Monday, August 20, 2007

Ontario Election Preview: Toronto-Danforth and Don Valley West

Okay, this will be a long running series. I am going to try to get through all 107 ridings. I will also try to do so only after I know something about the race. So, to start off with, my home riding of...

Toronto Danforth: This is perhaps the safest NDP seat in the province. They have held it for as long as they have been a registered party. Incumbent Peter Tabuns won election in a by-election in 2006 after former NDP MPP Marilyn Churley decided to try to run federally. Tabuns won relatively easily over what was considered a tough opponent in former local news anchor Ben Chin. When McGuinty asked Chin to be in his war room, the local Grits were left searching. They've found Joyce Rowlands, a former nurse and daughter of former Toronto Mayor June Rowlands. The former mayor may have had a shot against the ex-city councillor Tabuns but her daughter is a political neophyte being served up for the slaughter. The issue here will be the environment, as all parties wil need to show how green they really are if they are to succeed.

The Conservatives have not yet bothered to nominate a candidate which in this case shows how slim their chances are on the Danforth. Georgina Blanas was their candidate in the 2006 by-election. Whoever they nominate will compete with Green Party nominee Patrick Kraemer, who lost horribly to NDPer Paula Fletcher in the last municipal election, for third in this riding. Either would be lucky to get 10%.

The riding may be demographically trending away from the NDP (it's getting richer), but Tabuns probably won't notice.

Prediction: Safe NDP

Don Valley West: Moving on to perhaps the most interesting race in the province. This race has two huge names going head to head. The incumbent is the Liberal Minister of Education, Kathleen Wynne. The challenger is leader of the official opposition and the PC's, John Tory. Tory made a bold move in choosing to run at home in Don Valley West. The former Mayoral candidate and Rogers exec. has decided to make this his Waterloo. If the PC's are to win the election they need to win at least a couple of seats in Toronto and Tory has taken it on himself to win one of them. McGuinty responded by promoting the rookie Wynne to one of the top jobs in the province. However, Wynne is far from unqualified having served two terms on the Toronto District School Board. School wards in Toronto mimic the provincial and federal riding boundaries so the people of Don Valley West know Wynne well. Wynne defeated Conservative incumbent David Turnbull in 2003 and the riding is well described as a bellweather riding. Turnbull won the riding in 1999 with a majority and Wynne defeated Turnbull in 2003 with a majority.

This is going to be an all-out ground war as both parties are desperate to see their candidate elected. Tory will have to find a fine balance between campaigning provincially and trying to get himself back into the legislature. If Tory is defeated here or wins here and loses the election, there will be a lot of Tories grumbling about his decision to run in Don Valley West.

The NDP has not yet found a candidate to sacrifice here. The Greens are putting up Adrian Walker.

Prediction: Toss-up between the Grits and Tories


Dustin Leath said...

Ill agree on the NDP prediction, but I have to say Tory is going to do well in Don Valley West. Although before I would have said it would take a sweep, ultimpatly peole will vote for a name they know at the local level, and theres no way wynn can get the amount of media coverage Tory will get out of the campaign. He cant take the riding for granted, but I would say he has it for sure.

Miles Lunn said...

I think Toronto-Danforth is a pretty safe NDP one, while Don Valley West is definitely a toss-up. It will be a tough fight for John Tory to win this, but it is one of three 416 ridings I could potentially see going PC (Willowdale and Etobicoke Centre are the other two) and if Tory wishes to get a majority, he will need to win this one. He can win a minority government without winning here, but not a majority.

However, federally I think Don Valley West is a safe Liberal riding though and I don't think the Conservatives stand a chance at gaining it next election.

wk said...

Walker (Green Party):

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