The spring election is only 84 days away, and the NDP still don’t have a candidate in most GTA ridings.
Home to about 38 per cent of the province’s new 124 ridings, the vote-rich 905 and 416 have traditionally been strong grounds for the Liberals. But the NDP have had solid showings in Toronto and some choice ridings in the 905, like Bramalea-Gore-Malton which federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh represented as an MPP, but which is now vacant with no official NDP candidate nominated as of yet.
“I’m a bit surprised that they haven’t nominated because there is an advantage to that so that they could go knocking on doors and get a local presence,” explains John Wright of Dart Insights and Communications. “It’s getting a little tight in terms of nominations.”
According to official candidate lists provided to CityNews by the Ontario PC Party, Ontario Liberals and NDP, the Tories are in the best shape candidate wise in the GTA and across Ontario.
The Tories still need 11 candidates in the GTA, the Liberals need 13 and the NDP, 30.
Recent polling conducted by Forum research shows the Tories are poised to capture several key Toronto ridings in a move reminiscent of the 1995 Harris Conservatives.
The Liberals still don’t have nominated candidates in three of those ridings (Etobicoke-Lakeshore, Scarborough Rouge Park and York Centre), even though two are currently held by Liberals.
Monte Kwinter (York Centre) announced he would not be seeking re-election last year, and while Peter Milczyn (Etobicoke-Lakeshore) is a sitting cabinet minister, his nomination date isn’t set until next week.
“It’s less of a problem for the Liberals because they’re the government,” explains Wright. “They have the infrastructure in place to quickly organize, its a bigger issue for the NDP.”
“We have more nominations happening all the time,” explains NDP spokesperson Sam Payne.
He says the party will have a candidate in every GTA riding well in time for the June election. Wright says they shouldn’t delay.
“If you don’t have a strong NDP core in the city, you don’t have candidates who are known and connected, it leaves it open for Wynne to basically call on those Liberals and say, ‘Come with me, not that leader, so we can stop Doug Ford,’ and I think that’s going to play out again.”
Essentially, a weak showing for the NDP isn’t just bad news for the NDP, but also, the Tories.
“At the end of the last election campaign the NDP played a really important role for the re-election of the Liberals,” explains Wright.
“Four per cent of voters in the GTA stepped over to the Liberals in the last moment and it shifted the whole election from a potential minority for the Conservatives to a win for the Liberals.”
The Ontario election is scheduled for June 7th.