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Ontario election 2018: 16 GTA ridings to watch

Last Updated Jun 7, 2018 at 11:55 am EST

Ontario election 2018 riding map Photo: CityNews

When Ontario heads to the polls on June 7, many ridings will be heavily contested; others will be a slam-dunk. Here are the 16 ridings to watch in the Toronto area.

1. Ajax: Liberals vs. Progressive Conservatives

Three-term Liberal MPP Joe Dickson is running in this newly-created riding against one of the Tories’ star candidates — Rod Phillips, former chair of Postmedia Network Inc. and former CEO of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. Phillips is considered a serious contender for the finance portfolio if the PCs form a government. But first, he’ll have to wrest the riding from Dickson who has spent decades serving the community as city, regional councillor and MPP. In the last election, the Liberals handily won the riding of Ajax-Pickering with 51 per cent of the vote to the Tories’ 29.
Also running

Monique Hughes (NDP), Paul Taalman (Trillium Party), Marsha Haynes (Ontario Libertarian Party)

2014 results

Pickering-Ajax-Uxbridge: Liberal — 51 per cent; PC — 29 per cent; NDP — 16 per cent; Green Party — 3 per cent

 

2. Brampton East: NDP vs. Liberals

It’s a star-power riding, with the NDP’s Gurratan Singh — younger brother of federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh — taking on Liberal Parminder Singh, the founding host of Hockey Night in Canada in Punjabi.

This new riding is composed of the former Brampton-Springdale — a Liberal stronghold currently held by Harinder Malhi, minister of the Status of Women, and previously held by Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey — and Bramalea-Gore-Malton, which was held by Jagmeet Singh and the NDP for the past two terms.

The PCs had to make a last-minute switch when candidate Simmer Sandhu stepped down amid allegations regarding data breaches at 407 ETR. The Tories quickly replaced him with businessman Sudeep Verma.

Also running

Daniele Cerasoli (Libertarian), Gurdeep Dhothar (Trillium), Raquel Fronte (Green)

2014 results

Brampton-Springdale: Liberal — 40 per cent; NDP — 32 per cent; PC — 24 per cent; Green — 3 per cent

Bramalea-Gore-Malton: NDP — 44 per cent; Liberal — 34 per cent; PC — 18 per cent; Green — 4 per cent

 

3. Brampton North: NDP vs. Liberals

The Liberals are pulling out all the stops in this new riding created from Brampton-Springdale (Liberal) and Bramalea Gore-Malton (NDP). In January, Liberal candidate Harinder Malhi and current MPP for Brampton-Springdale was promoted to cabinet as minister of the Status of Women.

But the NDP isn’t letting a high-profile MPP rain on its parade. The party has nominated Weather Network personality Kevin Yarde as its candidate here. His familiar face, coupled with the NDP’s historically strong showing in both former ridings, could turn the skies of Brampton North orange.

Also running

Ripudaman Dhillon (PC), Gregory Argue (Libertarian), Pauline Thornham (Green), Mackinder Samrai (None of the Above Party [NOTA])

2014 results

Brampton-Springdale: Liberal — 40 per cent; NDP — 32 per cent; PC — 24 per cent; Green — 3 per cent

Bramalea-Gore-Malton: NDP — 44 per cent; Liberal — 34 per cent; PC — 18 per cent; Green — 4 per cent

 

4. Don Valley East: PCs vs. Liberals

Located right next to Premier Kathleen Wynne’s riding, Don Valley East is currently held by cabinet minister Michael Coteau. It’s been a Liberal stronghold since 1999, but PC candidate Denzil Minnan-Wong could be a formidable challenge. He was Toronto’s deputy mayor and a city councillor for over two decades and has an impressive city-wide profile and experience.

Also running

Khalid Ahmed (NDP), Justin Robinson (Libertarian), Wayne Simmons (Freedom Party of Ontario), Mark Wong (Green)

2014 results

Liberal — 56 per cent; PC — 29 per cent; NDP — 13 per cent; Green — 4 per cent

 

5. Don Valley West: Liberals vs. everyone

Could Wynne lose her seat? The Liberals are lagging in the polls, and this riding is deep in Ford territory. This riding has voted against a party leader in the past — when John Tory was at the helm of the Progressive Conservatives — and they could do it again. The Liberals’ sex-ed curriculum was received with particular criticism in this riding, and many protests against Wynne and the Liberals originated here.

PC Jon Kieran, an energy consultant and economist has hit the ground running, targeting high hydro rates and “inefficiencies” within the energy industry.

Also running

Morgan Bailey (Green), Jon Kieran (PC), John Kittredge (Libertarian), Patrick Geoffrey Knight (Canadian Economic Party), Amara Possian (NDP)

2014 results

Liberals — 57 per cent; PC — 31 per cent; NDP — 8 per cent; Green — 3 per cent

 

6. Etobicoke-Lakeshore: PCs vs. NDP

If signs were votes, the Liberals, and cabinet minister Peter Milczyn, would finish a distant third. This seat was briefly held by longtime city councillor and staunch conservative Doug Holyday, but former councillor Milczyn wrested it away in 2014.

Despite Milczyn’s promotion to cabinet, he faces stiff competition from both the PC and NDP candidates. Longtime political staffer Christine Hogarth has been the Tory candidate since the summer, bringing with her years of experience at the legislature and in municipal governments in Sudbury and Toronto. The NDP’s Phil Trotter, a lawyer, ran for the NDP federally in 2015 and came a distant third. But now he’s got experience, and he hit the ground running.

Also running

Chris Caldwell (Green), Ian Lytvyn (Ontario Moderate Party), Mark Wrzesniewski (Libertarian)

2014 results

Liberal — 47 per cent; PC — 34 per cent; NDP — 13 per cent; Green — 4 per cent.

 

7. Etobicoke North: PCs vs. Liberals

This is the heart of Ford Nation and pretty much the same area Doug Ford represented as a city councillor. It’s also a seat that’s been held by Liberal MPP Shafiq Qaadri since 2003. Qaadri is running again and, while Ford is expected to win, it’s a federal Liberal stronghold held by Kirsty Duncan, minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities.

Also running

Mahamud Amin (NDP), Nancy Kaur Ghuman (Green)

2014 results

Liberal — 45 per cent; NDP — 26 per cent; PC — 23 per cent; Libertarian — 3 per cent; Green — 3 per cent

 

8. Guelph: Green’s best chance

If the Green Party of Ontario is going to win a seat at Queen’s Park, this is where it will happen, and this election is giving the Greens their greatest shot yet.

Party leader Mike Schreiner is seeking the seat for the third time, but this time he won’t be facing an incumbent. Wynne ally and former cabinet minister Liz Sandals announced her retirement last October. But that doesn’t mean Schreiner will face a lightweight. He’s up against Sly Castaldi, executive director of the Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis centre and co-chair of Ontario’s Roundtable on Violence Against Women. The NDP is fielding rookie candidate Agnieszka Mlynarz who has directed and performed in various theatre productions after earning a graduate degree in theatre studies.

Former Guelph city councillor Ray Ferraro was appointed as the PC candidate last month by Doug Ford.

Also running

Juanita Burnett (Communist Party of Ontario), Thomas Mooney (Ontario Party), Michael Riehl (Libertarian), Paul Taylor (NOTA)

2014 results

Liberals — 42 per cent; PC — 21 per cent; Green — 19 per cent; NDP — 18 per cent

 

9. Markham-Stouffville: Liberals vs. PCs

Helena Jaczek, Wynne’s newly-appointed health minister, moves from her former Oak Ridges-Markham backyard to take on PC candidate Paul Calandra, a former cabinet minister under Stephen Harper and one-time Canadian Alliance candidate.  Calandra has been controversial for his refusal to answer or even address questions in parliament, but the Tories have traditionally fared well in the area surrounding this riding, and Calandra has name recognition on par with Jaczek.

Also running

Kingsley Kwok (NDP), Jose Etcheverry (Green), Paul Balfour (Libertarian)

2014 results

Oak Ridges-Markham Liberal – 46 per cent, PC – 37 per cent, NDP – 12 per cent, Green – 3.4 per cent,

 

10. Mississauga-Lakeshore: Liberals vs. everyone

This new riding includes the area covered by the former riding of Mississauga South, currently held by Liberal Finance Minister Charles Sousa, and Mississauga-Erindale, held by former cabinet minister Harinder Takhar, who announced his retirement in April.

Both Sousa and Takhar won by significant margins in the 2014 vote, but this riding could be seen as a referendum on how satisfied people are with the Liberals’ fiscal management. The government’s decision to run several consecutive deficits could become THE big ballot box issue here.

Also running

Rudy Cuzzetto (PC), Boris Rosolak (NDP), Jay Ward (Libertarian), Andrew Weber (NOTA)

2014 results

Mississauga South: Liberal — 51 per cent; PC — 33 per cent; NDP — 11 per cent; Green — 3 per cent

Mississauga- Erindale: Liberal — 49 per cent; PC — 30 per cent; NDP — 15 per cent; Green — 2 per cent

 

11. Newmarket-Aurora: PCs vs. Liberals

Popular former PC leadership contender Christine Elliott is squaring off against Environment Minister Chris Ballard in what was once a Tory stronghold. The seat was formerly held by Ford supporter Frank Klees for over a decade. Elliott could handily capture the seat — although to secure the nomination the party had to overturn Charity McGrath’s nomination, prompting allegations of voting irregularities.

Also running

Kyle Orvis (Libertarian), Bob Yaciuk (Trillium), Melissa Williams (NDP)

2014 results

Liberal – 44 per cent, PC – 37 per cent, NDP – 11 per cent, Green – 4 per cent

 

12. Scarborough North: PCs vs. Liberals

It’s the only seat in the 416 held by the Tories and they’re going to fight to keep it. Former city councillor Raymond Cho won the seat in a 2016 byelection when it was still named Scarborough-Rouge River.

Cho lost many of the neighbourhoods he represented at council and is in a tight three-way race this time around. The Liberal candidate is Chin Lee, who represented most of the residents in the new riding as a popular city councillor for over a decade, before he stepped down. Lee also hails from the riding’s large Chinese-Canadian community, while Cho is Korean-Canadian. Both have deep cultural and community roots in the area and strong name recognition.

Also running

Dwayne Morgan (NDP), Sean Morgan (Libertarian); Nicole Peltier (Green)

2016 results

Scarborough-Rouge Park: PC — 39 per cent; Liberal — 29 per cent; NDP — 27 per cent

 

13. Thornhill: PCs vs. Liberals

PC incumbent Gila Martow won by just a little more than 100 votes in a rematch against Liberal Sandra Yeung Racco in 2014. This time, the Liberals have a new candidate — Sabi Ahsan, chair of the board at Toronto Muslim Cemetery Corp. — running in the predominantly Jewish riding. Federally, it’s held by Conservative Peter Kent, who held onto his seat even when those surrounding him went red in the last federal election. The NDP recently nominated Ezra Tanen, a former White House intern who is graduating from York University.

Also running

Mike Holmes (Libertarian), Vladimir Kanevski (Trillium)

2014 results

PC — 44 per cent; Liberal — 44 per cent; NDP — 8 per cent; Green — 2 per cent; Libertarian — 1 per cent

 

14. Toronto Centre: Up for grabs

The seat has been vacant since former cabinet minister Glen Murray announced his retirement last year. Although this has traditionally been a Liberal stronghold, it could conceivably go to anyone. There are 10 candidates listed in the riding, including Kevin Clarke, a perennial candidate for office in Toronto.

Clarke is going up against the PC’s Meredith Cartwright, a Harvard-educated human rights lawyer who hired actors to play the role of PC supporters at a rally, and community activist Suze Morrison for the NDP. The Liberals are fielding first-time candidate and advocate David Morris.

Also running

Jidi Falardeau (Libertarian), Wanda Marie Fountain (Canadian Economic), Cameron James (New People’s Choice), Dan King (Special Needs), Theresa Snell (Stop the Sex Ed Agenda), Adam Sommerfiel (Green)

2014 results

Liberal — 58 per cent; PC — 19 per cent; NDP — 16 per cent; Green — 4 per cent

 

15. Toronto-St. Paul’s: Up for grabs

Once a Liberal stronghold, this race is wide open. Ontario’s former health minister Eric Hoskins held the seat until he resigned in February, and before that it was Michael Bryant. The Liberals have nominated lawyer and longtime Liberal party staffer Jess Spindler. She’s taking on the NDP’s Jill Andrew, co-founder of Body Confidence Canada and a community co-owner of the world’s oldest LGBTQ bookstore. The Tories are fielding former CSIS security officer and reservist Andrew Kirsch.

Also running

Marina Doshchitsina (Ontario Moderate Party), Jekiah Dunavant (Libertarian), Teresa Pun (Green)

2014 results

Liberals — 60 per cent; PC — 24 per cent; NDP — 10 per cent; Green — 5 per cent

 

16. York-Simcoe: Tory Town

Caroline Mulroney, a Toronto lawyer and daughter of former prime minister Brian Mulroney, was chosen as the Tory candidate in this central Ontario riding last year, long before she threw her hat in the ring for party leadership. This has been a blue riding both provincially, since its creation in 2007, and federally, since 2004 when Conservative MP Peter Van Loan was elected. Van Loan is well-liked in the community and has been active in Mulroney’s campaign, as has her father.

Julia Munro held the seat for the Conservatives for nearly 20 years before announcing her retirement — making this a fairly safe seat.

Also running

Loralea Carruthers (Liberal), Franco Colavecchia (Moderate), Ioan Silviu Druma-Strugariu (Libertarian), Dave Szollosy (NDP), Alexandra Zalucky (Green)

2014 results

PC — 40 per cent; Liberal — 35 per cent; NDP — 18 per cent; Green — 6 per cent