The final campaign day in Ontario: Liberals go hard after Toronto New Democrats

PICKERING, Ont. – Premier Kathleen Wynne attends a rally at Pickering-Scarborough East office of Tracy MacCharles on Tuesday. (Michael Peake/Toronto Sun)

The final day of the campaign in the 41st Ontario general election gets going early for all three major party leaders.

Liberal leader and Premier Kathleen Wynne finishes this long campaign by spending the day hitting every NDP riding in Toronto: Toronto Danforth at 8:15 a.m. (incumbent Peter Tabuns); Beaches-East York at 1 pm (Michael Prue), Trinity-Spadina (Marchese), Davenport (Schein), Parkdale-High Park (Cheri Di Novo) and then finishes her campaign in PC incumbent riding of Doug Holyday in Etobicoke-Lakeshore. A very confident-looking finish. Mind you, even if the Liberals even pick up all these in Toronto, they are in danger of losing at least as many elsewhere in the province, including the riding of Brant which Liberals have held since 1937, but which Speaker Dave Levac will be scrambling to hold against a strong PC challenger.

BRANTFORD, Ont. – Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath rallies the troops at Brant riding candidate Alex Felsky’s campaign office. (BRIAN THOMPSON/BRANTFORD EXPOSITOR)

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath will cover the most kilometres as she loops from Mississauga, south to western Toronto and then east through to Belleville before finishing in Kingston. The  NDP tour plays offence all day against both Liberals and Tories with stops in:

  • Mississauga-Streetsville at 0810 a.m. Incumbent is Liberal Bob Delaney, He won in 2011 with 51% of the vote, beating the 2nd place Tory by 7,936 votes.
  • Brampton-Springdale at 0925: NDP have been talking up their candidate Gurpreet Dhillon. They surprised everyone in 2011 by winning Bramalea-Gore Malton next door. The good news for the NDP? No incumbent running. Liberal Linda Jeffrey has retired. Bad news? Jeffrey won in 2011 with a solid 44% of the vote and the second place finisher was a Tory, 2,909 votes back. Also: Federally, this riding is held by the Conservatives.
  • Etobicoke North at 1040: Incumbent Shafiq Qaadri has held this for the Liberals since 2003. He won with 48% of the vote in 2011. NDP have never done better than third here. I guess that’s why they call Horwath’s stop “a whistlestop” here.
  • York South-Weston at 1145: The best shot the NDP has, in my opinion, at giving the Liberals a black eye in Toronto.  It is the fourth time that Liberal incumbent Laura Albanese has faced off against NDP challenger Paul Ferreira. Albanese is two for three so far. Ferreira won a byelection in 2007 but then lost close races to Albanese in general elections in 2007 and 2011.  In fact, as a percentage of votes, Albanese’s 2011 victory was the 7th closest race in 2011, beating Ferreira by 2.35% of the popular vote or just 734 votes. Definitely one to watch on election night.
  • Scarborough-Guildwood at 1315: This riding, like every riding in Scarborough, has been Liberal forever so far as provincial politics go. But federally, Scarborough counts MPs from the Conservatives, NDP and Liberals. And while Liberals won a by-election last summer in Scarborough-Agincourt, the PCs came a close second and the NDP were right behind the PCs with their best finish ever in this party fo Toronto. Still, if Liberal incumbent Mitzi Hunter loses, I suspect it goes PC rather than NDP but who knows?
  • Oshawa at 1445: Tory Jerry Ouellette has been this riding’s MPP since 1995. NDP finished second here since 2003 but last time out, NDP was still 2,400 votes back or more than 6% of all votes cast.
  • Prince Edward-Hastings at 1655: This seems to be more of a Liberal versus PC fight. Liberal Leona Dombrowsky succeeded Liberal Ernie Parsons in 2007. Parsons had held this since 1999. But in 2011, Tory Todd Smith upset that long Liberal run with a reasonably comfortable victory of 3,130 votes (+7%) over Dombrowsky. Smith had 18K + votes while the New Democrat finished 3rd with just 7,400 votes. This stop seems more bluster than anything.
  • Kingston and the Islands at 1845: This should be a safe Ontario Liberal seat. It was held by Liberal John Gerretsen held this since 1995 and was chair of Wynne’s cabinet before deciding to retire. He hands off to Liberal candidate Sophie Kiwala. The NDP did hold the riding once — back in 1990 — and did finish second here in 2011 but that was still 11,000 votes behind. In any event, it looks like a party to finish things up. Federal leader Thomas Mulcair joins Horwath at one of my favourite Kingston resto-pubs, The Toucan.
LONDON, Ont. – Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak talks to supporters gathered at London West PC candidate Jeff Bennett’s campaign office Tuesday.
(CRAIG GLOVER/The London Free Press)

Tim Hudak has only four events, starting at 9:15 a.m. in an NDP riding in Brampton (Bramalea-Gore-Malton / Jagmeet Singh NDP) then to the riding of Kitchener-Waterloo for an event at 1315. K-W had been held forever by Tory Elizabeth Witmer until New Democrat Catherine Fife surprised both the Tories and the McGuinty Liberals in 2012 with a surprise by-election win. Fife is trying to defend. Tory Tracy Weiler is trying to steal.  Then Hudak is off to the riding of Niagara Falls at 1600 to support his candidate (and a former MPP) Bart Maves who lost in a by-election last year to New Democrat Wayne Gates.  Hudak then finishes with a town hall at 1900 in one of the safest (if not the safest) PC ridings in Ontario: Haldimand-Norfolk where Toby Barrett is the incumbent. Barrett won 60% of the vote in 2011, beating the NDP by 17,000. Liberals were not even close there. Not exactly a show of strength on the last day as he’s playing offence only in NDP-held ridings and no Liberal-held ridings and finishing in a riding where he’ll find lots of friends. 

3 thoughts on “The final campaign day in Ontario: Liberals go hard after Toronto New Democrats”

  1. News must be bad for Wynne. She is not visiting even one Conservative riding on the final day!
    Fife and Gates are particularly strong NDP candidates who inflicted particularly bitter losses for Hudak – an interesting choice of ridings for both Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

  2. Weiler may be trying to steal, but Burton is leading Fife by 2 in riding poll (Forum June 6) and she’s way back. I don’t have a dog in this fight, though Fife is knowledgeable.

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