UPDATE: DOUG FORD TO BE NEXT PREMIER OF ONTARIO
A populist wave has swept leader Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservatives into power in Ontario.
Ford's Tories captured a majority by harnessing voters' economic anxiety and anger with a scandal-plagued Liberal government.
The Liberals saw a stunning collapse after leading the province for 15 years and capturing a majority government just four years ago.
Premier Kathleen Wynne, who narrowly hung on to her Toronto seat, resigned as Liberal leader and all but a handful of the staunchest Liberal ridings fell.
The N-D-P under Andrea Horwath will form the Official Opposition, marking a turnaround for a party consistently stuck in third place since Bob Rae's New Democratic government was defeated in 1995.
The P-C's captured 76 seats, the N-D-P took 40, the Liberals lost official party status by winning only seven seats and the Green party Leader Mike Schreiner won his riding for the party's first-ever Ontario seat.
Doug Ford is a newcomer to provincial politics, having only captured the party leadership three months ago.
Ford beat out establishment favourite Christine Elliott after former leader Patrick Brown stepped down over sexual misconduct allegations that he denies.
Under Ford, the Progressive Conservatives recaptured the province they have not led since 2003, overcoming the failings of the past three elections that saw them unable to defeat the Liberals.
But Ford's campaign certainly wasn't immune to controversy.
He dismissed allegations that he was involved in selling bogus party memberships, a candidate was dropped following theft accusations, and Ford was frequently accused of failing to be transparent by dodging calls to release a fully costed platform.
With about one week left in the campaign, the party published a list of promises and their price tags, but didn't indicate how they would pay for them.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne won her seat in the provincial election, but has stepped down as Liberal leader.
Wynne admitted last weekend that her party would lose the election, but urged voters to elect enough Liberals to prevent the other parties from winning a majority government.
Wynne's low personal approval ratings helped drive the Liberals way down in the polls.
Many of her cabinet ministers have been defeated.
The Liberals have been in government for the past 15 years.
The premier's office has proved elusive once again for N-D-P leader Andrea Horwath.
A mid-campaign surge in the polls put the 55-year-old in contention for the province's top job.
Despite engaging with audiences and fending off attacks by her rivals, Ontarians instead turned to Doug Ford and his Conservatives.
But Horwath handily won her own seat and more than doubled her party's overall seat count -- good enough for official opposition status.
Horwath told the crowd gathered at the Hamilton Convention Centre ``We have won more seats than we have in a generation.''
A beaming Horwath told them New Democrats rejected the politics of fear and cynicism but she vowed to fight for the things that matter to Ontarians.
She recently said -- quote -- ``They don't call me the Steeltown Scrapper for nothing.''
James Moore / NEWSTALK 1010
For the first time, there will be a member of the Green party in the Ontario legislature.
Party Leader Mike Schreiner made history last night by handily winning in his Guelph riding with 45 per cent of the vote, ushering in what he hopes is a new era for his party.
In the 2014 election, Schreiner, who's led the provincial Greens since 2009, finished third.
While Schreiner has won this initial fight, he says he may face an uphill battle for the next four years as he contends with a Progressive Conservative majority government that has vowed to eliminate the province's cap-and-trade system.
In his victory speech in Guelph, Schreiner called on Tory Leader Doug Ford to listen to him about how to solve the climate crisis.