The Liberal Party once again swept the crucial region of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) during this election, pointing to the role the region plays in determining which party will lead the country.
This includes in the riding of Milton, where star Liberal candidate and Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden beat veteran Conservative MP Lisa Raitt. The Liberals also maintained their presence in the core of Toronto, including overcoming tight races against the NDP.
Over the course of the campaign, party leaders continuously made stops in the dozens of ridings across the GTA.
The Liberals had the most at stake, having won the majority of the region’s seats during the 2015 election, making them critical to hold onto this time around.
“You can’t become prime minister if you don’t do well in the Greater Toronto Area,” said Myer Siemiatycki on Global News’ West Block on Sunday.
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In 2011, the GTA went Conservative and that resulted in the party gaining the most seats in Parliament.
“It’s volatile, it’s unpredictable,” Siemiatycki said.
Broadly speaking, most GTA riding battles are between the Liberals and the Conservatives, with a few ridings in the Toronto core that come down to fights between the Liberals and the NDP.
“It’s basically two parties fighting over the same set of voters who have the same concerns, but the parties have quite distinct approaches to addressing those concerns,” Peter Loewen, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, previously told Global News.
“So that makes it an interesting testbed to see which approaches to government are going to be the ones that win out there.”
Many Liberal candidates had been touting the Canadian Child Benefit, while defending the Liberal government’s carbon tax as necessary for fostering environmental stewardship.
Conservatives had played up their proposal to do away with the carbon tax, something that is meant to appeal to those who commute to work by car in the region, and other tax cuts.
Thought he is running in a B.C. riding, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has deep roots in Brampton, where he served as a provincial MPP, and where his brother currently serves as an MPP. Brampton is crucial because of its five ridings, all of which were won by the Liberal Party in 2015.
One of Singh’s first campaign stops was in Brampton, where he promised to build a new hospital in the city, despite the fact that such measures fall under provincial and municipal jurisdiction.
This election, however, the Liberals were once again victorious in Brampton.
And Ontario Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford has been a polarizing figure for the region. He’s been relegated to the sidelines during the campaign, not appearing once alongside Scheer, though Alberta Premier Jason Kenney stumped for the Conservatives in the GTA earlier this month.
When Scheer campaigned in Ford’s riding of Etobicoke North, the Premier was nowhere to be seen.
“As the premier has said previously, he wishes all candidates well in the upcoming federal election but he is focused on governing and improving life for the people of Ontario,” a Ford spokesperson told reporters at the time.
And Trudeau has continuously weaponized the Ford name during campaign speeches, arguing that the priorities of a Scheer government would closely mirror those of Ford, whose tanking popularly has coincided with a number of unpopular budget cuts.
A recent Global News analysis showed that Trudeau has invoked Ford’s name at least as many times than he has mentioned Scheer.
Recent polling suggests that Ford’s approval rating has been in the 20s and 30s
“He’s Premier Bogeyman,” Scott Reid, a former adviser to Liberal prime minister Paul Martin, told the Canadian Press. “For the Liberals, that means he’s a walking, talking, sometimes shouting, example to voters in Ontario of what you’ll get federally if you vote for Andrew Scheer.”
With files from the Canadian Press.