Ontario: Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock by-election 2009
A by-election was held in the Ontarian provincial electoral district of Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock (H-KL-B for short) on Thursday. Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock was created in 1999 and slightly redistricted before the 2007 elections. It is a largely rural constituency, with very little urban areas. It stretches quite far north, bordering the Nipissing constituency. Here is a map, in PDF format.
A bit of background as to this by-election. In the 2007 provincial election, the Progressive Conservative leader, John Tory, who then sat in the legislature for the former electoral district of Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey, ran for election in the urban Toronto seat of Don Valley West (Tory himself is from Toronto) against Liberal MPP and cabinet minister Kathleen Wynne. Due to a shit-poor/stupid campaign, the PC was trounced and Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government won a landslide majority yet again. In Don Valley West, John Tory lost to Wynne by nearly 11% and was left without a seat in the legislature. First mistake, he didn’t step down. If you have a brain and your party gets trounced almost entirely because of your stupidity, you read the writing on the wall and get out. Yet, he stayed, and he faced the task of finding a fellow PC MPP nice enough (and representing a non-marginal constituency) to step aside to let him run and win in the ensuing by-election. Normally, these types of things don’t turn into a complete farce (one PC MPP, Bill Murdoch, was expelled for criticizing Tory) and don’t take over a year. In January of this year, more than a year after the election, Tory got PC MPP Laurie Scott (Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock) to resign so that he could run. Scott had won around 50% of the vote in 2007 in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, with the Liberal candidate taking around 29.5%. So, a safe seat. Normally in these types of things, the party leader easily wins the by-election and all’s well that ends well. However, since Tory is an inherent screw up and failure, things blew up in his face again. A lot of local PCs and voters didn’t like the fact that a urbanite from Toronto (urbanites from Toronto aren’t very popular in rural Ontario, you see) came in a stole the seat from their local rural MPP. An outfit called the Reform Party (like the old federal Reform) threatened to run a candidate, saying Tory was an urbanite and liberal (Tory is a “moderate”, but that sounds like bullshit to me) but it failed to do so. The Liberals ran Rick Johnson, their 2007 candidate. The Greenie candidate was Mike Schreiner and the NDP candidate was Lyn Edwards. The perennial SoCred/Indie John Turmel ran, making this his 69th official candidacy and 68th election (and that many loses).
There was some anger about Tory running, and the Liberals exploited that anti-urban/anti-Toronto sentiment. However, nobody would’ve thought it would have come down to this. After all, this is Conservative heartland and the Ontario Liberals aren’t the rural geezers they were in the 1920s.
Rick Johnson (Liberal) 43.73% (+14.22%)
John Tory (PC) 41.17% (-8.82%)
Mike Schreiner (Green) 6.64% (-0.52%)
Lyn Edwards (NDP) 5.98% (-5.94%)
Jason Taylor (Ind) 0.90%
Jake Pothaar (Family Coalition) 0.73% (+0.11%)
Bill Denby (Freedom) 0.40% (-0.41%)
John Turmel (Ind) 0.26%
Paolo Fabrizio (Libertarian) 0.20%
Liberal GAIN from PC
Swing of 11.52% from PC to Liberal
Holy crap. I know everybody was saying before the election that it would be extremely funny if Tory lost, but everybody said the seat was safe Conservative, so he couldn’t lose. Well, holy smoking crap. I knew Tory was a failure, but it’s hard to believe he actually managed to lose this one, especially to a governing party in the midst of a huge economic crisis.
IIRC, this is the first time the governing party gains a seat in a by-election since 1986 (Liberal gain from PC in York East). And I think its also the first time since the ’80’s that the Liberals have represented this part of the world, though maybe not, since there’s been a hell lot of boundary changes since then. However, I do think this part of the world elected an incompetent NDPer in the 1990 NDP landslide. In sum, lol Ontario PC.