Most polls are predicting a Liberal majority in today’s Ontario election, but there are at least a few ridings that will be close-calls and of interest to gays and lesbians.
Below is a map and list of key ridings that Xtra.ca will be following throughout the evening. Check back here for results and read our live blogging commentary starting at 8:30pm.
View Larger Map
(note: candidates’ images are placed close to their riding, but may be off slightly for image clarity and visibility)
Ottawa West-Nepean. Liberal health promotion minister (and former Ottawa mayor) Jim Watson faces off against Mike Patton, the former right hand man of Ottawa’s current conservative mayor. Watson has the task of taking his largely progressive, gay-friendly, harm-reduction attitudes to this grassy suburban riding — a tough sell he handily made in 2003.
Likely outcome: Liberal Jim Watson.
(Results as of 10:55pm:
Liberal Jim Watson – 51.0 percent
PC Mike Patton – 30.9 percent)
Parkdale-High Park. The seat was picked up for the NDP in a 2006 by-election by former United Church minister Cheri DiNovo. The by-election was characterized by the worst kind of personality politics and mudslinging between DiNovo and Liberal candidate Sylvia Watson. Their rematch potentially threatens DiNovo’s private members bill — affectionately dubbed “Toby’s Bill” — which she introduced during her short stay at Queen’s Park. Although Toby’s Bill would have to be reintroduced after an election (it died with all other business at the end of the spring session), it would have explicitly protected Ontarians from discrimination based on gender identity.
Likely outcome: NDP Cheri DiNovo.
(Results as of 10:56pm:
NDP Cheri DiNovo – 44.4 percent
Liberal Sylvia Watson – 29.6 percent)
Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington. A rural Eastern Ontario riding created for this election from ridings that have gone PC and Liberal in the past. The polarizing figure in the riding is PC candidate Randy Hillier (the guy responsible for Ottawa’s traffic snarling tractor protests.) Warren Kinsella calls him “anti-gay, anti-native, anti-urban.” While virtually any candidate would look intellectual next to Hillier, the Liberals have gone out of their way to find the most erudite Liberal in Lanark county: former chairman of the Kingston General Hospital and St Lawrence College business professor Ian Wilson.
Likely outcome: PC Randy Hillier.
(Results as of 10:52pm:
PC Randy Hillier – 42.1 percent
Liberal Ian Wilson – 36.4 percent)
London West. Interesting firstly for its Liberal-Conservative swing voters, the riding has elected high profile PC candidates like former premier John Robarts and former leadership hopeful Diane Cunningham. The riding will almost certainly go to Liberal cabinet minister Chris Bentley (Minister for Training, Colleges and Universities) but NDP candidate Paul Pighin will make history as the first openly poz candidate on the Ontario ballot.
Likely outcome: Liberal Chris Bentley.
(Results as of 10:50pm:
Liberal Chris Bentley – 52.2 percent
PC Allison Graham – 23.2 percent)
Don Valley West. We’ve known this was going to be an exciting race from the outset. Lesbian Liberal education minister Kathleen Wynne faces off against funding-for-faith-based-schools champion John Tory himself in the gentrified suburban riding of Don Valley West. Wynne trounced Tory in mid-election riding polls, but with the PC leader backing away from religious school funding, it’s possible this could turn into a nailbiter.
Likely outcome: Liberal Kathleen Wynne.
(Results as of 10:47pm
Liberal Kathleen Wynne – 50.2 percent
PC John Tory – 39.6 percent)
Ottawa Centre. Three novice candidates vie to replace outgoing Liberal MPP Richard Patton. A wealthy, well-educated, urban riding with many of the city’s social services located in its bounds, Ottawa Centre is represented federally by the NDP and is usually considered a two-horse race. Liberal Yasir Naqvi has run a safe “we should look into it” kind of a campaign, while NDP Will Murray has staked his bid on fixing the municipal funding formula and restoring social programming. The riding is also among the top Green Party ridings in the province; this time out, they’re represented by Greg Laxton, whose area of expertise is electoral reform.
Likely outcome: NDP Will Murray.
(Results as of 10:48pm:
Liberal Yasir Naqvi – 35.2 percent
NDP Will Murray – 30 percent
PC Trina Morissette – 20.5 percent)