5 byelections on the horizon in Ontario: analysis

TORONTO – With five vacant Liberal seats now at Queen’s Park, political watchers said there’s no reason for the Liberal Party to press the panic button.

However, given the expense and the minority government situation, some may be thinking Ontario would be better served with a general election instead.

Associate Professor of political science at University of Toronto Nelson Wiseman suspects the PC Party will continue its push for a general election, but he doesn’t see that happening.

“We’ve had a lot of federal byelections, and that’s the reason why we should have a general election? No, I don’t think so. I don’t think the public thinks that either,” Wiseman said.

Wiseman doesn’t believe any lost support will translate to the Liberals losing much ground in general.

“I suspect they’re going to lose support in these byelections if we look at the numbers overall, but they may not have lost enough to lose any of the seats,” he said.

“All that would happen is that the tone of provincial politics would change.

Robert Drummond, professor emeritus in political science at York University, told 680News there’s not really that much riding on the byelections.

“As long as they manage to count on the support of one or the other, the opposition parties — likely the NDP at this point — then they’re not likely to be defeated,” Drummond said, adding that he believes the Liberals will play it safe.

“I think they’re hoping that they give Premier Wynne a little time to identify herself and make the public well aware of her before they have a general election.”

According to a new Forum Research poll, the Conservatives have edged into the lead with 35 per cent support, while the Liberals are at 33 per cent and the NDP is at 24 per cent.

The most recent vacant seat comes after Scarborough-Guildwood Liberal MPP Margarett Best announced her resignation on Thursday.

The Liberals fell just one seat short of a majority government in the last provincial election in October 2011, so Drummond says outcomes in the byelections would not change the balance of power in the legislature.

Both experts believe the Liberals are likely to hold on to most of the five seats if not all of them, but two ridings which may shift are Ottawa and Windsor, belonging to former Premier Dalton McGuinty and former finance minister Dwight Duncan.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today