St. Paul’s (Ontario) by-election 2009
St. Paul’s, a provincial (and federal, by this concerns the provincial) constituency in northern downtown Toronto (Ontario) held a by-election yesterday to replace Michael Bryant, the incumbent Liberal MPP who got into hot water in the last days or weeks after killing a cyclist (the incident was not the cause of his resignation, he resigned in June). The constituency, a rather affluent one with a strong Italian community and a large young professional population is considered a Liberal stronghold since around 1999, when Bryant won the constituency from the Progressive Conservatives. However, there was a lot of talk in recent days that the PC might give the Liberal candidate, Eric Hoskins, a sweat or even win it themselves due to a tough summer for the Ontario Liberal government and controversy over the HST, Harmonized Sales Tax (merging the federal 5% Goods and Services Tax with the 8% Retails Sales Tax). Those who predicted a PC win in this urban Toronto riding have quite an epic fail on their hands.
Eric Hoskins (Liberal) 47.60% (+0.17%)
Sue-Ann Levy (PC) 28.33% (+1.79%)
Julian Heller (NDP) 16.88% (+1.14%)
Chris Chopik (Green) 5.47% (-2.87%)
John Kittredge (Libertarian) 0.58% (+0.05%)
Danish Ahmed (Special Needs) 0.34%
Marius Frederick (Independent) 0.30%
Paul McKeever (Freedom) 0.22% (-0.04%)
John C. Turmel (Independent) 0.19%
Raj Rama (Independent) 0.09%
Liberal hold (Swing: 0.98% from Liberal to PC)
A poor showing for the PC, which seems to have hoped that there would be a large vote against the Liberal government and the HST, which they and the NDP oppose. Either these voters, assuming they exist in important numbers, didn’t turn out, which would be surprising since these kinds of anti-government voters are more likely to turn out than pro-government voters are; or or there is simply little to no negative reaction to the HST or the various scandalish issues which dampened the Liberal mood over the last days of summer. In addition, another instance of a major flop for a so-called star candidate, Sue-Ann Levy, a Jewish lesbian journalist (for the Toronto Sun) but also an ultra-conservative (which isn’t popular in Toronto). And a poor start, possibly, for the new PC leader, the conservative Tim Hudak, who’s been called by detractors the second coming of Mike Harris. Does this mean that the PC’s shift to the right hasn’t received popular approval? Possibly, but one Liberal stronghold in Toronto is not a good sample, and also, it’s a by-election (you know what that means).