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10 GTA ridings to watch in the federal election

Last Updated Oct 20, 2019 at 8:31 am EDT

With the 2019 federal election fast approaching, there are still multiple ridings in the GTA where polls from 338Canada show the race is still a toss-up. All of the ridings are currently held by the Liberals, which could prove damaging to the party if any of them turn blue.

King-Vaughan

The King-Vaughan riding was flipped in the 2015 election to the Liberals when MP Deborah Schulte beat her opponent with a 16 point swing in the left direction, winning by fewer than 2,000 votes. With election day less than a month away, polls have Schulte and her Conservative opponent separated by less than a point.

Population: 131,995

Major communities: Township of King and the City of Vaughan

Incumbent: Liberal MP Deborah Schulte was a York Regional councillor prior to being elected to Parliament in 2015. Schulte served as the parliamentary secretary to the minister of National Revenue during her first term. She has a mechanical and aerospace engineering degree from Princeton University and spent more than 20 years working at Bombardier Aerospace.

Main challengers: Conservative Anna Roberts is running for the first time as a candidate in the King-Vaughan riding. She has been volunteering for the past 30 years in King Township and worked in the banking and financial industry. She is also on the King Township Accessibility Committee. Emilio Bernardo-Ciddio is running for the NDP, while Ann Raney, who ran for the Green Party in 2015, is back. Anton Strgacic is on the ballot for the People’s Party of Canada.

Election history: The King-Vaughan riding was created during the 2012 election boundary redistribution and was created out of parts of the Oak Ridges-Markham and Vaughan ridings.

Vaughan-Woodbridge

This riding was also created in the redistribution of election boundaries in 2012 and the first election led to a Liberal victory. It was also a Conservative-heavy area prior to the redistribution with over 56 per cent of the vote. In the 2015 election, Liberal Francesco Sorbara beat Conservative incumbent Julian Fantino, by just over five points. Currently, the incumbent has a lead of just under three points, according to recent polls.

Population: 105,225

Major communities: Mostly made up of the community of Woodbridge

Incumbent: Liberal MP Francesco Sorbara, who was elected in 2015, worked in the financial industry for 20 years before becoming a politician. He beat former OPP commissioner and former Toronto police chief Julian Fantino in the election.

Main challengers: Conservative Teresa Kruze, a former broadcast journalist, is running for the first time in the 2019 election. She spent 14 years working in sports broadcasting before switching to news and entertainment. Kruze is also an entrepreneur — running three businesses with her husband, and has also written a book on entrepreneurship. Peter Devita is on the ballot for the NDP, Raquel Fronte is representing for the Green Party and Domenic Montesano is running for the People’s Party of Canada.

Election history: The Vaughan-Woodbridge riding was created during the 2012 election boundary redistribution.

Fan fact: Just over nine per cent of households reported Italian as the language most spoken at home in Vaughan-Woodbridge.

Newmarket-Aurora

The riding, located in the heart of the Toronto suburbs and widely viewed as a key electoral battleground, will see a face-off between seasoned Liberal and Conservative candidates. Newmarket-Aurora has gone back and forth between the two parties over the years and is currently held by a Liberal MP who is not seeking re-election. This time around, a longtime local mayor will be going up against a deposed federal politician hoping to get back to Parliament Hill.

Population: 117,418

Major communities: Cities of Newmarket and Aurora

Incumbent: Liberal Kyle Peterson has announced that his first term in the House of Commons will be his last.

The contenders: Tony Van Bynen, the longtime mayor of Newmarket, is hoping to succeed Peterson as a Liberal MP. Van Bynen served on municipal council for 18 years and spent three terms as the town’s mayor, retiring before the 2018 municipal election. The Conservative Party will be represented by Lois Brown, who served two terms as the riding’s member of parliament before losing her seat in the 2015 federal contest. Yvonne Kelly, who secured 8.5 per cent of the vote in 2015, is running again for the NDP. Other candidates include construction industry consultant Walter Bauer for the Green party and Andrew McCaughtrie for the People’s Party of Canada.

Election history: Belinda Stronach was the first MP to serve the riding upon its creation in 2004, winning the election under the banner of the Conservative party. Stronach was re-elected in 2006 even after crossing the floor to join the Liberals. Brown served two terms before being defeated by Peterson in 2015. The riding is one of many in the vote-rich 905 area which has emerged as a strong predictor of election-night results at both the federal and provincial levels.

Fun fact: A priest and Elvis impersonator who has been a perennial political candidate in Newmarket-Aurora is running again, but not in this riding. Dorian Baxter, who performs under the name Elvis Priestly, has secured the nomination for the Progressive Canadian Party but will be running in neighbouring York-Simcoe this time around.

Richmond Hill

Another interesting race is forming north of Toronto in the riding of Richmond Hill. Liberal MP Majid Jowhari leads the Conservative candidate, who won the riding in 2011 but lost in the 2015 election after running in a different riding.

Population: 110,175

Major communities: Richmond Hill

Incumbent: Liberal MP Majid Jowhari was elected in 2015 as one of first two Iranian-Canadian Members of Parliament. He founded his own boutique consulting firm and worked for there for 15 years before becoming a politician.

Main challengers: Conservative Costas Menegakis previously won the riding in the 2011 election and is now back to challenge the Liberal incumbent Jowhari. He ran in the newly-created neighbouring riding of Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill in 2015, but lost to Liberal candidate Leona Alleslev by just over 1,000 votes. Alleslev crossed the aisle to the Conservatives in 2018 and is now running for them in the 2019 election.

Election history: Bryon Wilfert was the first person elected to the riding when it was created in 2004 and he held it until 2011 when Conservative Costas Menegakis was elected. It flipped back to red in the 2015 election. He had been the Liberal MP in the Oak Ridges riding as well before the boundary redistribution created the Richmond Hill riding in 2003.

Whitby

This riding is currently held by independent MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes who quit the the Liberal caucus just a few weeks after announcing she would not be seeking re-election. Caesar-Chavennes was a vocal supporter of former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould and MP Jane Philpott, who were both ousted from caucus over the SNC-Lavalin affair, but Caesar-Chavennes insisted her decision to not run again was separate from the scandal. Currently, the Conservative candidate has a six-point lead over the Liberal candidate in the riding.

Population: 128,375

Major communities: Town of Whitby

Incumbent: Independent MP and former Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes, who is not seeking re-election.

The contenders: Conservative candidate Todd McCarthy is leading in the polls right now over Liberal candidate Ryan Turnball. McCarthy is a senior partner at the law firm Flaherty McCarthy LLP and previously served as a trustee on the Durham Region Separate School Board. Turnball is an entrepreneur who runs a social innovation consulting firm and says he has worked with more than 250 charities. Brian Dias, who works for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, is running for the NDP while Dr. Paul Slavchenko, an anesthesiologist, is running for the Greens. Mirko Pejic will represent the People’s Party of Canada.

Election History: The district was created in the 2012 election boundary redistribution from the riding of Whitby-Oshawa.

Scarborough-Agincourt

Liberal MP Jean Yip has held the Scarborough-Agincourt seat for just under two years, winning the by-election after her husband Arnold Chan passed away while in office. Chan, who was also a Liberal MP, won the seat in 2014 after eight-term MP Jim Karygiannis left it empty to run for Toronto City Council. He passed away from cancer at the age of 50. The riding has been a Liberal stronghold for more than 30 years, but only four points currently separates the incumbent from her Conservative opponent.

Population: 105,545

Major Communities: Covers northwest corner of Scarborough.

Incumbent: Liberal MP Jean Yip, who won the byelection on Dec. 11 2017. Prior to her husband’s untimely passing, she assisted him with parliamentary duties.

Main challengers: Sean Hu, running under the Conservative umbrella, is a tax specialist who immigrated to Canada more than 30 years ago. Larisa Julius is running for the NDP, Randi Ramdeen is running for the Greens while Anthony Internicola is running for the People’s Party of Canada.

Election history: The riding was created in 1987 from the York-Scarborough riding and has been held by the Liberals since its inception. Jim Karygiannis held the seat for eight consecutive terms before resigning to run for Toronto City Council.

Fun fact: Immigrants make up just under 68 per cent of the population in this riding, which makes it the highest percentage in any federal riding in Canada.

Milton

Conservative Party deputy leader Lisa Raitt will face Liberal star candidate Adam van Koeverden for the right to represent this growing riding west of Toronto. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made a number of appearances in the community alongside van Koeverden, a former Olympic, gold-medal winning kayaker. Raitt won her seat by just over 2,000 votes in 2015.

Population: 114,093

Major communities: Milton, a portion of Burlington.

Incumbent: Lisa Raitt (Conservative) who is the deputy party leader and a veteran politician who was first elected in 2008. Raitt also held several cabinet positions in Stephen Harper’s government. She ran for the leadership in 2016, but lost to Scheer.

Main challengers: Liberal Adam van Koeverden, a former Olympic gold medal-winning kayaker; Farina Hassan for the NDP; Eleanor Hayward, a social sciences student at McMaster University and registered massage therapist, is running for the Greens; and Percy Dastur is running for the People’s Party of Canada.

Election history: The riding came into existence after 2015 and was previously included in the riding of Halton.

Fun fact: Milton is the fastest growing community in Ontario according to Statistics Canada, with a population that has jumped by nearly 30 per cent between the 2011 and 2016 census.

 

Eglinton-Lawrence

Another Liberal stronghold is the neighbouring riding of Eglinton-Lawrence. The riding followed a similar path to York Centre as the Conservatives flipped the seat in 2011, but managed to win it back in 2015 when Marco Mendicino defeated the incumbent MP. Mendicino will be running again and has a five point lead as of Sept. 21.

Population: 114,395

Main communities: The riding is bounded by Highway 401 to the north, Eglinton Avenue West to the south, Yonge Street to the east and just past Caledonia Road to the west.

Incumbent: Marco Mendicino had a tough journey to the House of Commons in 2015, facing an early challenger for the Liberal nomination before going up against the incumbent and then-finance minister Joe Oliver. He was also up against former finance minister of Saskatchewan Andrew Thomson who ran for the NDPs.

Main contenders: Chani Aryeh-Bain, a teacher and small business owner, is running under the Conservative umbrella. Aryeh previously ran for Toronto City Council, coming in second in 2014. She has since launched a political consulting firm that specializes in voter engagement after volunteering on Joe Oliver’s campaign. Ryerson student Alexandra Nash is running for the NDP. Reuben DeBoer is running for the Greens and Michael Staffieri is the candidate for the People’s Party of Canada.

Election history: The riding has been held by just two Liberal MPs between its inception in 1979 and 2011. Seven-term MP Joe Volpe was defeated by Conservative MP Joe Oliver in 2011 before it swung back to red.

Mississauga-Streetsville

This riding could see the tightest race of all 10 with just 0.1 point currently separating the incumbent Liberal candidate and the Conservative challenger, according to a poll updated on Sept. 21. The riding has also made the news after reports came to light that Conservative candidate Ghada Melek was refused as a candidate by the provincial Conservatives in Ontario in 2016. Leader Andrew Scheer has defended her by saying his understanding is that Melek withdrew from that nomination race.

Population: 118,300

Main communities: Villages of Streetsville and Meadowvale.

Incumbent: Liberal MP Gagan Sikand, who was a lawyer and small business owner before becoming a politician, beat incumbent MP Brad Butt in the 2015 election.

Main contenders: Conservative candidate Ghada Melek has made a name for herself already as a controversial candidate. Just days into the election, a group calling itself Conservatives United Against Hate continued to press leader Andrew Scheer to oust Melek as the party candidate in Mississauga-Streetsville, sending an email with screenshots of posts Melek shared on Facebook that the group said were “Islamophobic and homophobic.” Scheer responded by saying she had already apologized for her posts and he accepts her apology. Melek, who immigrated with her parents from Egypt as a teenager, currently works as a senior manager for Deloitte. Chris Hill is taking his second shot at the riding, running for the Greens, while Samir Girguis is running for the NDP and Thomas McIver for the People’s Party of Canada.

Election history: Mississauga Streetsville has flipped back and forth among Conservative, Liberal and independent since its creation in 2004 and that’s just from one MP. Former MP Wajid Khan was elected as a Liberal in 2004 before crossing the aisle to the Conservatives in 2007. He then withdrew from the Conservative caucus after being charged by Elections Canada with overspending in the previous election. Elections Canada later admitted there was no wrongdoing and he was admitted back into caucus. He lost the 2008 election to the Liberals.

Fun fact: The riding was previously held from 2008 to 2011 by current Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie.

Markham-Stouffville

Former minister Jane Philpott’s split from the Liberals could leave voters in this Toronto-area riding divided as she seeks re-election as an Independent. Philpott, who served as health minister, Indigenous services minister and then president of the Treasury Board, resigned from cabinet over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin controversy. She was later booted from caucus.

Population: 126,064

Major communities: City of Markham

Incumbent: Jane Philpott, a family physician, is running as an Independent after being turfed from the Liberal caucus earlier this year.

Main challengers: Former Ontario health minister Helena Jaczek, who represented the former provincial riding of Oak Ridges-Markham, is running for the Liberals. Theodore Anthony, a local businessman working in the RESP industry, is the Conservative candidate.

Election history: The riding was created for the 2015 federal election from parts of Oak Ridges-Markham and Markham-Unionville, which means Philpott is the only one to have held that seat. Before it dissolved, Oak Ridges-Markham was a Conservative riding, represented by Paul Calandra. Markham-Unionville, meanwhile, still exists and is represented by Conservative Bob Saroya.

Fun fact: Markham is home to one of Canada’s oldest agricultural fairs, which organizers say has been running since 1844. The annual event takes place over four days before Thanksgiving.