Five key GTA ridings to watch in the 2015 federal election

When the polls close on Oct. 19, all eyes will turn to a number of tight contests in GTA ridings which could prove the difference between a minority and majority government.
We look at five of the closest battlegrounds, and three others that could turn the tide for one party or another on election night.


Mississauga-East Cooksville Etobicoke Centre – Conservatives vs. Liberals

26 votes. That’s what stopped veteran Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj from returning to Parliament Hill, narrowly losing the seat to Conservative Ted Opitz in the 2011 election.

Wrezesnewskyj challenged the results in a case that made it all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. Ultimately, the court ruled in Opitz’s favor- although his win was reduced to a 6-vote lead.

Now they are at it again – and joined by the NDP’s Tanya De Mello and Shawn Rizvi from the Greens – in a race that is too close to call.

Etobicoke Centre Mississauga-East Cooksville – Conservatives vs. Liberals

It was one of the closest races in the GTA- and it looks like it could be another tough battle this time around. Once a Liberal stronghold, former Liberal MPP Peter Fonseca couldn’t keep the riding red in 2011- coming in a close second to the Conservative’s Wladyslaw Lizon. Lizon won by only 676 votes.

Both are back – along with the NDP’s Ali Naqvi.

Brampton Centre Brampton Centre – Conservatives vs. Liberals

This could be the hottest race to watch in Brampton. In 2011, all four Liberal MPs were turfed from the city, as Tories were overwhelmingly elected in a wave of blue support. The Conservative candidates handily won their seats – except for Minister of State for Sport Bal Gossal, who won by a margin of only 539 votes over (now NDP deputy Leader & MPP) Jagmeet Singh.

Singh isn’t running in this race, but the boundaries have changed- and Gossal could face some stiff competition from the Liberals with Ramesh Sangha, a well-known lawyer who hosted the biggest political rally in the GTA – with 7000 Liberals descending on his riding earlier this month.

Scarborough Southwest Scarborough Southwest – Liberals vs. NDP

2011’s “Orange crush” helped the NDP’s Dan Harris capture this historically Liberal seat from incumbent Michelle Simson by 2420 votes.

But this time Harris doesn’t just have to turf a sitting MP, he has to take on former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, a star candidate for Team Trudeau.

Spadina Fort Yok Spadina Fort York – Liberals vs. NDP

This riding is new, made up of parts of Trinity-Spadina and Toronto Centre – new boundaries and star candidates make this a race to watch.

Trinity-Spadina was an NDP stronghold, until the sitting MP ran for Toronto mayor. Olivia Chow lost that bid, and former broadcaster and city councillor Adam Vaughan snatched up the seat for the Liberals in a byelection. But now Chow wants her seat back, and while the new boundaries encompass a lot of new developments and lose part of Chinatown – redistributed results from 2011 show the NDP would’ve won anyways.

Other notable ridings to watch:

Ajax – Conservatives vs. Liberal

Conservative Chris Alexander was able to turf three-time Liberal incumbent Mark Holland in 2011, now the two are at it again. The riding has new boundaries, and Alexander has the advantage of being a high-profile incumbent as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. But if the Syrian migrant crisis had any impact on voters, it will be most pronounced here.

University-Rosedale – Liberal vs. NDP

High-profile and relatively new Liberal MP Chrystia Freeland is up against former television personality Jennifer Hollett in this new riding. Although Freeland has the incumbent-bump, if this riding had existed in 2011, redistributed results indicate the NDP would’ve owned it.

Toronto-Centre – Liberals vs. NDP

She lost to the Liberal’s Chrystia Freeland in a 2013 byelection, but the NDP’s Linda McQuaig is giving it another go. Traditionally a Liberal riding, there’s no incumbent in this race which means McQuaig could be a real contender against the Liberal’s Bill Morneau.

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