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Laurier political scientist calls Kathleen Wynne's admission of defeat 'an act of desperation'

Last Updated Jun 4, 2018 at 12:36 pm EDT

Ontario Liberal Party Leader Kathleen Wynne waves as she boards her bus following a campaign stop at a west end Toronto street festival on Saturday, June 2, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

A professor at Wilfrid Laurier is predicting Kathleen Wynne’s 11th-hour bid to save her Liberal party from going up in smoke might actually burn the seats she’s trying to protect.

Political scientist Barry Kay says the latest projections from the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy — expected late Monday morning — will back that up, following Wynne’s admission of defeat this weekend.

Kay says it’s hard to imagine the incumbent party winning more than just five seats in Thursday’s vote, most of which are in central Toronto.

That leaves the Liberals at risk of losing official party status, and local candidates unable to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

“A lot of incumbents like Daiene Vernile are probably going to go down,” says Kay. “Most of the races — perhaps all the races in the Waterloo Region area now are basically between the Conservatives and the New Democrats.”

Kay says he was surprised Wynne conceded she’ll lose the election, in that it’s unprecedented for a leader to do so mere days before voters head to the polls.

But Kay predicts it’s not going to have any impact on swing voters because Wynne, he says, is just acknowledging what’s already widely known anyways: her baggage is sinking the Liberal party.

“A month ago LISPOP had the Liberals at 22 seats … so what’s happened in the last month is things have just gone from bad to worse,” Kay says. “[Wynne predicting her own government’s defeat] is just a reflection of the desperation of the campaign.”