February 13, 2014 11:24 pm
Updated: February 14, 2014 9:19 am

NDP win Niagara Falls, Tories hold Thornhill in Ontario byelections

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TORONTO – The results of two Ontario byelections are in, and in a surprise turn the NDP bumped the Liberals in Niagara Falls, while the Progressive Conservatives held their seat in Thornhill.

The race in Niagara Falls was close as NDP candidate Wayne Gates got around 40 per cent of the vote, while PC candidate Bart Maves earned around 36 per cent of the vote. Liberal incumbent Joyce Morocco got just over 18 per cent of the vote.

The Liberals have held the Niagara Falls riding for the last decade.

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In Thornhill, PC candidate Gila Martow held the seat former finance critic Peter Shurman resigned from in December. Martow got around 49 per cent of the vote. Liberal candidate Sandra Yeung Racco came in a close second with around 40 per cent of the vote, while the NDP candidate Cindy Hackelberg trailed in third with around 7 per cent of the vote.

The outcome of the byelections doesn’t change the makeup of the Ontario legislature; the Liberals are still the governing party, the Tories still form the official opposition and the NDP as the third party.

But the byelections did serve as a hint at voter sentiment on some key issues; in Thonhill, the key issue was transit.

As voters on the street and at the doors in Thornhill have been telling candidates, congestion and a lack of rapid transit are major issues.

A recent study by the C.D. Howe Institute suggested upwards of $11 billion in opportunity costs and economic activity is lost each year in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) because of gridlock.

READ MORE: Efficiencies or gas tax? Toronto politicians split on how to pay for transit

Both the Liberals and Tories have their own ideas for tackling gridlock; the Liberals are eyeing revenue tools including a possible hike in the gas tax – though Liberal candidate Sandra Yeung Racco was hesitant to commit to that when speaking to Global News, saying instead it’s only one of several options.

The Tories however say job-growth will lead to increased revenue which can fund transit expansion.

© 2014 Shaw Media

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