s considerations and highlights the issues that are still outstanding. Our next meeting with OMAFRA officials to discuss our latest submission is scheduled for the end of March.

If you have any questions about CEDA’s advocacy on your behalf, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will keep you informed of progress as we advance our members’ interests.