Battleground Southwestern Ontario: Electoral Maps Compared


The federal Liberal caucus arrives today in London, Ont. for its two-day winter caucus retreat. As Jane Sims notes in today’s London Free Press, this part of Ontario was been a “Grit barren land” in the last general election. The electoral map, above, from J.P. Kirby’s excellent Election Atlas, illustrates that point pretty clearly. This is what happend in the 2011 general election. In fact, so far as southern Ontario goes, the Liberals now have precisely five seats west of Yonge Street, and four of those are in Toronto. The lone Liberal island otherwise in Guelph where incumbent Frank Valeriote will pass the torch this fall to a yet-to-be-nominated Liberal candidate.

But look at the same electoral map after the 2004 election, (below) the last time the Liberals formed government. It would only be a minority government that Paul Martin led from 2004 to 2006 but clearly, there were a lot of people then in this part of the country that voted for Martin’s Liberals. Notable also was the kind of Liberal elected in 2004 from this region: blue Liberals, particularly on social issues. If the same-sex marriage bill can stand as a proxy for where you are on social issues, here are the SWO Ontario Liberals elected in 2004 that voted against same-sex marriage: Middlesex-Kent-Lambton Rose-Marie Ur, Sarnia-Lambton Roger Galloway, Huron-Bruce Bruce Steckle, London-Fanshawe Pat O’Brien (would end his days in Parliament as an independent), and Guelph’s Brenda Chamberlain. ¬†Guelph is still Liberal. London-Fanshawe is NDP but the rest are all Conservative.

The question, of course, for the meeting in London this week — and for the next nine months: Can this region be persuaded to vote for Trudeau’s Liberals, arguably a more “progressive” Liberal party than the one that Paul Martin led? Will it stick with Harper’s Conservatives? Or will those tiny dots of orange grow? If you agree that Kathleen Wynne’s Ontario Liberal Party is close in tone, style and policies to Trudeau’s Liberals, take a look at how voters in this region responded to Wynne last June. (Answer: Not good). Mind you, one could argue that voters here, where the economy is doing much more poorly relative to the rest of the province, were simply in an angry mood and ready to vote against any incumbent last June. If that’s still the mood in southwestern Ontario, that could be dangerous for Harper’s Conservatives this fall.

In any event: This is a region of the country with a lot of seats and it’s a region that in the last 30 years, has tended to send a lot of MPs to the government benches, not the opposition side.



5 thoughts on “Battleground Southwestern Ontario: Electoral Maps Compared”

  1. Difficult to imagine that after 9 years of harper state control, voters would choose to return such a dictator to power!
    Our democracy has disappeared under this regime. Parliament has ceased to represent Canadians! Power from the PMO and vote tampering has destroyed our once democratic nation.
    It has become subservient to Tea Party ideology from western Canada.
    How much longer, can even the faintest image of what Canada was once admired for, exist in this nightmare of fascism?
    Let us pray that voters throw off this darkness at the first possible opportunity!

    1. Ontario voted back in the Provincial Fiberals. So I guess we would rather have the devil we know over the devil we don’t know

    2. Well said Oldie49, Harper will go down in History as the biggest pail of poison ever elected as Prime minister in Canada. Hopefully Duffy lays out the criteria to put Harper in jail where he bel;ongs.

  2. Some bad news for rural SW Ontario electorally from a Lib victory perspective: as Wynne demonstrated, Liberals are now able to win a majority in Ontario without that much support in the SW – and virtually none in the more rural parts. (similar to Harper winning a national majority with minimal support in Quebec) If Trudeau is able to dominate the 905/416/613 as much as Wynne was able to, particularly with most of the new seats Ontario is getting in the 2015 election going in those areas, I’d expect the Trudeau Libs to focus on urban SW Ontario where the Liberal brand remains decently strong and OLP holds or recently held seats – London being a prime example, but also watch out for big federal Lib pushes in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge-Brant corridor, and maaaaybe Windsor with Joe Comartin retiring from the NDP. As for the rest of the rural SW Ontario? Wouldn’t surprise me if the Libs are ready to write it off.

  3. As a voter I never vote for a specific party or leader. I want a leader who makes the tough decisions whether I agree with them or not. I want a leader who is concerned about world events and its future but is not willing to put up with the weak knee politics of today. I want a leader who has a plan for tomorrow especially Canada’s future. I tired of flip flop politics and leaders who need studies to make decisions.
    Some journalist predicted when Harper won his first election that he eventually could be the smartest PM in Canadian history. I’m not sure if he will attain that mark but he certainly is way ahead of what’s available today. Until someone better comes along he will still get my vote. And as a voter I will still be try to sway him and the Conservatives towards more conern for environmental issues

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *