| ||08 10 11
|Full disclosure here: I managed Mark Holland's 2005-06 campaign, but I have no involvement this time as I'm working in Ottawa. I'll try to be as objective as I can despite my obvious bias.|
I have discussed canvass numbers with some of this year's team, and Mark is definitely in for a comfortable win as long as he can mobilize his supporters to get to the polls as in previous elections.
In 2004 and 2006, Mark won with more than 49% of the vote. That's the exact percentage Joe Dickson won provincially, suggesting a stable Liberal base. Mark won all but a few polls in 2006, and did massively well in north Ajax and many parts of Pickering such as Major Oaks. Even in south Ajax, traditionally more Conservative, he did very well.
In the 2006 election, Mark was still a little-known government backbencher. In opposition, he has gained a very high national profile, holding several key critic roles and being one of the A-Team in Question Period. He's balanced this with strong constituency work, so his profile is much higher this time.
I won't comment on Rick Johnson, except to say he was definitely a last-minute choice by the Conservatives after everyone else they tried turned them down. They lost Steve Gilchrist and were turned down by other high-profile Conservatives who knew they couldn't win against Mark.
It's true that in 2006, the Conservatives were hurt by their choice of a religious extremist, but Rondo Thomas also had the advantage of the fundraising capacity and volunteer base of the evangelical community. Johnson doesn't have this.
If the polls were swinging massively against the Liberals, Mark might have a tough go, but they aren't. Depending on which poll you read, Liberals and Conservatives are more or less within the same percentage range in the GTA now as they were in 2006. Unless Liberal supporters all come down with the flu on Tuesday, Holland is in for an easy win.
| ||08 10 11
|TCTC? What? Liberal numbers aren't that bad in the province... you have a visible incumbent with a 10,000 vote margin to make up... Easy Hold, Smaller Margin.|
| ||08 10 09
|In North Ajax, where there is a huge influx of immigrants, Mark Holland is hugely popular. Holland won considerably in the last election, and there is no visible reason for his supporters not to continue lending their support. Mark Holland is also becoming a very recognized name in Ajax-Pickering, where people know him and respect him for the work he's done in the community and in Canada as a whole. I will be greatly shocked to see if Conservatives pick up more than 30% of the vote. NDP and Green will likely not pass 5% each due to unrecognizable candidates.|
| ||08 10 09
|With Conservative numbers in Ontario softening in the days before the election, I have to say I think Mark Holland will win on personal popularity alone. He has worked hard, and people respect him for that. This is not a Liberal win, but a Holland one...|
| ||08 10 08
|This riding and its predecessors have been safely in the Liberal camp since the Mulroney years. Mark Holland won it by more than 8,000 votes in 2006. Nevertheless, they could have been a CPC gain. However, the recent downturn in Conservative fortunes in Ontario probably put paid to such hopes. Unless Prime Minister Harper can turn the party's fortunes around during the next five days, Ajax-Pickering will go Liberal by a considerable margin.|
| ||08 10 05
|The harper rally in ajax is an example of how the media coverage of this election has been somewhat odd. As a handful of protesters outside got more press in the star than the actual rally itself which was large. But fact harper actually visited the riding is a sign the party feels its competitive or he would of visited another riding instead. How this all plays out in ajax pickering is a little hard to say but I think its going to be close in the end as hollands results from the last election where better than they should have been due to poor choice of conservative candidate here last election.|
| ||08 10 01
|There is lots of speculation and rhetoric on this riding. I would certainly agree that the event with the PM was well attended and the numbers were in the several hundreds but I think that would be natural for a sitting PM. The race in this riding is very much different compared to previous federal campaigns and this is reflected in the volunteers that are out for Rick. The Liberals did win the riding with a significant lead last time but this was not all Mark and most would agree that issues in the last campaign hurt the Tories and helped the Liberals in this riding. So what is different this time? Tories have a much stronger candidate and have become better organized.|
| ||08 09 30
|ElectionPrediction.org rescues its credibility! This IS too close to call at this point. It could go either way. Both of the top two candidates are going to put up a good fight right up until election day.|
Whatever the G&M may write, Mark's ?personal situation? pretty much precludes any potential run for the leadership of the Liberal Party in 2009. His talents may help him win it in 2019. Regardless of the election outcome, I hope things work out for the best for him and his family.
| ||08 09 30
You are predicting a win on a rally that had ?800? people show up. That's debatable in itself, but that aside, it is only 800 people. Last time I checked there are 100000 people in this riding. 800 does not represent this riding! Do you even live in Ajax-Pickering? If you do, you know that the demographics here do not bode well for the Tories. This may be suburbia, but this isn't the white-washed nuclear suburbs of the 1950-1960s. This area has a significant visible minority population that consistently supports the Liberals (since 1993).
And Mark Holland has always been against the airport. It was the Tories (Lawrence Cannon) that were still contemplating it.
And I don't know where you are seeing these Johnson signs on lawns. I live in an affluent area of Ajax-Pickering (which you'd think favours the Tories) and there is not one Rick Johnson signs on any lawns.
Let's be realistic Adrian, Rick has no chance. This is a solid Liberal hold.
| ||08 09 30
|The Conservatives must be desperate to be tossing out such nonesense. I was at Mark's blitz on the same Saturday they are talking about - there were more than 100 volunteers there - about 40 or so for door-to-door. They only canvass four people per poll guys - it's called effectively using resources. Meanwhile, the Conservatives had a parade of 10 cars - mostly SUVs and trucks - driving to each driveway, blocking people and making everyone they encountered generally annoyed. I only wish they would do it all over the riding. Driving around sitting on the back of pick-ups instead of walking to the next townhome is a real winning image.|
As for rallies, there was more than 200 at Mark's in 2 days notice. You are actually saying that this riding is close because 400 people showed up in Durham for the Prime Minister when they were given a weeks notice? This when there are 2 cabinet ministers and a PS in Durham?? Between them, Bev and Jim have more staff than who showed up.
I've canvassed this riding a couple of time - it's not close. More than half of the signs Rick has, have no idea how they got there and Mark is still out signing him 4 to 1 - on lawns - drive around. They seem to have forgotten Ajax altogether.
Mark will win by more than 7,000 votes and we'll all be left to figure out why this site constantly gets this riding wrong (didn't they call it too close to call last time until a day or two before Mark won by 9,000 votes?).
| ||08 09 30
Don't know where you get your ‘honest’ numbers from.
There were 800 chairs set out in front and behind the media cameras. There were additional chairs brought out as more people arrived and there were over 100 people standing around the sides of the room as well as the youths in the balconies. I suggest that you check your facts before you make false or misleading statements. I guess that what the ‘stockbrokers’ call honesty.
| ||08 09 29
|Excluding media, and the fifty people traveling with Harper there was about four hundred and fifty people from Ajax, Pickering, Whitby, Oshawa, Clarington, Scugog, Northumberland and Peterborough. Lets be honest.|
| ||08 09 28
|So one of the best consitituency MPs around with a national profile is going to loose a 9,000 vote victory when Nanos has the Liberals up by 2% in Ontario??? The Globe and Mail just named Holland one of the potential next leaders of the party and this site is listing the riding too close to call? The riding did better than Pickering-Scarborough East in the last provincial election - the massive movement from Scarborough to Ajax would make this a safe liberal riding even if Holland wasn't running.|
| ||08 09 28
|I have no idea what it is with this site and Ajax-Pickering. In the last provincial, this site called it Conservative and then it was won by the Liberals with 50% of the vote. Holland won last time by 50% federally - 11% above the Ontario numbers and the Conservatives were -2% the Ontario numbers. This isn't even close. This not to mention the fact that Holland is much better known than the last election and the growth in north Ajax, where Liberals take more than 60% of the vote, has been very large. You guys are going to be red faced on this all over again.|
| ||08 09 28
|Ryan: One of the reasons that the riding has switched to ‘Too close to Call’ is when Mark had Dion here for the Durham ridings gathering the were between 150 to 200 people there ( that is a generous number). When Prime Minister Harper visited on Saturday there was in excess of 900 people at the Ajax Convention Centre even though it rained and there was a shortage of parking.|
Election signs on Lawns vote while roadside ones just cost money. Count the lawn signs in all areas of the riding and it is blue 2-1. and that does not count the 20% of lawn signs that are missing in action or switched to other lawns in the neighborhood.
This weekend Rick's canvas totalled 91 volunteers and met Mark and his 2 or three canvasers out on the street Saturday Morning. One canvaser was even lamenting that there were too many cars on the road.
The riding is going to go blue this time around. Mark my word.
I also think you should take a look at the two candidates positions on the airport. Blue has been steadily opposed and the reds have switched back and forth and waffled. Don't listen to the retoric - read the record from day one.
| ||08 09 27
|This is going Liberal for sure. Although both Mark Holland and Rick Johnson are known in the area, Holland is much more recognized in the district for his opposition to the Pickering Airport. There aren't nearly as many Tory signs on front lawns as Liberal signs. To PlaidShirt, it's federal politics and if you look at the previous two elections that Ajax-Pickering has been a riding, Holland won both elections with 49-50% of the vote.|
I don't know why this went to ‘too close to call’. This is one of the safest, if not safest ridings in Ontario outside of the City of Toronto.
| ||08 09 27
|Here's a few facts:|
1. Front page of the today's Toronto Star website: The Liberals and NDP are tied at 21% in the polls.
2. Provincially, the Liberals would have won this riding with only a margin of 0.21% in 2003.
3. Mark Holland only had 12 people attend his public meeting about the Green Shift this past week.
3. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is visiting the riding today. He will get a lot more than 12 people to show up.
Calling this riding for the Liberals is clearly out of date information. If this website wants to maintain its credibility, it will change its prediction if these poll numbers hold up.
| ||08 09 26
|1. Rick has been elected for 17 years – far less than the longest in Pickering’s history. In the last election, he was narrowly re-elected. This when municipal councillors are re-elected over 90% of the time|
2. Mark has been elected for 11 years – 4 of which as an M.P. He has served both Pickering and Ajax. Johnson is not known in Ajax and it makes up more than 60% of the riding. Pickering was won by the Liberals in the last election by more than 60% - the Pickering portion isn’t in play.
3. The Muslim community has a long relationship with Mark in the riding. I was at their Iftar event last week which was larger than the one held at the Masque. In the one time Rick went to our Masque, he called it a temple.
4. Conservative posters should think before trying to smear or attack with lies. Rick is not someone who would want a debate on personal failings or misdeeds.
5. The NDP only just added a candidate and is nowhere to be seen. This is in contrast to a very strong candidate they had in the last election who was everywhere.
6. Rick is being out signed 4 to 1 in Ajax.
Both provincially and federally, this riding out performs the provincial numbers by a good margin. Take the provincial numbers and add 9 for the Liberals here and subtract 2 for the Conservatives (last election, it was +11 and -2. An interesting CP candidate last time accounted for some of the deviation but the loss of an NDP presence, Mark being better known and massive growth in north Ajax makes up most, if not all of it back up). Add it up, and this race isn’t close.
| ||08 09 23
|Johnson is the longest serving politician in Pickering history - 20 years - and has been representing the riding since Holland was in elementary school. Clearly, he must be doing something right if folks in Pickering keep electing him. Moreover, he is the only candidate who has consistently opposed the Liberal-promoted Pickering airport, a multi-billion dollar boondoggle in the making. Finally, Holland's in trouble with the Muslim community over his failure to attend the grand opening of the mosque and with women in the riding over his ‘marital’ issues. This one will be close but, if the Conservatives increase the province-wide vote by 10%, Ajax Pickering will be carried along with the tide.|
| ||08 09 21
|I love the name of the candidate the Green Party nominated for Ajax-Pickering; Mike Harilaid. Strikingly close to Mark Holland. I guess the Green Party is hoping some voters forget their glasses when heading into the voting booth to look at that ballot.|
| ||08 09 16
|Went out canvassing for Johnson on weekend and response was great in ajax part of riding. It was my understanding Thomas last time screwed up big time and the Con HQ told him to hide out in last 10 days so the results are not telling. Not sure of final results but it will be much closer.|
| ||08 09 14
|Things have changed a lot here since my previous posts. First off the conservatives found a new candidate Rick Johnson who replaced the previous one. He should do much better than Rondo Thomas did in 06 election. Second is national and even Ontario trends have surprising moved heavily towards the conservatives during the first week of the campaign. This makes things difficult for a liberal mp in the suburbs like Mark Hollands as the durham area usually goes blue when the conservatives lead by such margins. As was the case in previous federal or provincial elections when the conservatives did very well in Ontario. But Mark Hollands does still hold the incumbent advantage here and ndp is late in finding a candidate from what I see.|
| ||08 09 13
||Former Pickering Resident|
|Even if EVERY person in the north voted Johnson, that only makes up about 10% of the riding, and will not lead him to victory. And as far as the ‘living in the riding’ thing, this riding has changed boundaries like twice in the last decade, and the leaders of probably all the parties, but for sure the Conservatives, (Harper lives about a half hour drive from ‘his’ riding) don't live in the riding. As far as I know, Mark has lived in the Pickering/Ajax area his whole life, and will again represent the fine people of Ajax/Pickering. Prediction: a five digit victory for Holland.|
| ||08 09 12
|Not so fast for Holland. He has been a big thorn in the side of the Conservatives for a while. They will bring the full force of their resources to bear against Holland. He is as ambitious as they come , a spotlight hogging guy, not unlike Gas Man McTeague. |
Rick is huge in the north part of this riding and will ride the Tory tide to victory.
| ||08 09 11
||Former Pickering Resident|
|I wondered when Rick Johnson would finally give this a shot. As someone said earlier if the Conservatives got a big name, they might stand a chance, unfortunately, they didn't. The longtime, past his prime, Regional Councillor just won't cut it against the polished and well-performing Holland. Rick is a good guy, but not MP calibre. And why does the NDP not even have a candidate yet? Modeste has been a solid candidate in the past, but they've had no luck here, and will continue that tradition. This is one of the ridings where voters choose a candidate, not a leader, and Mark has shown himself to be a hard-working, affable, and bright young star in Ottawa. His stock will continue to rise after this election, especially after a nationwide loss under the hands of the soon-to-be former leader of the Liberal party.|
| ||08 04 23
|Just as a clarification, Kevin Modeste isn't running for the NDP. |
| ||08 04 14
|I think this will stay Liberal unless the conservatives can pull a big name candidate here (i.e Jim Flarety or maybe Ajax Mayor Steve Parish) i think if they get a high profile candidate they may have a chance... theres been alot of speculation that Parish is attempting to run federally but i guess well see in the next few months... the NDP have chosen Kevin Modeste to run again and the greens will probly nominate a unknown candidate like normal... if the greens & NDP can manage to get good candidates then they will pull some votes away from the liberals but its very doubtful.... like i said liberal win|
| ||08 04 04
|Guess Steve Gilchrist did decide to not run here as his website and online pages are both gone. Although I cannot find any news articles saying when this happened or why he decided to do this. But Im not one to speculate. Either way the conservatives will find a new candidate here. Mean this is a durham region riding so I am sure there is interest. But if they cannot find another candidate of some profile or appeal it will stay where it is.|
| ||08 03 28
|Steve Gilchrist has stepped down as the candidate and left the country entirely, he's not even on the continent anymore. The prospect of facing Mark Holland in an election is just THAT scary! Ajax-Pickering Cons now scrambling to find a replacement among the remains of their organization (and I use the term organization loosely when describing local crew)|
| ||08 03 28
|Binriso?s allegations against conseravtive candidate Steve Gilchrist are way out of line but not surprising. but I don?t think the conservatives would of let him run for the party if they were true. And his time at queens park is useful political experience in my view, the voters here should be glad they get to choose from 2 very experienced and well known politicians.|
| ||08 03 23
|Another ex-Harris PC trying to make a comeback. Another ex-Harris PC going to lose. Not to mention this one has somewhat of a criminal past.|
| ||08 01 30
|There is absolutely no conceivable way that Steve Gilchrist will swing 10,000 votes, especially with the Liberals polling at or above their results last election. Holland's an energetic rising star in the Liberal caucus, and the riding is becoming more like Scarborough every election -- a lock for the Liberals.|
| ||08 01 29
|From reading the comments from last election the liberal mp had an easy re-election and Rondo Thomas ran into trouble and maybe wasn’t good fit for this riding. So the next election will be more interesting I suspect. As conservatives have a new candidate former mpp Steve Gilchrist, and as durham area has still been good to Ontario pc’s that wouldn’t be a problem , maybe even more of an advantage look to whitby riding as an example. But Mark Hollands still has considerable support here and it will be a close race , no prediction until much closer to election.|
| ||08 01 21
|This one'll be close but Gilchrist'll take this one. In the past, Holland's ran on Paul Martin's coattails, Dion doesn't have the influence that Martin had. Holland's got good organization, but his attitude along with a not so strong leader'll sink him.|
| ||07 12 17
|I think that this one will be close. Gilchrist is a strong candidate and could possibly beat holland. everyone considers this a ‘safe’ riding for the liberals but if holland gets to confident and gilchrist is campaign then it may be an upset... i think it will be a conservative win|
| ||07 07 22
||Also living in Ajax|
|I think you are going to see people driving great distances to see the debates between Mark Holland and Steve Gilchrist. They could be lively affairs. Holland seems to be muted by his party after his disaster of a trip out to Western Canada and his troubles on the home front. The airport should not be an issue as both candidates are strongly opposed even though it has taken Holland some time to get to that point since his days on Pickering council when he was all for it. Both candidates are going to have to prove to the electorate that they can understand and respond to the needs of the residents of the riding. |
The NDP have not,as yet,got a candidate, or even and organization and the Green Party seems to be hiding in the grass. The Christian Heritage Party will most likely have a candidate and they will continue to attract a small percentage of the riding which may make a difference in a close battle.
| ||07 06 15
|It is amazing how people try to re-write history. Both Steve Gilchrist, and his father, Gordon, were charged and convicted of federal and provincial tax evasion while operating a Canadian Tire store in Toronto. His father resigned his seat over the issue at the time.|
Gilchrist was also the subject of a 10-week investigation into claims that he directed government business to his personal lawyer. There was insufficient evidence to proceed with charges however Gilchrist was not returned to cabinet by Harris over the affair.
The allegations surfaced after two prominent developers complained to senior Tories that Gilchrist's personal lawyer, Peter Proszanski, offered to allow them to influence policy for a $25,000 fee.
The ensuing probe cracked open a Pandora's box of revelations about Gilchrist, including a conviction in 1984 for tax evasion, a government contract recently secured by Proszanski and an alleged conflict of interest during the minister's first term.
| ||07 05 28
|First of all Mike G. you really do have your facts all wrong. Gilchrist father was accused of tax fraud which turn out to be false. Steve Gilchrist has also lived in Ajax for a long time now. Even when he was the MPP in Scarborough. Steve is also a local TV guy.|
As someone that lives out here let me tell you Mr. Holland is not as liked as he seems to think he is.
This will be a fantastic battle since both are full of themselves and willing to say anything to get elected. But since I do think that Mr. Holland is a tiny bit scummier and has more energy he will win.
| ||07 04 10
|The previous comment is factually incorrect. |
‘During this controversy, it was also revealed that Gilchrist and his father had been fined for tax evasion in 1984, after retaining personal profit from damaged merchandise purchased by their Canadian Tire store. The Gilchrists denied any intentional wrongdoing in this matter.
Gilchrist denied the allegations, but resigned from cabinet on October 25, 1999 on the grounds that he wished to fight the allegation by the land developers. On December 22, 1999, the Ontario Provincial Police cleared him of any wrongdoing.’
| ||07 04 04
|Steve Gilchirst? The Conservatives are putting up Steve Gilchirst. Isn't he the guy that was alleged of tax evasion and tossed out of Harris' cabinet? Holland would win anyway but Gilchrist? I thought the Conservatives were running on being the party of white hats and accountability. That's not going to help their image.|
In terms of local dynamics, I am in Scarborough but Holland is even well known out here. Anyone I speak to in Ajax or Pickering knows him not just from his time as an MP but also on Council. He is very well liked locally - add with that a new national profile and this seat is very safe indeed.
Gilchirst? Why is he even out that riding anyway? Running away from those in Scarborough who know his past I guess.
| ||07 04 02
|Re the Conservatives being ‘very close’ in 2004: actually, in percentage terms, the Liberal-Conservative margin was virtually identical in 2006 and 2004 (though interestingly, the Tories lost the most ground in places they'd previously done best, like rural Pickering). By the sound of things, CPC is taking this pickup prospect much more seriously now (not that some of the rumoured contenders, like ex-MPP Steve Gilchrist, don't have their own handicaps); and with Jim Flaherty as a neighbour, no wonder. But Mark Holland's gone far and fast in proving himself to be not just another piece of 905 Grit wallpaper, and as someone who can win potentially on his own merits, rather than as part of a sweep or upon the demerits of his opponents--at the very least, it highlights a heady (albeit vulnerable) Hatfield/McCoy star-Liberal/star-Tory dynamic along the Ajax/Whitby border...|
| ||07 03 30
|I know that there will be a great deal of political insight here from many who are involved or near to the process but the one thing we all forget is that what happens at leadership campaigns and on the Hill do not register with the average voter. The vast majority of voters still have no idea who their local MP is and that includes Mark Holland. He may have a profile with Liberal Party members but that would be less than 1% of the voters in the riding. This is much different than the profile a minister carries. People vote based on national campaigns and their leaders. This is in no way a secure seat and with the recent performance of the current government I can see this riding and others in Ontario going to the Conservatives. Should be very interesting to watch but then it always is.|
| ||07 03 28
|Baring a huge Conservative surge, Mark Holland will win this easily. The thing is, the Conservatives would be very competitive here except for the fact that Holland is one of the strongest constituency MPs around, and now he has an increasingly high-profile role in the Liberal caucus. Also, people will remember Rondo Thomas' disastrous campaign from last time. So unless Janet Ecker or someone extremely high-profile runs for the Conservatives, Liberal hold.|
| ||07 03 26
|This is a much different party than 2004 or even 2006. In Ontario the Liberals are experiencing a decline that will play out in this riding. If there were the same conditions in 2004 then Soetens would have returned to office. Holland does have a profile and certainly was a factor in the leadership convention but that comes with both opportunity and risk. Dion has not done well at establishing leadership and the Liberals will most likely sit longer on the opposition benches. The right candidate in this riding could win this for the Tories and I am sure the Liberals will be watching the nomination closely. This could come down to less than 1000 votes.|
| ||07 03 24
|The Conservatives only declined here due to their poor candidate in the nutter Rondo Thomas. They were very close in the 2004 election, when they were particularly weak in Ontario. With the Conservatives now reportedly 10 points ahead in Ontario (a swing of about 20%), I think that we can say that this seat will likely go Conservative.|
| ||07 03 24
|I wouldn't call this one quite yet. Although Mark Holland is certainly the favoured, the most recent polls in Ontario and particularly the 905 belt could make this riding vulnerable. The reality is a lot will happen between now and the election so even though I think Holland will be re-elected it is a bit early to start calling this one.|
| ||07 03 22
|Mark Holland has become very well known in the past year. From the major role he played in the leadership to pounding away in the House, it's been hard to miss him. Macleans wrote of him 'With a prosecutorial zeal for parliamentary debate and a key role on Gerard Kennedy's Liberal leadership campaign, Mark Holland transformed himself from just another Ontario Liberal into one of the most talked-about opposition critics on the Hill.' He won by almost 9,000 votes last time, is locally popular and with his added profile will win with even greater ease this time around. |
| ||07 03 21
|Mark Holland is an first rate MP, and his rise in stature during the leadership campaign as the broker of the deal between Mr. Dion and Mr. Kennedy assures him of a future in the party and even a possible cabinet position. Whatever the outcome in the rest of the GTA, this riding stays Liberal Red. In 2006 Mark won by nearly 10,000 votes due to the sheer absurdity of the Conservative candidate's positions, and failure of the Conservative to show up at debates, but even when the they put forward a respectable candidate as they did in 2004, the riding still went Liberal by over 6,000 votes.|