Angry teachers about to sting Liberals in K-W by-election?Wednesday, September 05, 2012 by: Rick McGee
Political manoeuvering by Dalton McGuinty to bring his minority Liberal government up to majority status could very well crash and burn tomorrow in southern Ontario.
That’s where two by-elections will be held.
Winning both would move McGuinty and company into majority territory.
The Liberals are expected to hold Vaughan.
The vacancy arose there when veteran Greg Sorbara announced his retirement.
But a big by-election upset could be brewing in Kitchener-Waterloo.
And the result would be bad news for both McGuinty and Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak.
The Kitchener-Waterloo story began to unfold last spring when McGuinty made longtime Tory MPP Elizabeth Witmer an offer she couldn’t refuse.
Consequently, Witmer stepped down to become chair - at $180,000 a year - of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
Witmer’s resignation created an opening the Liberals thought they could successfully exploit in a by-election vote McGuinty set for September 6.
But the Kitchener-Waterloo race has turned into a tough three-way battle among the three biggest parties.
And now, Forum Research says the NDP candidate will likely come out on top.
“In the final random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum PollTM among Ontarians 18 years of age and older in the provincial ridings of Kitchener-Waterloo and Vaughan before the by-elections on Thursday, September 6, the NDP candidate, Catherine Fife, will win a surprising and convincing victory in Kitchener-Waterloo, with more than 4-in-10 votes (42 percent), compared to about one quarter for both Eric Davis, the Liberal, and Tracey Weiler, the Progressive Conservative (26 percent each),” Forum states in a news release.
“The Green Party will take one twentieth of the vote (6 percent).
“Meanwhile, in Vaughan, the Liberal candidate, Steven Del Duca, is headed for a comfortable win with support from half the voters (49 percent), compared to just more than a third for Tony Genco, the PC candidate (37 percent). One tenth will vote NDP (11 percent) and few will vote Green (3 percent).”
Some forward-looking analysis is also offered.
"Although this result preserves the status quo in the legislature, it definitely changes the political math at Queen's Park, and the calculations come out in favour of the NDP," said Forum Research President Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.
An NDP win in Kitchener-Waterloo would deny the Liberals their hoped-for majority, even if they retain Vaughan.
That kind of result would also raise questions about Hudak’s leadership, since Witmer kept the seat Conservative for 22 years.
If the NDP succeed, look for angry teachers abandoning the Liberals to be cited as a major factor.
Forum polled 721 people in Kitchener-Waterloo.
The survey is considered accurate to within 3.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.