The upcoming provincial by-elections in Thornhill and Niagara Falls ridings on Feb. 13 seem to be the Tories to lose at this point. I say that for three reasons:
Firstly, the NDP have hardly ever held the ridings, and the Greens are unlikely to be a winner, getting perhaps 10% of the vote. Niagara Falls may very well be smack in the middle of union-friendly country, but NDP candidates have only won the seat in rare instances.
Secondly, the record of the ruling Grits has been so abysmal and scandal-ridden, one can hardly be criticized for assuming they will find it difficult to hold onto the Niagara Falls riding this time around or, for that matter, pick up the Thornhill riding from the incumbent Progressive Conservatives.
Thirdly, a recent Forum Research survey has found the Conservatives leading the Liberals and the New Democrats. In Thornhill the Tory lead is 8% (44% to 36%) over the Grits. In Niagara Falls, the Tory lead is also 8% (36% to 28%). [Source: thestar.com]
While polls have not always been reliable in predicting recent provincial contests, the Forum Research survey does seem to confirm what locals on the ground are feeling regarding the relative chances of the front-running candidates.
Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, who regularly rails against the ruling Conservatives for what he sees as their scandal-prone government, is supporting Yeung Racco the Liberal candidate in Thornhill and, apparently, plans to campaign with Premier Kathleen Wynne in Niagara Falls this week.
Curious that Justin Trudeau does not see the inconsistency of actively campaigning for a party guilty of similar things to those he claims he’s against in Ottawa. Perhaps he does see the contradiction, but simply doesn’t care. After all, he saw no moral questions when accepting five-digit speaking fees from charities, at least one school board and other non-profit organizations while acting as an MP and critic for his party.
One thing this shows: climb into bed with an Ontario Liberal and you’ll wake up beside a Federal Liberal. Clearly they’re the same thing—they’re interchangeable.
We’ll keep an eye on these races. They could very well prove to be referendums on Wynne and PC leader Tim Hudak.