The most important by-election in the history of democracy -

The most important by-election in the history of democracy

Toronto Centre gets its clash of media titans


The Liberals and New Democrats now have candidates for the presently vacant seat assigned to Toronto Centre and now begins the most important campaign in the modern history of Canadian progressivism a potentially entertaining contest between two people who are highly Googleable.

“The upcoming byelection in Toronto Centre is really going to be a bellwether as Canadians contemplate who can best lead this country in the post-Harper era,” McQuaig said in a rabble-rousing, tub-thumping speech to nearly 400 New Democrats packed into a hot standing-room only auditorium at a downtown YMCA here.

Anne Kingston wrote about the race last month for the print edition.

Toronto Centre actually only exists, in its present form, for another two years. Then the new boundaries take effect and it becomes a new version of itself.

In 2011, when the Liberals had a well-known incumbent (Bob Rae) but the New Democrats were surging to the best national result in party history, the result was a 6,000-vote win for the Liberals—the Liberal and Green votes went down, while the New Democrats and Conservatives went up. That was the closest result there since 1988, when the riding was Toronto Centre-Rosedale.

Two years ago the New Democrats were at 31% nationally and 26% in Ontario, while the Liberals were at 19% nationally and 25% in Ontario. Last month, the Liberals led the NDP nationally by 13 points (36 to 23) and provincially by 18 points (39 to 21).

On the basis of those numbers, Toronto Centre would seem likely to elect Ms. Freeland, but by-elections are odd little things and campaigns matter and there is no incumbent this time and the New Democrats are running a candidate whose writing prospective voters might be familiar with.

So this could be fun. At the very least, the all-candidates debates should be interesting. And when it’s all over we’ll all have something from which to extrapolate great and profound meaning about the state of things for Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Mulcair. Ms. Freeland’s experience, whatever the result, will also make for easy comparisons to Michael Ignatieff—who has a book about his experience coming out next week. And probably, one way or another, this by-election will get us at least a long essay on the political experience.


The most important by-election in the history of democracy

  1. Well, both are media-personalities, public figures, female, articulate, attractive, similar age…etc.

    Peas in a pod really.

    Policy is arguably the only difference between them. Which one will people choose?

    Place your bets.

    • why is policy so important to you emilyone, 2 years away from an election. what part is it you don’t understand about releasing policy before elections by opposition parties. what stupid opposition party gives up their policy before elections ? oppositions job #1 is to keep the harper cons feet to the fire until an federal election is called in 2015, then you release policy. go back to sleep for a couple of more years.

      • There is no other way to choose between parties, and a direction for the country than policy. If you don’t understand that you shouldn’t be discussing politics at all.

        • well hang around till 2015, and maybe you will get your answer.

          • This is a local byelection. The issues here are local

          • there was no policy used in the last by-election in Labrador, whats different about Toronto center ? policy only rolls out in general elections. how many more times have I got to tell you that ? why don’t you start complaining about the cons new policy and throne speech, because they have none(stay the course policy), and only hope the libs release some, so they can steal it.

          • They are looking at what party appeals in urban centres since Canada is mostly urban.

            Policy is important in all elections….it’s not a general election platform.

  2. Authentic left-wing true believer vs. Wall Street bankster stooge (and fifth columnist).

    And a cat fight to boot.

    Nice to see wealthy Toronto latte lefties fighting the good fight against the global 1%’ers.

    I’ll take the home-grown progressive who is wrong on every thing over the prodigal Trojan horse sent from Wall Street peddling fairy taies.

    • Any other sexist, whacko wing-nut remarks you’d like to throw in there?

      • C’mon. If it were James Laxer vs. Michael Ignatieff, we would all fall asleep.

        • You mean it’s more exciting when they’re women??


          At a minimum we wouldn’t be referring to them as animals.

          • He’s hoping there’s a tie that is settled through some naked mud-wrestling, or who makes the lightest biscuits.

          • Yeah, a bake-off or something….I mean it’s nothing ‘serious’ like you know….real politics.

          • If Ms.Freeland is elected MP, I wonder how much she will charge for writing her columns.

          • I think I’ve described Iggy in far more derogatory terms over the last five year than an unmodified “cat”.

          • You know very well what the phrase ‘cat fight’ is meant to convey.

          • So I’ve been very clear on who I think is the “lesser evil”. Who are you for? Where either stands is pretty clear already. Are you for Canadian socialists or for Wall Street banksters?

          • I don’t live in Toronto….but your false choice is not only a logical fallacy, it’s just silly.

            And I have no idea who you’d vote for….’wall st banksters’ is a left-wing expression….but you are apparently anti-socialist

          • Lots of “right-wingers” and “conservatives” believe that the rule-of-law is the foundation of democratic capitalism and argue that there has been a horrible miscarriage of justice in that Bush and Obama bailed out the banksters (at the expense of Main Street) and haven’t prosecuted nor even charged anyone for the monstrous financial crimes that were committed to cause the global economic crisis.

            Freeland’s apologia for the global 1%’ers is part of the bankster fable that it was not their fault, that they did nothing wrong, and that their wealth was obtained legitimately.

          • It’s not a right-wing position, sorry.

            Had Romney campaigned on that, he’d have won.

            It did not however cause the on-going global economic crisis.

          • They are both far smarter (wrong, but smarter) than the leaders of their parties.

            Justin has better hair, though, and Mulcair has to grow hair on his face to compensate.

          • I’ll bet when you vote, you draw a smiley-face in the circle

  3. If Ms.Freeland is elected MP, will she keep writing columns for extra fees?

    • Why not? Justin continued to charge for speaking engagements to charities and schools. If that’s OK, then why not charge for writing a column? Liberals are all just in it for the money, after all.

      • Yes, why not: get an MP salary, get an expense account, and get more money from taxpayers to pay for staff.

        Then write a few columns every month for a good fee to keep the voters informed on all that’s good about Justin!

        It’s a win-win, that one.

  4. Why would Toronto-Centre want to send a representative from New York to Ottawa?