How to beat Doug Ford in Toronto

NOW Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - By ENZO DiMAT­TEO

It’s been an im­pres­sive road back from po­lit­i­cal pur­ga­tory for NDP leader An­drea Hor­wath af­ter 2014’s elec­toral re­buke, but On­tario Elec­tion 2018 is still touch and go. The re­al­ity on the ground in lo­cal races in Toronto and the 905, where 50 of the prov­ince’s 124 seats will be de­cided, is that the race is still Doug Ford’s to lose. That means vot­ing strate­gi­cally to stop him. Here’s how.

It’s been a volatile On­tario Elec­tion 2018. And ahead of the June 7 vote there are still many mov­ing parts – not the least of which are daily ques­tions about PC leader Doug Ford’s fit­ness to be pre­mier. De­spite a cam­paign marked by chaos, how­ever, most polls sug­gest the elec­tion is still Ford’s to lose.

Those polls also sug­gest that the per­son best po­si­tioned to stop Ford is NDP leader An­drea Hor­wath.

It’s been an im­pres­sive road back from po­lit­i­cal pur­ga­tory for the NDP leader af­ter the elec­toral re­buke of 2014. She has spear­headed an ef­fi­cient cam­paign, but the party’s rise would not have been pos­si­ble with­out the foun­da­tion built in re­cent years in south­west­ern On­tario and the 905 to go along with the resur­gence in tra­di­tional bases of sup­port in Toronto.

But the re­al­ity in lo­cal races on the ground is still touch and go. Which is to say that the NDP would re­quire a mas­sive Or­ange wave to deny Ford, and the poll num­bers sug­gest that’s not in the cards.

En­ter Lib­eral leader Kathleen Wynne. Her con­ces­sion in a speech last Satur­day that she will not be re-elected pre­mier was widely read as an ad­mis­sion of de­feat. It may also end up go­ing down as one of the crafti­est moves in the cam­paign. Wynne says it was time for her “to get out of the way” so as not to let her un­pop­u­lar­ity with vot­ers af­fect can­di­dates in lo­cal races.

When you take a look at the cur­rent elec­toral map of Toronto and the 905, where 50 of the 124 rid­ings up for grabs will be de­cided, it’s clear what Wynne was get­ting at.

Con­sider that of the 22 rid­ings con­tested in Toronto in 2014, 19 were won by the Lib­er­als. Of those, eight were won by more than 10,000 votes, with the PCs fin­ish­ing sec­ond in al­most all of those races.

It’s a sim­i­lar sce­nario in the 905, where the Libs won 14 of 18 races in 2014. Of those, seven were by more than 10,000 votes. Again the PCs fin­ished sec­ond in most of those. The NDP have made in­roads in the 905, but out­side of four rid­ings (Oshawa, Bramp­ton Cen­tre, Bramp­ton East, Bramp­ton North), it’s a twohorse race.

Re­dis­tri­bu­tion has cre­ated three new rid­ings in Toronto and seven in the 905, which means the re­sults of 2014 can’t be over­laid com­pletely on the elec­toral map of 2018. But it’s also true that in­cum­bency has its ad­van­tages. In­cum­bents won more than 80 per cent of elec­tion races in 2014, which means vot­ing strate­gi­cally to beat Ford.

In Davenport (Marit Stiles), Park­dale-High Park (Bhutila Kar­poche), Toronto-Dan­forth (Peter Tabuns) and Beaches-East York (Arthur Potts), the choice is be­tween the Libs and NDP, with lit­tle chance of Tories sneak­ing up the mid­dle. But there are two notable ex­cep­tions to that rule – Toronto Cen­tre and Toronto-St. Paul’s, where the Libs won with 60 per cent of the vote in 2014. How­ever, NDP’s Suze Mor­ri­son and Lib­eral Jess Spindler are the best bets to win.

How­ever, in Univer­sity-Rosedale, where Lib­eral Jo-Ann Davis and NDP Jes­sica Bell are in a tight race with the PCs’ Gil­lian Smith, it’s not so clear cut. But Bell is likely the strate­gic choice. In Spad­ina-Fort York it’s the NDP’s Chris Glover.

How­ever, out­side the core it’s mostly a PC ver­sus Lib­eral dy­namic.

In Scar­bor­ough, the Libs took all five seats in 2014 by huge mar­gins, but in Scar­bor­oughAgin­court, Lib­eral in­cum­bent Soo Wong, who won by some 5,000 votes, is vul­ner­a­ble to the PCs. In Scar­bor­ough North, where the PCs cur­rently hold their only seat in Toronto with Ray­mond Cho (he won it in a by-elec­tion in 2016), it’s Lib­eral Chin Lee who has the best shot. The NDP have tar­geted Scar­bor­oughCen­tre (Zeyd Bis­milla), where Lib­eral in­cum­bent Brad Duguid, who re­signed his seat, won by al­most 12,000 votes in 2014. Go for NDP. An­other winnable seat for the NDP is Doly Begum in Scar­bor­ough South­west, where long­time in­cum­bent Lorenzo Ber­ar­dinetti has failed to dis­tin­guish him­self.

Like­wise in North York, save for Hum­berRiver-Black Creek (Tom Rako­ce­vic) and York South-We­ston (Faisal Has­san), where the NDP are run­ning hard. Else­where in the burb we like for­mer Toronto coun­cil­lor Shel­ley Car­roll in Don Val­ley North, Mike Colle, who is in tough against Robin Martin in Eglin­ton-Lawrence, Kathleen Wynne in Don Val­ley West, Michael Coteau in Don Val­ley East and Ro­man Es­taris in York Cen­tre, where the PCs seem to have the up­per hand.

But in Ford’s back­yard in Eto­bi­coke North, the Lib­eral-ver­sus-PC script has been flipped. There, the NDP fin­ished ahead of the PCs in 2014, and can­di­date Ma­hamud Amin is re­port­edly run­ning neck and neck with the PC leader. A win for the NDP here would put a fit­ting ex­cla­ma­tion point on a PC de­feat in On­tario.

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