Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Upcoming by-elections in Thornhill and Niagara Falls

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:]

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.


  1. Lets not forget the Forum Poll in Ottawa South showed the PC's with a double digit lead the day before the by-election.

  2. I would give the PCs an edge in both, but lets remember by-elections have both low turnouts as well as different characters since regardless of the outcome we will still have a Liberal minority. Thornhill at least at the provincial level is a two way race between Liberals and PCs and since 1999 they've always been close with neither party falling below 40% and neither cracking the 50% mark. True federally the Conservatives got over 60% but much of that had to do with the collapse of the Liberals and NDP surge so thats more representative of how it would vote if the NDP replaced the Liberals as the alternative to the PCs. Also it has a large Jewish population and Harper's staunchly pro-Israel policies probably went over well with them, but foreign policy is exclusively a federal area.

    Niagara Falls is sort of a bellwether as it usually backs the winner. Its not the most pro-NDP, but it is somewhat more unionized that the province as a whole and the NDP has a solid base of 20-25% so they could win if their supporters show up en masse and many others stay home. In addition the Tories very rarely crack the 50% mark so a collapse of the Liberal vote is a real wild card. It also has three distinct cities. The largest Niagara Falls is generally a bellwether with both the Liberals and PCs being competitive while the NDP in the 20-25% range. Fort Erie is more of a blue collar populist town. The Canadian Alliance won it in 2000, but it voted NDP in the 2011 provincial election so its somewhat of a wildcard although the Liberals definitely won't do well here. Niagara on the Lake is the most conservative of the three towns, but Liberal support is usually close to the riding average and NDP support is extremely weak.