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Wynne calls 5 Ontario byelections for Aug. 1

Premier Kathleen Wynne has called five Ontario byelections and voters will head to the polls on Aug. 1.

Byelections will be held in two Toronto-area ridings — Etobicoke-Lakeshore and Scarborough-Guildwood — as well as Ottawa South, Windsor and London West.

They’re all to replace MPPs who have left office since February.

Former premier Dalton McGuinty (Ottawa South), former finance minister Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Tecumseh), former energy minister Chris Bentley (London West), former education minister Laurel Broten (Etobicoke-Lakeshore) and Margarett Best (Scarborough-Guildwood) have all quit.

Coun. Peter Milczyn, a member of Mayor Rob Ford’s executive committee, will run for Broten’s seat under the Liberal banner.

Toronto Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday could end up going toe-to-toe with Milczyn. Holyday said Wednesday that he was being urged to run for the Conservatives in Etobicoke-Lakeshore – but hasn’t made up his mind yet.

“I’m not sure at this point, I still have to give it some more thought,” he said.

“I certainly know there needs to be a change at Queen’s Park. This spending can’t go on…”

Mayor Ford said he didn’t want to see Holyday go, but “he would be a huge asset for us at Queen’s Park.”

The Liberals nominated Ken Coran, the former head of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, to run in London West.

The quick call to the polls has left the NDP scrambling to find candidates.  Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath feels the Liberals are exploiting the situation.

“The Liberals will do whatever the Liberals do for their own self-interest. We are watching with cynicism…as the government makes these kinds of decision,”  Horwath said.

With files from Michael Talbot