10 Ontario election races involving high-profile candidates
Here’s a look at 10 Ontario ridings with prominent candidates, and how those races are shaping up.
Don Valley West, Kathleen Wynne — Liberal
Wynne has admitted that the Liberals won’t win the election, but spent the last few days of the campaign trying to save a few Liberal seats — including her own. Wynne’s low personal approval ratings helped drive the Liberals way down in the polls, but she is personally popular in large pockets of her riding.
It’s not a given that she’ll retain her own seat, though. The loudest opposition to an updated sex-ed curriculum she implemented came from the Thorncliffe Park area of her riding.
Etobicoke North, Doug Ford — Progressive Conservative
WATCH ABOVE: PC Leader Doug Ford’s plan focuses on gas and transit
The Progressive Conservative leader is a rookie in provincial politics, but has long enjoyed support in the west-Toronto suburb of Etobicoke. He was a city councillor for the area while his late brother Rob Ford was Toronto mayor, and the Fords have a long history there.
He has a lot of support in the area, though his campaign was dominated in the last few days by news of a lawsuit against him from Rob Ford’s widow. Doug Ford is expected to win his seat, though at least one projection has the riding too close to call, and the NDP believe it will come down to the wire between Ford and their candidate.
Hamilton Centre, Andrea Horwath — NDP
WATCH ABOVE: Andrea Horwath says she’s happy with NDP campaign, only one who can stop Doug Ford
The NDP leader is expected to handily win her seat, as both she and the party are popular locally. She has held the riding — and a previous iteration named Hamilton East — since she won a byelection in 2004. This will be her third election at the helm of the NDP.
Newmarket-Aurora, Christine Elliott — Progressive Conservative vs. Chris Ballard — Liberal
WATCH ABOVE: Christine Elliott delivers concession speech after losing PC leadership race
This riding has two prominent candidates battling it out. Incumbent Ballard has held the riding since 2014, but it was held by a Progressive Conservative before that. Ballard was promoted to cabinet in 2016 as housing minister, and gained even greater prominence last year, when he was made environment minister.
But Elliott comes with more political experience and more name recognition. She served as a Progressive Conservative in the legislature from 2006 to 2015, when she resigned after she lost a bid for the party leadership. But she represented Whitby-Oshawa and Whitby-Ajax, and Newmarket-Aurora voters may resent a star candidate being dropped into their riding.
Vaughan-Woodbridge, Steven Del Duca — Liberal
Del Duca has held the previous Vaughan riding since 2011 and won in 2014 with more than 56 per cent of the vote. He has held two prominent government roles — as transportation minister and economic development minister — and has delivered transit and a highway extension to the riding. Some pundits believe this will be a close race, but the Liberals say their internal polling shows they’ll hold it.
Mississauga-Lakeshore, Charles Sousa — Liberal
WATCH ABOVE: Hazel McCallion endorses Liberal candidate Charles Sousa
Sousa has represented Mississauga South since 2007 and has held various cabinet portfolios, including as finance minister since 2013. He was responsible for eliminating the province’s deficit in 2017-18, though he promptly plunged Ontario back into the red this year.
Sousa garnered more than 50 per cent of the vote in the last election, but the Liberals are generally thought to be vulnerable in the ridings that encircle the city of Toronto.
York-Simcoe, Caroline Mulroney — Progressive Conservative
WATCH ABOVE: Caroline Mulroney sought advice from her mother before entering PC race
She is the daughter of former prime minister Brian Mulroney, but a rookie politician herself. She has been accused of being a “parachute candidate” in the riding, but will likely capture it. She has huge name recognition, is a lawyer and businesswoman, and the riding is a strong Progressive Conservative one. Julia Munro represented the area for the Tories since 1995, but decided not to run again this year.
Kitchener-Conestoga, Mike Harris Jr. — Progressive Conservative
The Progressive Conservatives have another family dynasty candidate in Harris, whose father Mike Harris is a former Ontario premier. But the big name comes with a side of controversy. He lost his bid for the nomination for the neighbouring riding of Waterloo, but party leader Doug Ford then appointed him as the Kitchener-Conestoga candidate.
The Tories dropped Kitchener-Conestoga incumbent Michael Harris — no relation — due to inappropriate texts from 2013 with an intern.
Brampton East, Gurratan Singh — NDP
WATCH ABOVE: Photo of Brampton NDP candidate hoisting ‘F— the Police!’ sign prompts reaction
The NDP has a famous family member of their own. Gurratan Singh is the brother of the federal NDP leader. Jagmeet Singh had represented the area for the provincial NDP and served as deputy party leader until he won the federal leadership last year.
Gurratan Singh, who is a lawyer and worked on his brother’s leadership campaign, faced criticism during the campaign when a 2006 photo emerged that showed him holding a vulgar anti-police sign at a demonstration.
Oakville, Kevin Flynn — Liberal
Flynn has represented Oakville since 2003, when the Liberals swept to power under Dalton McGuinty. He won the riding handily in 2014, with more than 50 per cent of the vote, but he is expected to be in trouble this time.
As labour minister, Flynn ushered in the Liberals’ major changes to labour laws, including a controversial minimum wage increase. The boost to $14 this year and promised rise to $15 next year was popular with workers, but business groups strongly opposed the pace of the increase, warning it would lead to job losses.
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