Ontario byelection results: Liberals 2, NDP 2, PC 1

Liberals hang on to two of five seats


Frank Gunn/CP

TORONTO — Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives scored their first win in a Toronto riding in more than a decade, while the New Democrats took two other seats in Windsor and London from the governing Liberals.

But the minority government will hang on to two of the five seats it had on the line Thursday in the five provincial byelections: Scarborough-Guildwood and former premier Dalton McGuinty’s old riding of Ottawa South. McGuinty’s former assistant, John Fraser, held on to the seat despite a tough race with Tory Matt Young.

It was a close three-way race in Scarborough, but Liberal Mitzie Hunter surged ahead of the Conservatives and New Democrats, who battled for second place.

But they lost Windsor-Tecumseh and London West to the New Democrats and fell behind the Progressive Conservatives in Etobicoke Lakeshore.

Foe-turned-friend union leader Ken Coran, the Liberals’ star candidate in London, finished a distant third to NDP victor Peggy Sattler and PC candidate Ali Chabar.

The byelections were the first opportunity to see how voters were judging Premier Kathleen Wynne after six months on the job, dogged by scandals inherited from McGuinty’s administration, including the costly cancellation of two gas plants.

Wynne had acknowledged that the byelections would be tough for the minority government.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa echoed that sentiment as the results rolled in Thursday night.

“In a byelection, it’s always more difficult for a sitting government to retain all those ridings,” he said. “I certainly recognize that the people of Windsor and London have spoken. We’re listening, we recognize that it’s a byelection, an indication that all governments have to be more attentive to the needs of the communities.”

Thousands of voters have spoken and want a change at Queen’s Park, said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

“We won’t take that trust for granted,” she said from Windsor, where former TV reporter and city councillor Percy Hatfield sailed to a landslide victory.

Claiming a coveted Toronto seat will be a boost for the Tories after being shut out of the city since 1999. Opposition Leader Tim Hudak acknowledged after a disappointing loss in the 2011 general election that making inroads in Toronto would be key to winning the next time around.

Tory hopes for Etobicoke Lakeshore were pinned to star candidate and deputy Toronto mayor Doug Holyday, who was pitted against fellow city councillor and Liberal Peter Milczyn.

The two opened up neck-in-neck, but Holyday pulled ahead, leaving Milczyn behind as the results poured in.

The tough competition between the two sparked a war of words between the governing Liberals and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who campaigned hard for the two Toronto Tory candidates.

Ford didn’t mince words earlier this week about what he thought of the scandals, calling the government corrupt and saying voting for the Liberals was akin to handing a gun to a bank thief and telling them to rob another bank.

He also urged voters to support the New Democrats if they didn’t vote Conservative.

Transportation Minister Glen Murray fired back the next day, criticizing Ford for injecting himself in the byelection and taking credit for a subway extension to Scarborough that the province was largely paying for.

He labelled Holyday a “mouthpiece candidate who is basically running now on the coattails of the mayor and his brother.”

Ford called Murray’s comments “unbelievable” and an “embarrassment.”

“The provincial government affects us. You have to get involved,” he said. “You choose a candidate and you get behind them.”

The Liberals were one seat short of a majority before the five resignations, and Wynne will still lead a minority government Friday regardless of the outcomes of the byelections.

Low voter turnouts are believed to help sitting governments, and both opposition parties were fuming when Wynne scheduled the byelections just before a long weekend at the peak of the summer vacation period.

With files from Keith Leslie


Ontario byelection results: Liberals 2, NDP 2, PC 1

  1. It is no wonder people are either jaded or apathetic concerning politics. The Liberals are blanketed by the filth of some very bad decisions in the past 7 or so years, yet instead of acknowledging their demise and calling a full general election earlier in the year, they call a mid-summer by-election. Granted, the Liberals inherited difficult economic times in 2008, their decisions since then appear to be completely oblivious of the fact that many in Ontario cannot afford to have their taxes increased, fees doubled, money wasted and voices ignored.

    The legacy of this Liberal government will be either deliberate sabotage of Ontario’s well-being or near total incompetence. This government is a strong argument for criminal prosecution of corrupt governors.

    • Oh do stop with the silliness.

  2. Why can’t this send a message to the PC government that their snake leader is the wrong guy at the top . If you replace the snake ? I believe you could win next election but if the snake is still there ? No way with the PC government win …

    • it’s likely because they have such a strong “tea party” faction in their party from the Lanark Loony Association in the eastern part of the province that they can’t find a more moderate person they can all agree to take the helm.

      • Plus Hudak is Harper’s man in Ontario. Just notice how John Baird personally congratulated Hudak on Twitter last night about the PCs winning a seat in Toronto for the first time since 1999.

  3. And after all the comments and predictions on here for ages….the Liberal party….after 3 elections! when most people automatically want a change….still got 2 seats!

    The other big winner is the NDP…and considering we’ve had a bad experience with them before….it was ABC….anybody but Cons

  4. A bit disappointed that this only translated into 1 seat for the PCs. Ottawa South was winnable.

    But some perspective. Popular vote was as follows:

    PC – 36.9%
    Lib – 31.9%
    NDP – 31.2%

    Take out the union stronghold of Windsor, which NEVER votes PC, and it looks like this in the other 4 seats.

    PC – 39.8%
    LIB – 35.4%
    NDP – 24.9%

    For four liberal strongholds held by cabinet members, getting 40% is actually not horrible even if the vote splits were unfortunate, plus the obvious bloodbath in Windsor that would happen regardless of who the PC leader is.

    Yesterday I was convinced that Hudak should resign. But a bit of sober second thought, and the fact that there is no obvious replacement, means the PCs are stuck with him for one more try.

    • Why not go whole hog and get Randy Hillier as leader…..

    • Try doing a weighted percentage. Straight totals are meaningless. A large vote in one riding can completely unbalance the calculations.

      The weighted percentages are as follows.

      NDP – 39%
      PC – 37%
      Lib – 24%

      Good news for the NDP and the PCs. Not such good news for the Liberals. This is the result in liberal ridings.

      During a provincial election if the NDP and PC support increase in their riding and the liberal ridings split as they did above the result would be an NDP government. The current numbers leave not doubt about that.

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