Well, I’m sure many Liberals can rest easy, for now–the fetus fetishist, Trifon Haitas, lost the nomination to advertising exec, Grant Gordon last night. There was concern that the Liberals being in such bad shape, that it was ripe for a take-over from single issue interest groups, like a fetus fetishing group looking to resurrect “Liberals for Life”.
Some, who are traditionally Liberal, were so livid that if Trifon Haitas would’ve won the nomination, they were saying they would push to get the vote out for the NDP’s candidate. I wonder if the NDP was secretly hoping that Haitas would’ve won, given that it would’ve likely have been an easier win for their candidate, Craig Scott?
Now, let the by-election games begin! It appears to be a somewhat level playing field given there are no “star” candidates running in this by-election. Now what? Predictions? Along with the three main parties, the Greens are also fielding a candidate, as well as the Libertarian Party and Canada Action Party.
Well, first of all, the Harpercons saying that Toronto-Danforth is the “Liberals to lose”, is an absolute fallacy. It is the NDP’s to lose. For openers, take a look at who has held the riding since 1979. The only time it went Liberal is when Dennis Mills won in 1988 and he held on to the riding until Jack Layton unseated him in 2004. Before 1988, the riding was in NDP hands from 1979–Bob Rae from 1979 – 1982 and then Lynn McDonald from 1982 – 1988. As you can see, boys ‘n’ girls, the NDP have held it for the most part.
It will be who can get the vote out? As everyone knows, by-elections tend to have even lower turn-out than general elections. This by-election will probably be no exception.
The NDP are mired in a leadership race and their vote is supposed to take place right around the same time as the by-election. Will their campaign in Toronto-Danforth suffer because of this?
The Liberals too, are at a disadvantage. They nominated their candidate rather late in the game and have only a month to mount a campaign, while the NDP’s Craig Scott was nominated much earlier.
As much as we may like to ignore them, we can’t really discount the Harpercons’ candidate, Andrew Keyes running in Toronto-Danforth.
As mentioned, they are at a disadvantage, due to the late nomination of Grant Gordon, as well as the fact that the NDP has held the riding for a much longer even when the Liberals were strong, and not to mention, the fact the memory of Jack Layton, the man who held this seat. Let’s take a look at where and how the Liberals placed in recent elections, shall we? While they had remained in second place since the 2004 election of Jack Layton, their vote count has been steadily decreasing with each subsequent election. On May 2, they only had about 3 percentage points above the Harpercons. With that math in mind, how could the Harpercons believe that Toronto-Danforth is the Liberals’ to lose?
However, unlike the NDP, who are now, for the most part, concentrated on a leadership campaign, one would the think the Liberals may have more time and energy to spend on this campaign. Also, the NDP may decide that not much energy campaigning would be required because they’re likely confident their candidate, Craig Scott will hold on to the riding, at any rate. However, sometimes that kind of attitude would play against a candidate or party. If the NDP continue to spend more time with their leadership race and if they treat this by-election as a mere afterthought to be done and over with, it may give Grant Gordon the edge.
Also, who will be helping Mr. Gordon with his campaign? Will all hands be on deck like the Vaughan by-election of November, 2010? Even then, that wasn’t enough to prevent Robocop Fantino from winning there.
I will say that Grant Gordon and the Liberals’ chances of taking this seat in the upcoming by-election are slim to none. The question is, how will they place, will they still remain in 2nd place? I will get to that later. Will their vote count at least remain where it was on May 2? Or will it decrease yet again? Or, even go up, somewhat?
Could they be the wild card in this upcoming by-election? Most will be ignoring Andrew Keyes and the Harpercons. Toronto-Danforth has not been in Conservative hands, at least since 1979, when the riding name was changed. There will be no expectation whatsoever that Mr. Keyes would squeak through. However, as everyone knows there is a first time for everything. We have also seen surprises when expectations are at their lowest.
True, the Conservatives (Progressive Conservatives before 2004 election) have placed either third or even fourth in Toronto-Danforth since 1979, with exception of 1984 when they came in 2nd along with the Brian Mulroney wave. However, the Cons have been seeing their vote count rise slightly with each election since 2004. As mentioned, on May 2, they only placed about 3 percentage points under the Liberals’ Andrew Lang. If the trend continues where the Harpercons see their vote count rise and that of the Liberals’ decline, could Andrew Keyes wind up in 2nd place?
Also, given that this is a multi-ethnic riding, I have to wonder if Jason Kenney will make an appearance alongside his candidate, using his schtick of ingratiating himself with those constituents who are immigrants, with the rallying cry of “Your values are Conservative values!” How open would that constituency be to a Harpercon?
We also must not discount vote splitting. Depending how the NDP, Liberal and Green is split, could Keyes come up the middle and actually win this?
I would have to say that the chances of Harpercons squeaking by with a surprising upset are slim to none. However, they (yech!) may well send Grant Gordon to the third place. That is within the realm of possibility.
As mentioned above, by-elections tend to have lower turn-out and few actually pay attention, particularly if the candidates are not known as is the case here. Under normal circumstances, low turn-out generally favours the incumbent. Low voter turn-out here would definitely favour the NDP.
Yes, they may be at a disadvantage, given the party is busy trying to elect a leader. If they believe that not much time and effort is not required, given their confidence in retaining the seat, that could play against them. Stevie Spiteful, of course, deliberately waited til the last possible second to have the by-election later, rather than sooner.
However, Olivia Chow has pretty much stayed out of the NDP leadership race and has not endorsed any candidate. She’s well respected in Toronto. She could well take some time out of her schedule and help with his campaign. I wouldn’t be surprised if she did.
Also, there is the memory of Jack Layton. How fresh is that on the minds of his constituents? If it were any other riding, I might say that it wouldn’t play a large role, given how much time has elapsed since his death. However, Toronto-Danforth was Jack Layton’s seat. This is also a riding that tends to favour incumbents for the most part. Given the popularity of Jack, there wouldn’t appear to be an appetite for change.
For those reasons, the chance of Craig Scott winning and retaining this seat in the NDP fold are very good. However, it would be interesting to see his vote share this time around. Jack Layton won it on May 2 with over 60% of the vote. I doubt that Scott will yield that much, but at the end of the day, it’s winning the seat that matters.
Prediction and Speculation
While the NDP’s Craig Scott will most likely retain the seat for the party, I would be interested in the vote count. It would also be interesting to see who comes in 2nd between the Liberals and the Harpercons. Even though second place doesn’t award anything, it would point out some pertinent information. Should the Liberals come in third, this would no doubt be another step on the decline for the party. It would indeed be a devastating blow in a normally progressive riding (except for East-York portion).
Again, who would come in second would also depend largely on how much effort the Harpercons will put into this campaign. Remember, they would like to have more Toronto seats. Even a second place finish would be a victory to them.
If the Harpercons finished second over the Liberals, get ready for some serious gloating from their corner, basically slamming the Liberals and how they achieved another step in totally destroying them.
Whomever comes in second and third, depending on the vote counts for each othem, may well be an indicator of how will people vote come 2015, not just in Toronto-Danforth, but anywhere really.