Much has changed since the Ontario Liberals' last surprise win

The Ontario Liberals have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in a couple of recent elections. Or perhaps more accurately, the Progressive Conservatives have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. But there are a number of important differences in this election.

For one thing, there’s a Liberal government in Ottawa. And that matters in Canadian politics. Throughout history, Ontario voters have typically chosen a different party to serve them at Queen’s Park from the one in power on Parliament Hill. Also, Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown hasn’t fallen into some of the traps that his predecessors did. And the longer the Liberals have been in power, the greater the appetite for change. Like Stephen Harper’s Conservatives in 2015, their time may just have run out.

And even if the alternative isn’t perfect, it might be good enough. Anything can happen in the next four and a half months. But Patrick Brown has a better chance of becoming premier than any Progressive Conservative leader in a generation. And there may simply be too many trends and prevailing winds for the Liberals to overcome.

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