Ontario’s election may be dividing people, but journalism doesn’t have to

The Discourse is here to get beyond polarizing politics and talk about the issues that really matter to you.

The votes may be in, but the conversation is just beginning. One day after Ontario’s election, we’re ready to listen to you.

After a contentious race, Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party won the provincial election, forming a majority government at Queen’s Park.

The PCs won 76 seats in Ontario’s legislature, while the New Democrats captured 40 seats. The Liberals managed only seven, resulting in the incumbent’s loss of official party status, and the resignation of former Premier Kathleen Wynne as leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. The Green Party won its first-ever seat in an Ontario election.

Going into Thursday, we knew the seat-rich 905 — that is, the cluster of suburban communities surrounding the city of Toronto — would have a major role to play in deciding its outcome. That’s because the region hosts 29 seats, nearly a quarter of the total for Ontario. Sure enough, many of the PC seats are situated in the 905, while the downtown core primarily voted Liberal and NDP.

Progressive Conservative campaigns promoted Ford as the everyperson’s candidate, and the election results may reflect those efforts. 905 regions like Peel, Durham, and York are diverse, rapidly growing communities populated largely by immigrants and people of colour. 

Reporter Emma Jones talks to a resident at the Dundas West Fest summer festival on June 1. Sadiya Ansari/The Discourse

At the same time, new survey data from Ipsos (for Global News) shows that 42 per cent of Ontario voters cast their ballots strategically, which means they voted with the goal of stopping a specific party or candidate from forming a government.

Amid strong opinions, polarizing debate and reactive news coverage, it can be hard to know what these results mean for you, your family, your friends and your neighbours. That’s why we want to talk about it with you.

This week, The Discourse launched #GTADiscourse, a month-long reporting project aimed at surfacing untold stories and perspectives in four communities in the Greater Toronto Area that are underserved by existing media. My colleague Sadiya Ansari and I want to go beyond the superficial, and uncover information that locals need to have meaningful discussions about the issues that matter most to them. 

So, we’re spending time in the 905 and the 416, hosting pop-up events and interviewing community members in Little Portugal, Brampton, Willowdale and Scarborough. The PCs won new seats in Scarborough and Willowdale, while Brampton selected both PC and NDP counsellors. The two electoral districts encompassing Little Portugal went to the NDP.

Help us by getting involved. Whether you live in one of the communities we’re covering, or reside elsewhere in the GTA, follow #GTADiscourse on social media to track our trip and learnings. Finally, subscribe to our newsletter to get weekly updates about #GTADiscourse straight to your inbox.

Elections can be divisive — but journalism doesn’t have to be. Let’s talk, Toronto!


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