There are a dirty dozen incumbent Toronto Liberals who, given the shift of a few percentage points at the polls, could be sunk on June 28. Here's why they should be trembling.
Who: Borys Wrzesnewkyj
Where: Etobicoke Centre
Why: He’s a rookie and he’s not Allan Rock, who’s vacating and whose personal charisma has been carrying the day in this natural Tory riding. He’s got the mayor’s endorsement, but it’s in a part of the city where Miller did not do well in the municipal election. The Tories are in disarray, with infighting over the candidate nomination process, but NDPer John Richmond, a director of the Metro Credit Union, may end up doing more damage to the Grits’ chances.
Who: Ken Dryden
Where: York Centre
Why: Hoping to replace the hapless Art Eggleton but has no roots to speak of here and is running for the wrong reason – power. It’s the kind of arrogance that pisses off voters. Poll showed surprising NDP strength here, but unfortunately, a strong NDP vote could leave the door open for Tory Michael Mostyn, whose pro-Israel stand will resonate with voters not shy about returning Tories.
Who: Yasmin Ratansi
Where: Don Valley East
Why: David Collenette’s not running, and this is the riding where the hated Tories are putting all their eggs, running experienced former Harris-era Cabinet minister Dave Johnson. Liberal Ratansi has ethnic cred but last ran in the riding in 88 and is not exactly a known entity. The Grits are in tough spot despite their decisive win provincially.
Who: Tom Wappel
Where: Scarborough Southwest
Why: Because it’s time. The anti-choice, anti-gay, “family-values” Wappel (who nevertheless cheated on his wife) no longer fits and is an embarrassment even to his supporters. Is on the Tories’ hit list. It’ll take some serious vote-splitting, but the NDP’s Dan Harris, a political neophyte, is hoping to capitalize on Jack Layton’s popularity and the fact that the NDP has roots here that go back to Stephen Lewis.
Who: Derek Lee
Where: Scarborough-Rouge River
Why: He’s a flake (see Church of Scientology award) who has next to nothing to show for 16-plus years in office. Also facing serious competition for the first time in a long time from progressive area councillor Raymond Cho, who’s entered the race as an independent. Cho’s a bit of a long shot but has some IOUs coming to him for helping deliver the riding to David Miller during the municipal election.
Who: John McKay
Why: An unimpressive and little-known former insurance lawyer, McKay won’t have Chretien’s coattails to ride into office. The Tories got trounced in last year’s provincial vote. Shifting demographics are boosting the fortunes of the NDP’s Sheila White, communcations director for provincial NDP leader Howard Hampton, who enjoys name recognition in the area. Omen factor: the NDP came from nowhere to win here provincially in 90.
Who: Jean Augustine
Why: Suffers from invisible MP syndrome and is losing support in south end from the recent influx of affluent voters in condos. Tory John Capobianco is being pushed by a who’s who of party bigwigs including former mayoral candidate John Tory. NDP hopes took a hit when former city councillor Irene Jones decided to take a pass, but replacement Margaret Anne McHugh has an outside chance. A poll published in the right-wing National Post in January had the riding going to the NDP.
Who: Sarmite Bulte
Where: Parkdale-High Park
Why: Mayor David Miller is putting his considerable weight behind NDP candidate and CAW negotiator Peggy Nash here, in his own backyard. Bulte backed Barbara Hall for mayor and not only lacks a high profile in the riding but doesn’t even live there. In fact, she lives in Forest Hill. Because of changing demographics, she won’t be able to capitalize so easily this time on the eastern European vote that shooed her in last time.
Who: Mario Silva
Why: The do-nothing former city pol with one too many development ties is being parachuted in by the Grits over respected environmentalist and long-time Liberal incumbent Charles Caccia. Won’t be able to play the ethnic card this time, with both the Tories and the NDP running Portuguese candidates in a riding that’s 27 per cent Portuguese-speaking. NDP candidate Rui Pires has the added benefit of city councillor Adam Giambrone’s support. This one has the makings of a nasty fight – doubly so if Caccia decides to run as an independent.
Who: Tony Ianno
Why: Will suffer from Liberal dithering over bridge to the Island Airport. Didn’t get cabinet plum from Martin that was widely expected, further marginalizing him. Pulled a rabbit out of the hat to beat local councillor Olivia Chow by 1,500 votes in 97, but that was when the NDP had single-digit support. It’s around 20 per cent now. Chow’s running again, and while she’s lost a few choice neighbourhoods to redistribution, she’s gained the highly motivated Toronto Island community. Her appeal crosses party lines.
Who: Dennis Mills
Why: Where do we start? He’s running against NDP leader Jack Layton, who’s 20 percentage points ahead according to a recent poll. Waffled on same-sex marriage, which has galvanized the riding’s sizable gay contingent against him. Defended the party during the sponsorship scandal. A symbol of the Grits’ broken waterfront promises. That empty house he promised poverty activists? He still hasn’t delivered.
Who: Maria Minna
Where: Beaches-East York
Why: She’s a has-been. Dumped by Chretien from Cabinet for voting in a municipal election in a ward in which she doesn’t reside. Defended the government over the Jane Stewart scandal. In a tough race against former NDP councillor, now Greenpeace executive director Peter Tabuns, who will gain some spillover support from the fact that party leader Jack Layton is running next door. This riding is held provincially by NDP stalwart Michael Prue.