In the run-up to our favourite national pastime of electioneering, Torontoist profiled some of the most closely contested ridings in the GTA, looking for the bellwethers and offering snapshots of electoral districts in transition. Today we survey the outcomes of those races.
Photo from CityNews’ photostream.
Floor-crossing, brake-slicing, debate no-shows, drop-in candidates: elections are by nature dramatic, and while this one was viewed by many as a bit of a snooze, many races in the GTA certainly managed to capture our attention. Forthwith, a summary of how the pivotal contests we’ve been following played out.
Lisa Raitt (CON): 32,916
Garth Turner (Lib): 25,136
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 11%
In the end, it wasn’t even close. Turner’s long run in office proved no match for his constituents’ frustration at his switch—after having been booted from the Conservative caucus—to the Liberals. Lisa Raitt, currently on leave from her post as CEO of the Toronto Port Authority, is the closest the Conservatives came to electing a Torontonian yesterday. Her election doesn’t indicate any real shift in the area’s political leanings, as the riding has often gone Conservative in the past (including their initial election of Turner in 2006).
Conclusion: Party-switchers beware.
Paul Szabo (Lib): 20,475
Hugh Arrison (CON): 18,476
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 4%
This was one nail-biter that lived up to its advanced billing. Targeted by the Tories from the very beginning, ridings such as this were intended to be at the vanguard of the Conservative push into our metropolis. They failed to make such hoped-for inroads, though certainly not for a lack of trying. The electoral district elected Conservatives for 14 years (from 1979-1993) and Szabo is one of the most socially conservative members of the Liberal caucus, so the Tory dreams for this riding weren’t entirely ill-founded. Expect the Conservatives to keep pushing hard here.
Conclusion: No matter how hard Harper tries, some people may never be buying.
Bonnie Crombie (Lib): 21,579
Wajid Khan (CON): 16,946
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 10%
Another case of a candidate who switched parties, another case of said candidate getting trounced at the polls for doing so. Khan not only crossed to the Conservative Party, he left the Liberals of his own accord (in contrast to Turner’s eviction), and the voters were not impressed. Given this outrage, and the strong Liberal presence in the area, it’s no wonder Khan kept a low profile throughout the campaign. Though Crombie is a political newcomer, her history of local volunteer work, including a stint on one of Mayor McCallion’s task forces, made her run credible from the outset, and she can take her seat confident in her constituents’ support.
Conclusion: Party-switchers—really, we aren’t kidding—beware.
Gerard Kennedy (Lib): 20,715
Peggy Nash (NDP): 17,330
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 7%
This one was a real heart-breaker for NDP stalwarts, and it ended up being a far more decisive victory than any poll or pundit predicted. Both candidates had extensive local support and roots in the community and—some incidents of vandalism notwithstanding—the campaign was marked by a noticeable absence of acrimony on both sides. Nash was judged one of the most promising young NDP members of the last Parliament and will have lots of backing if she decides to run again. Kennedy, in the meantime, has already been getting questions about his predicted run for the Liberal leadership—he placed fourth last time around.
Conclusion: Both candidates were and will continue to be respected, and both have done good work for their communities. With Cheri DiNovo as MPP, the NDP presence in this riding won’t be going anywhere.
Olivia Chow (NDP): 24,442
Christine Innes (Lib): 20,967
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 6%
Chow held onto this seat with the same margin of victory as she first won it two years ago, which is just enough to be convincing but not so much as to be insurmountable for challengers. Both the NDP and Liberals retained their presence in the riding, and both will continue to think of it as a base of power.
Conclusion: In the heart of urban Canada, left-of-centre is still the only choice.