The Fortress falls: Liberal ridings taken by Tories and NDP
After the dissolution of Canada’s 40th Parliament, the GTA was a Liberal playing field, Fortress Toronto the most secure of all Liberal strongholds. With the Liberals holding 20 of Toronto’s 22 seats—and no credible expectation that the party would lose many, if any, of its MPs in the 4-1-6—the idea that they could do any worse than they had under Stéphane Dion (who, by the way, won his seat in Montreal) was inconceivable. Of course, everybody knows how that turned out. The stranglehold was broken in emphatic fashion as ridings that held long-standing Liberal incumbents dumped them like a bad college romance. We look at a number of key Liberal losses and explore how the GTA changed from solid red to a bluish-orange hue.
1. Etobicoke-Lakeshore: Iggy goes down
Michael Ignatieff both led his party to a historic defeat and lost his own seat—a seat that had been vacated for him back in 2006 and had been Liberal since the 1993 victory. The combination of a strong-ish NDP challenger and a Conservative candidate endorsed by Rob Ford proved more than sufficient to unseat the party leader. That this wasn’t the worst news of the night is a sign of just how bad things are looking for the now leaderless Liberals.
2. Parkdale-High Park: Left-leaning Kennedy didn’t lean left enough
This was one of those ridings where the Conservatives had no chance of winning, so the forces of the left were free to vote to their hearts’ content. The result: a drubbing for one of the leftmost members of the Liberal caucus, as Peggy Nash beat Gerard Kennedy by a double-digit margin. This defeat was a genuine surprise—most observers assumed that the NDP wave would spare Kennedy. Whoops.
3. Eglinton-Lawrence: Volpe’s reign comes to an abrupt end
A Liberal MP even some Liberals won’t be sad to see gone, Joe Volpe went down to his Conservative counterpart, paving the way (maybe?) for Rocco Rossi’s run for the riding at the provincial level in October. How did Volpe, the incumbent for more than two decades, lose? Well, it probably didn’t help that the local Green Party candidate accused his campaign of shenanigans.
4. York Centre: Dryden can’t come through in the clutch
Oh, Ken Dryden. Former goalie; former Liberal leadership aspirant; and now former MP. Here, a split vote gave the Conservative candidate the slightest of leads over the combined Liberal-NDP effort, a telling example of the larger trend across the region as Liberals and NDP-ers waged a pitched battle for second place.
5. Davenport: Voters like Cash better than Silva
As in Volpe’s case, a long-time—but not particularly beloved—Liberal incumbent was turfed in favour of a newcomer. Here, Mario Silva went down to musician and NDP rookie Andrew Cash. This one wasn’t even close, which suggests that the riding wasn’t impressed with Silva’s distance-learning PhD from the National University of Ireland. On the plus side, Silva can actually go to Galway now, if he likes.
• Liberals crushed in GTA [Toronto Star]
• Oliver beats out Volpe in battle of the Joes [Toronto Star]
• Battleground Ontario: Tories penetrate last Grit defences in Fortress Toronto [The Canadian Press]
• NDP wave takes Parkdale-High Park [Globe and Mail]