54 – The ‘magic number’ required for a majority
52 – Number of years since a government last secured three consecutive majorities
100 – Years since a Liberal premier last secured a third term
26 – Number of years it’s been since last minority government in Ontario
30 – Number of times I refreshed my internet browser to get updates on seat count (approximation)
180 – Number of minutes it took last night for the government to be safely declared a minority
1 – The number of seats keeping the Liberals from a majority
Election night is always about numbers, but was last night was certainly a bit unique on that front.
For such a lack-lustre campaign, last night’s results likely had viewers (or political junkies at the least) on the edge of their seats. With the seat count teetering between 54 and 53 for the majority of the night, it was anyone’s guess whether Ontario was in majority or minority territory. In the end, it was one seat that made all the difference.
While the results are finally in, a lot of uncertainty lies ahead.
The numbers have set the stage. But now, it becomes about how to best manage the political scenario before us. It will not be easy for McGuinty. He will have to balance pushing his government’s mandate forward while having to rely on the support of the opposition parties to pass legislation. All of this while having to address the need for fiscal restraint due to the province’s deficit and unstable economic times.
So where does McGuinty go from here? While we can speculate, particularly based on the federal experience, we will ultimately have to wait and see.