Prediction Changed
12:19 PM 19/09/2008

Election Prediction Project

Don Valley West
Federal Election - 2007

Constituency Profile

Carmichael, John
Holliday, Catherine
Oliphant, Rob
New Democratic
Sparrow, David
Wilcock, Georgina

Hon. John Godfrey

2006 Result:
John Godfrey **
John Carmichael
David Thomas
Daphne So
Soumen Deb
Paul Barnes

Previous Prediction/result
06 Prediction/04 Result
04 Prediction/00 Result

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08 10 07 R.O.
Not really sure if the conservatives will win any seats in Toronto but if they do this one would be one of the possible. But it has been liberal for a number of years so that needs to be taken into account. John Carmichael did win polls in this riding last election and came a strong second so he is not a totally hopeless candidate. I suspect it will be a lot closer than the last election in the end now that John Godfrey is not running.
08 10 05 MH
My wife and I took a long walk that included Sutherland Drive all the way from Bayview to Glenvale. The tally: Carmichael 28, Oliphant 23; also four Green and one NDP. Of course, it's impossible to say how many (if any) Liberal supporters pulled their signs after reading about the anti-Liberal vandalism just across the riding boundary in St. Paul's a couple of days ago. Still, in the provincial election last fall, Kathleen Wynne had a slight edge in signs over John Tory along the same street.
A Conservative-supporting friend who lives in North Leaside told me two days ago that he thinks the Liberals will win DVW, but offered the thought that, if they do not, the Liberals will take no more than 35-40 seats across the country. That would be a Liberal collapse equal to 1984. I think the CPC's numbers will have to pick up before that can happen. I also think that DVW is a much closer race than in 2006. The Grits will have to depend, even more than usual, on getting the vote out in the south-eastern part of the riding if they are to win this one.
08 09 29 dls
Just briefly to respond to RedFishBlueFish and CoryFed, Canadians do not vote along class lines. A much better way to think of it is that DVW is an urban riding, where the Liberals routinely outpoll the Conservatives, and therefore even with their soft poll numbers expect the Liberals to cruise to a comfortable victory, though narrower margin... probably between 5,000 and 7,000 votes.
08 09 28 RedFish?BlueFish?
DVW may have a long Tory tradition in the past, but the Tory Party no longer does well in 'elite' districts. These ridings, like Rosedale, St Pauls, West Montreal and some parts of Vancouver used to be favourable to 'elite' Tory candidates. Recently we've seen the Tories as less competitive in these seats, as they don't attract affluent, elitist voters. Despite what some posters here think, the Tories lose here because there are too few, not too many blue collar votes.
08 09 24 Armagadon
John Tory was the leader of the Conservatives, he did not win his seat, And John Tory is a big guy. No seat is safe until the last vote is counted.
08 09 23 T Ball
Carmichael will come a close second, and the NDP and Greens will both get significantly more votes than last time, but Oliphant should be able to hold this seat. I have to disagree with the previous posting about Conservatives winning the sign war in Leaside; driving through there over the weekend I actually saw more NDP signs than Conservative! Even in my part of the riding (Bedford Park/Wanless Park) there are at least as many Liberal signs as Conservative, and that's where the Conservatives would need to be well ahead in order to win the riding.
08 09 20 CoryFef
As much as it pains me to agree with Derek, this riding is going Liberal. After witnessing John Tory burn in the last election, I will never be convinced that Don Valley West will change. The Conservative Party needs to give up on Toronto. I, a card holding member of the CPC, grew up in DVW and I know that area all too well. Despite the presence of the rich areas like York Mills, there is far too much affordable housing in that riding for the Conservatives to ever take it.
08 09 16 Derek Lipman
Marshall, Your mention of Abdul Ingar is curious. Beyond his work in religious circles, he is probably one of the most important community leaders in the riding, and has done great work for youth. In fact, Mike Harris alum John Parker's narrow victory (19%) in the municipal election robbed DVW of a potential star representative at City Hall.
It will be very difficult for Mr. Carmichael to defeat Oliphant in this riding. DVW voters in Thorncliffe, Flemingdon, and Leaside are not taken in by tacky attack ads or leadership cults.
08 09 13 Marshall Howadr Bader
This one is TCTC. There are four very strong candidates:
Carmichael - a used car salesman who ran last time and has roots in the north end of the riding.
Oliphant - a gay United Church minister who is supported by Eman Abdul Ingar and who is working hard to win.
Sparrow - a Toronto actor and VP of Actra who is also working hard to win
Wilcox - a local environmentalist who is working hard.
The Tories will do well inthe northend
The Libs will likely finish a strong second all over the riding and maybe even win Thornecliff
The NDP will do well in Flemingdon, Thorncliff and Yonge-Eglinton but not in the North end
Greens can be expected to et there national average here.
08 09 12 Bill777
I have worked in this riding on the ground in nine provincial and federal elections, and not for the Tories. It is a swing riding provincially, and has the ability to move federally. Carmichael is winning the sign war in Leaside by a good margin, and signs actually mean something there. Leaside is also a reliable bell weather of the riding. Nationally, the Liberal campaign is a mess. While the Tories have made some gaffs, they have the momentum and are way out in front in the polls and are slamming Dion to great effect. This might change if people get cold feet about Harper, but, Dion is so weak I do not think that Liberals can count on that happening this time around. From what I have seen in the riding, if the election were held today, Carmichael would win it by about 3,000 votes.
08 09 11 Stevo
Derek Lipman: Interesting dig at the Conservatives, made even moreso by the fact that the most educated province in the country - Alberta - votes Conservative en masse (and yes, Alberta actually is the most educated - feel free to look it up). DVW is closed to the Conservatives because its population consider itself part of the lefty chattering class and because the Liberal brand remains impenetrable in the GTA.
King of Kensington: Agreed, enough about the Jewish vote here.
08 09 11 MH
Recent tours through Lawrence Park and Leaside in order to evaluate the sign war have produced two findings: 1) On the basis of the signs, Lawrence Park will once again go solidly Conservative. No surprise there: the rich know whom they like and who likes them. What is a bit surprising is a bit more of a Liberal sign presence than in 2006 (still very few). The Kathleen Wynne effect? 2) Leaside seems fairly evenly divided this time, or even leaning slightly to Carmichael. Of course, it's early days yet, but while I still think this will end up in the Liberal column, the race is closer than in 2006.
08 09 11 King of Kensington
Rebel: I apologize for saying you know ?zilch? only point was using the Bridle Path polls as a measure for how an ethnic community votes.
Stevo: Can you cite any evidence of me ?jumping from thread to thread denouncing anyone...?, etc. I comment on individual races and yes, ridings have different demographics and ethnic communities. When I read that ?Jews are going to vote for Harper en masse because of Israel? (which has been suggested here many times, as anyone who posts here regularly knows) I don't think it's out of place to criticize it or suggest that it's ignorant or even border-line insulting that Jewish voters cast their votes primarily on the Israel issue. I just reread my comments in Eg-Law and Thornhill and the only comment that could be interpreted as a angrily denouncing? was what I believe to be a very uninformed post (?Jewish voters have shifted to the Tories and should remain there because of Dion's weak stance on Israel?) by a Tory activist.
Anyway, I was not the one who brought up the ?Jewish vote? in DVW in the first place.
08 09 10 Stevo
Correction to my previous posting: I meant to say that Willowdale has a fairly SMALL Jewish proportion of the population. Leaving that word out, it appeared that I was stating the opposite.
08 09 10 Derek Lipman
Stevo: While I completely agree with you on King of Kensington's bizarre fixation on the proclivities of Jewish voters, your generalization on the lack of ‘down to earth’ DVW voters deserves qualification. The assumption that a Conservative is the only down-to-earth being is not only exclusive, but it is totally false in this context.
The biggest thing in this riding is the educated constituency. Harper does better with the uneducated, and this riding has more degrees than a thermometer. Thus, he is in trouble. Furthermore, the people in Thorncliffe and Flemingdon almost never vote Conservative (and why would they, with a long history of bullying and dirty-tricks around election time in this riding). Also, there are thousands of well-informed, educated, and prosperous people in Thorncliffe and Flemingdon who trust the Liberal brand, after years of excellent representation from John Godfrey. The Conservatives will get their bedrock support in the rich enclaves of this riding, but in Leaside, the Tory formula will not fly.
08 09 10 EOsler
Easy Liberal win. If the Toronto friendly John Tory couldn't win here, there is no chance of DVW voting for one of Harper's candidates.
08 09 09 King of Kensington
Stevo: I don't doubt that the Jewish community is slightly less partisan-Liberal than it used to be. There's a simple reason: the Liberals are in very very bad shape right now and I'm sure they've lost support among virtually all demographics over the past few years. What I am taking with issue with is the claim that Jews voted Tory in big numbers in the last election. And yes, I'm also skeptical of the idea that there's a big rightwing swing I don't care if Schwartz and Reisman became Tories - we've had byelections in Outremont and Willowdale and there was no evidence of a rightwing swing. I'll accept the neocon fantasy of realignment when I see real evidence of it. Not only have Lib votes been lost to the Tories, but to the NDP (yes, Mulcair is very popular in the Montreal Jewish community) and the Greens.
But anyway this is Don Valley West and enough ink(?) has been spilled over the minority of the riding that is Jewish.
08 09 09 Gone Fishing
This is so safe a Liberal seat that the Libearl candidate may not want to get too comfortable with a constituency office because he may need to step aside for the new party leader to seek a seat in 2010 after the next leadership race.
08 09 08 Stevo
Not sure why King of Kensington feels that it is his lot in life to go from riding thread to riding thread angrily denouncing anyone who suggests that Jews are slightly less Liberal-partisan than they used to be.
Why did the Tories make no gains in Willowdale? Gee I don't know let's see...the presence of a star Liberal candidate who ran for the party's leadership, a fairly Jewish proportion of the population in Willowdale that wouldn't have made a difference anyway, the fact that Willowdale has gone Liberal by landslides since 1988 and is hardly a swing riding, and a Conservative party that more or less conceded Willowdale from the start to focus on the Quebec by-elections the same day where they had a real shot. Think those had anything to do with it?
Now, as for DVW - not as old-money as St. Paul's or Rosedale, but still upscale. It has become very trendy and granola-crunching as of late, not down-to-earth at all, which puts it out of reach of the Conservatives for the time being. The Conservatives will probably end up far closer to the Liberals in Eglinton-Lawrence (but still not win it) than they will here.
08 09 08 Derek Lipman
Tory should have run in Willowdale. That was his best chance to win a Toronto seat. He faces a mutiny in the coming years if he continues to espouse support for same-sex marriage and urban issues. His courage in the face of extremism is admirable, but he let those in the Harris mould dictate the agenda in the last campaign. As long as he continues to struggle with his political identity he will remain in the wilderness. Dalton McGuinty brushed off his loser reputation to win 2 majorities, but he was helped by the dark years and heavy-handed rule of Harris. Until McGuinty royally screws up, he will sail comfortably in Ontario.
Unless the Green party can cut into Liberal support with undecided voters, with some hard campaigning, Oliphant should win soundly. The moribund local NDP will not be a factor. Countrywide, the stakes are too high to not vote strategically against Harper. Sensible types know this.
08 09 08 King of Kensington
Rebel: While the Bridle Path may have a significant Jewish minority, my point is you can't use the Bridle Path polls to determine the ‘Jewish vote’ in DVW. There are something like 8,000 Jews in the riding and no more than 5% of them live on the Bridle Path.
Derek Lipman: John Tory lives in Rosedale. TC is one of the most anti-Conservative ridings in the country and will probably never again go Conservative. Surely DVW is a better fit (then again he could have stuck to Dufferin-Caledon!)
But anyway, the gap from last time is too large to be overcome. The GTA is a Liberal stronghold and while Godfrey's margins of victory will be cut, the Libs shouldn't have a problem hanging on to this one.
08 09 07 Derek Lipman
Interesting comments on the sign war between Oliphant and Carmichael. The gap seems to have narrowed in Leaside, with the signs about even. Furthermore, you overestimate the popularity of Stephen Harper. By pitching this campaign on the leadership traits/ability of Harper, conservatives have made a colossal error. In fact, the notion that Harper is somehow Canada's favorite son is fantasy. In Conservative media of late, the construction of Harper as a benevolent leader bears resemblence to a Soviet-style leadership cult. The ‘birthplace of Stephen Harper’ strongly repudiated his leadership on 2004 and 2006, and will likely do the same this time around. Moreover, just because a riding is affluent, does not mean that every wealthy person is Conservative. A lot of affluent types voted for Godfrey and Kathleen Wynne. The sun has set on Conservative rule in this riding, especially given the number of voters in the Thorncliffe/Flemingdon region.
The only thing really working against the Liberals in this riding is the candidacy of a prominent doctor on the Green ticket. If Wilcock succeeds on door-to-door canvasses, she could snag some undecided voters. Contrary to Jack Layton's attempt to fashion himself as a Prime Ministerial figure, the NDP will not be a factor here.
Dion is being grossly underestimated by some members of the news media. Even the Conservative-leaning scholar Michael Bliss credits Dion with saving the country on page 316 of his book ‘Right Honourable Men.’ The Reform party was abysmal in Ontario during the 1990s, and people in this province know better than to elect a party that is helmed by a former National Citizens Coalition president.
08 09 07 Derek Lipman
Kathleen Wynne, while an excellent MPP and stellar human being, clearly benefited from a huge army of volunteers. Long before the election, John Tory had trouble resonating with people in the city of Toronto. He chose not to run in his own riding, which always bothers people, and insultingly waltzed into the riding thinking he would knock off Wynne in a walk. He had (and still has) zero experience in elected government, and was facing a person who developed a reputation as a solid Education Minister. For him to lose by over 5000 votes tells me that the faith-based funding issue was only part of a much larger collection of factors which influenced Tory's demise. Though, judging by your last response, you do not seem interested in history beyond yesterday's headlines.
08 09 04 Rebel
Dear King of Kensington: I am honestly surprised with the virulence of your denunciation. To suggest that I know zilch is laughable to anyone who knows my exhaustive knowledge and interest in electoral politics (I have lovingly maintained bound copies of the poll by poll results of every federal election since...1867). What did I say? Jewish voters in Don Valley West have traditionally voted Conservative/PC (I agree it is a small enclave but that doesn't stop it from being very heavily Jewish). I said nothing about Willowdale, Saint Pauls, Eglinton-Lawrence or any other federal riding. What else did I say...there are likely not enough Jewish and Wasp voters to carry the day in 2008. Two reasonable statements that do reveal more than zilch about Don Valley West.
08 09 02 King of Kensington
It's pretty clear Rebel knows zilch about the Jewish community of Canada, which has never gone Conservative in federal elections. And as for this line about how the Jewish community is now madly in love with Harper, there is no actual evidence of this. If that's the case, why did the Tories make no gains whatsoever next door in the Willowdale byelection?
I doubt there are more than a hundred or so Jewish voters in the Bridle Path - there are very few actual voters there period - so using the Bridle Path as a measure of how the Jewish vote goes is absurd!
Derek Lipman: John Tory definitely lost a lot of ground among traditional PC voters and ?leaners? because of the religious schools issue - which became the big issue of the last provincial election! With so many very affluent suburban areas, DVW is definitely the most ?naturally? conservative riding in Toronto. The upscale, civic-minded urban liberalism represented by Kathleen Wynne is actually a much better fit for St. Paul's (which did after all reject the PCs in '99 and always voted heavily for Miller) than DVW.
08 09 02 Paul Christie
Sure its Toronto. Sure the Libs like to think that they own DVW. And I know that signs don't vote. But it sure is interesting to drive around the riding. Carmichael has Oliphant out-signed three to one -- both in Leaside and in the north by York Mills. This is an atypical riding in T.O. Very affluent. Very informed. And also Stephen Harper's birthplace. This has every prospect of being a huge upset.
08 09 01 brian
This is no contest - the Liberals will win hands down.
Even in one of the most conservative parts of the riding - lower Banbury, the Carmichael signs only slightly outnumber the Oliphant signs.
08 09 01 Derek Lipman
The notion that John Tory ‘came close’ or lost this riding only due to the faith-based flap is nebulous for the following reasons: 1) He REALLY lost because of Harris baggage and 2) the extremely strong 4 years of work put in by Kathleen Wynne.
Faith-based funding or not, Tory would have lost this riding. The Liberals had an army of volunteers who were fired up and determined to keep KW in office. This devastating loss will go down in history as the nadir of the conservative party in Ontario.
08 09 01 rebel
Dear King of Kensington...There is a substantial Jewish population in Don Valley West and historically they have voted Conservative (or PC) at the federal level. The Bridle Path is one heavily Jewish enclave that I would have in mind.
But all that being said, given recent polls there are not enough wealthy wasps and jewish voters that can tip this riding to the Conservatives. In the context of a full federal election, overall voter turnout will be healthy and the enormous Liberal margins in the east end of the riding, and their ability to win polls in Leaside and parts of Lawrence Park will overwhelm those polls that the Conservatives will win.
08 08 31 King of Kensington
Enough of this nonsense about the Jewish community leaning Tory. There was just a byelection in neighboring Willowdale in which the Jewish community had an opportunity to come out and reward Harper for his pro-Israel stance - but there was no evidence of a swing towards the Conservatives there. If the riding swings toward the Tories, that will come primarily from the traditionally Conservative WASP elite.
John Godfrey was a good fit for the riding and enjoyed some personal popularity here. John Tory came reasonably close, but the religious schools issue killed him here. DVW is the best riding for rightwing mayoral candidates as well. It is the riding in the 416 area code most likely to go Tory - which isn't saying much! But with the byelection cancelled, their chances have been diminished. This will go Liberal again, but by significantly reduced margin.
08 08 31 E. L. Smerl
Godfrey is one of the best MPs in Canada and was probably Paul Martin's most effective Cabinet Minister. Sad he was neglected during the Chretien years.
Goodwill from the Godfrey era will hold this seat for the Liberals regardless as Godfrey will campaign hard for his successor. John Tory couldn't take this seat provincially and no Harperite can take it federally.
Even a rise in NDP and Green support won't generally affect Liberal fortunes in Toronto, as Conservatives run a sad third or fourth place in many ridings.
08 08 29 Dr Bear without Prof Ape
Okay, I'm going on the assumption that Harper's gonna call a general election and the whole by-election thing is nixed. The latest two polls put the CPC at 33% compared to 36.3% in the last election and the Liberals at 34 and 35% vs 30.2% in 2006. Toronto still is a Liberal stronghold and I can not see them losing this riding (with or without Godfrey) when they are up and Torys are down vs 2006. Couple that with the supposed election date coinciding with Sukkot and I could see a number of the alleged Jews-who-now-love-the-Conservatives not voting for them (I still am not convinced that they are actually an electoral force for the CPC). Carmichael is a strong candidate and if it is a by-election then it will probably something like the Vancouver-Quadra by-election. However if it's a general election, candidates play a much smaller role and I see this being a Liberal win by several thousand votes (not Godfrey's 10K+ that ship has sailed with Godfrey's retirement).
08 08 24 Derek Lipman
The notion (as suggested by RP in his/her vapid abstraction) that the ‘Muslims’ or ‘Wealthy WASPS’ would not support Mr. Oliphant due to his sexual orientation is not an informed opinion. I speak to many people in Leaside and Thorncliffe and Flemingdon on a regular basis, and can say with certainty that such gutter politics are not a factor in this riding. It does not matter if it is Overlea or Bayview; people want a better Canada for their kids, and the vast majority care little about wedge politics. People are more concerned about the direction of this country in the context of foreign policy, and domestic issues such as health care and education. How on earth can such a sweeping generalization be taken seriously? If anything, Oliphant's devoutly religious background helps him in areas that hold a high number of religious voters.
Mr. Oliphant may not be John Godfrey, but he brings a lot to the table. His deep background in finance, and life of volunteer work in the community are solid qualifications. Mr. Carmichael is also a great candidate. He seems at home campaigning in the community, and will elevate the civility of the discourse. I maintain that Harper, Giorno, and the rest of the Reform/Social/neo-conservatives represent Mr. Carmichael's weaknesses. If he can differentiate himself from these actors, he'll make it close. Otherwise, Mr. Oliphant will bring it home for the Liberals. Also, Mr. Oliphant will benefit from the fortress Ontario Liberal machine of Ignatieff, Rae, and Kennedy...
08 08 21 MH
The election signs are beginning to go up in Leaside. Too early yet to make predictions on their basis. But it is probably not necessary to wait for that.
As for R.P.'s post on August 18, it says more about the Conservative party than about the voters of DVW. As someone else pointed out, Kathleen Wynne is openly gay, but it didn't seem to hurt her in the last provincial election. Only among the old Reform crowd does the issue still resonate, I suspect. The rest of Canada has moved on.
Some positives for the Liberals: Tony Clement's impertinent and mean-spirited remarks to the CMA a couple of days ago, the Conservatives' ham-handed attitude to sentencing, and the damage they are doing to cultural institutions, are all likely to remind many of the wealthier constituents in ridings like DVW that Tory policies are not designed to appeal to them. Their target is another audience: the ‘backwoodsmen’ -- Ronald's Wright's term for the middle-American social conservatives in the US Republican party -- who constitute the Conservative Party's core constituency. Finally, the association of the Tories with Mike Harris's discredited ‘Common Sense Revolution’ -- think Tony Clement and Jim Flaherty -- should seal the deal.
08 08 20 R.O.
During by-elections the possibility of some liberals staying home is very real and did happen in most if not all of the recent by-elections. So my mentioning it may happen here shouldn’t of been surprising. also do not think this riding is much of a test for the carbon tax green shift plan as its too affluent or low income a riding. A more middle class suburban one would be a real test but this one is not. But it could turn into more of a test of the strength of the liberal brand as there candidate is not that well known or ran before. And if say running in this same area against John Carmichael for the position of city councilor would have a tough time winning I’d suspect. But this is a federal by-election so party preferences come into play and will be a major factor in the final outcome. We must also remember the riding has a lot of conservative history even though its largely been forgotten as its been held by the liberals since 93 but before that it was not a very liberal riding at all.
08 08 20 Byron Toronto
I hate to point out the obvious, but Kathleen Wynne is also openly gay, and she won the heavily South Asian/Muslim area by HUGE margin. I think the majority of the South Asian community are more progressive and sophisticated than RP suggested below.
08 08 19 Ivan
This will be a held Liberal riding for a few reasons:
1) Strong Muslim vote (13% of the riding) will not vote Conservative given Harpers record on the middle east and Afghanistan. They will vote for either the Liberals or NDP.
2) Strong Chinese vote (10% of the riding) extremely disenchanted with Harper. I have many many many Chinese friends, and to a person they are extremely unhappy with Stephen Harper's stances on China (public criticism, non attendance of the games, and honorary citizenship to the Dalai Lama). Watch for the Chinese vote to go predominantly to the Liberals.
Look for a larger margin of victory for the Liberals this time than last
08 08 19 Rebel
11,000 votes is a very large margin. However, the Liberal strongholds that garnered most of this majority may have poor turnouts in a by-election context. Seeing turnouts as low as 20% in some recent by-elections - the Liberals may be in trouble if the polls they won overwhelmingly simply don't both to vote.
The Conservatives should get a good margin out of their strongholds (they took 25 polls in 2006). In order for them to take the riding, they must do well there and win back marginal neighbourhoods like Leaside. They also need to gain a larger edge in the Jewish polls of the riding where they run well.
08 08 19 Derek Lipman
Why on earth would Liberal voters ‘stay home’? This is really wishful thinking. The saddest thing about this riding is the lowly status of the NDP. Astonishingly, the Green Party finished ahead of the NDP in the recent provincial election, where John Tory was trounced by Kathleen Wynne. There are simply too many affluent people in this riding for the NDP to penetrate the Liberal fortress. In the fertile grounds of Thorncliffe and Flemingdon, the NDP is not even discussed unless Tamil Dave Thomas runs, in which case he splits the vote along religious lines with Islamic-backed Liberal candidates.
While the Chretien years were nothing short of dismal in terms of substantive policy (notwithstanding the PM's decision to stay out of the Iraq morass), Godfrey achieved far more than any Conservative did during the sleazy Mulroney years. Godfrey provided real leadership and was an ambassador to cities.
It is unfortunate that Mr. Carmichael will be judged solely on the egregious policies of his leader and the dominant Reform/Alliance, but he is running on their ticket. If this were a PC/Liberal matchup, with a Reform party candidate running, a PC Carmichael would have a legitimate shot. The ideological line of the Reform/Alliance simply does not register with the majority of Ontarians. Even in a tony riding like this one, people are cool to far-right social conservatism and National Citizens' Coalition-style rhetoric. Stephen Harper's government is declining by the day. The recent counter-scientific comments from Tony Clement apropos needle exchange/harm reduction confirm that this government is not interested in charting a middle course.
08 08 18 MadCaper
Although the Tories did manage to just about steal Vancouver Quadra from the Liberals, Vancouver is not Toronto and it will be much more difficult for the Tories to erase a lead as large as the present one. The Liberals candidate Rob Oliphant is not a John Godfrey, but, he is not weak enough for the Liberal vote to collapse completely, although it will take a beating. The Tory candidate John Carmichael is a good candidate but would need to take all the Liberal votes that are lost and that is just not going to happen. The N.D.P. and Greens will both increase their percentage of the vote and although it will not mean anything in their final outcome it could be enough to cause the Tories to fall short in their effort.
08 08 18 MH
Given that the Tories have made no significant gains in public opinion since the last general election, that they are dead in the water throughout Toronto, that the Liberals have held this constituency since 1993, and that in the provincial election last fall Kathleen Wynne beat John Tory here with an ease that certainly surprised me, it is difficult to see how this seat will go anything but Liberal.
08 08 18 JKY
The Libs could run a dead goat in DVW and win by 3000 votes. Anybody who thinks the ‘rich’ vote for the Conservatives should probably check out the demographics a little more closely. Historically the elite vote Liberal in Canada.
08 08 18 RP
The Muslim voter-turnout will be significantly depressed partly because, as mentioned by another poster, the election is held during Ramadan. But more importantly, they will stay home or even vote Conservative because the Liberal candidate is openly gay. It was a major strategic error on the Liberals’ part to nominate a gay man in a riding where they rely on the Muslim votes to win.
This factor will even affect the WASP votes. WASPs in Don Valley West are quite different from the young condo dwellers in downtown. They are the older wealthy elites with big houses; many of them still have issues with the gay thing.
Carmichael, a straight married late-middle age white man with business credentials, is an ideal Conservative candidate for this riding. The reason he lost before was because he was up against John Godfrey, another straight married late-middle age white man with business credentials.
08 08 17 R.O.
A by-election has just been called for this riding and to be honest I’m somewhat surprised that one has been called especially in liberal friendly Toronto and it did not have to be called so soon. Although I do think John Carmichael is a good candidate for the conservatives and his experience from running in the last election will help. Its going to be an interesting by-election and each party is sure to focus considerable resources here. Liberal Rob Oliphant is not a particularly strong candidate when compared to the other liberals who held this seat like Kathleen Wynne. Conservatives are no doubt hoping that a lot of liberals stay home and that there able to somehow shrink a considerable liberal lead like they did in Vancouver quadra.
08 08 17
the pm has called the by election for sept 22nd. the guelph by election will be a good gage for predicting don valley west, imo it is a much closer race than many liberals would like to believe...don't trust opinion polls of people who arn't paying close attention. people will pay attention during by elections.
08 08 17 T.V.
Godfrey won by 11,000 votes. You can hardly limit that to muslim voters in Thorncliffe Park. He won virtually every poll. Jewish residents hardly all lean Conservative, especially outside Thornhill. Heavily Jewish areas like York Centre and Eglinton Lawrence are some of the safest Liberal seats in the country.
08 08 14 EP
If the Conservatives are serious about focusing their resources in one riding to win a symbolic beachhead in the 416 area (which they did not do in Willowdale), a by-election call now would make a great deal of sense. Both Godfrey and Wynne won the riding on the South Asian votes in Thorncliffe Park. A writ this week or next would yield an election day that falls smack in the middle of Ramadan, which will no doubt depress the solidly Liberal Muslim votes. Though it should be noted that a call next week will also run into Rosh Hashanah, which might affect the Conservative leaning Jewish votes.
08 08 13 Hill Observer
There are clear signs that the byelection call in Don Valley West is imminent. John Carmichael has been purchasing city wide radio ads on 680 and 1010. The frequency of these ads is such that you cannot possibly miss it if you spend anytime stuck in traffic. As reported by various blogs, a number of Conservative ministerial aides from Ottawa have been dispatch to spend a couple of week of holiday helping out the campaign, while various Liberal ministerial staff from Queen’s Park has also been keeping busy after work pounding pavement in the riding. And then there is the email from Carmichael team urging people to show up to the campaign office this Saturday for a special blitz. How many more signs do you need?
08 08 11 Derek Lipman
There are a couple of glaring inaccuracies which have floated on this board and deserve serious qualification. Firstly, the Conservative Party did NOT ‘win’ Quebec in 2006. Whomever believes this subscribes to counterfactual websites, or has absolutely no grasp of statistics. The Bloc handily won Quebec in 2006 and there is no disputing this fact. The CPC finished a distant second over the sponsorship-plagued Liberals.
Secondly, the notion that Turnbull lost a ‘tough’ campaign to Godfrey (or Wynne for that matter, and that John Tory sans ‘faith-based’ would win, is complete tomfoolery. Turnbull was absolutely decimated by Godfrey, and Tory underestimated Wynne's popularity; the education minister had upwards of a thousand unpaid volunteers.
Thirdly, Harper has his own problems. Much has been made about Dion's lack of leadership capabilities. This media-constructed ruse is beginning to fade. The real leadership problem is squarely located within the PMO. Polls continually show Harper's popularity at a LOWER level than the numbers for Dion.
If one judges previous campaign data and provincial trends, it would be nonsensical to pick this riding for the Conservatives. This is not to say the Liberal party is a sure-thing in 905 ridings. In this specific context, a Liberal loss would be nothing short of shocking.
08 03 29 R.O.
Not sure i would bet the next election on 2 low turnout by-elections which featured high profile liberal candidates. The race in don valley west will be different I suspect as the riding is not the same as other Toronto ridings its also very affluent and more of a traditional feel to this riding. Well John Godfrey managed to hold this riding as a liberal for a number of years it to me is one of the least liberal ridings in Toronto. Its been the home riding of a few big names like city councilor Jane Pitfield who ran for mayor last municipal election and had a pc mpp David Turnbull who was a cabinet minister back in the late 90s. but he did try a federal run here in 2004 and lost but that was a tough election and cpc was sort of new in Ontario and some voters not familiar with the party. It was also the riding of John Tory who I suspect if he had not introduced faith based funding idea would of easily won this seat in the last provincial election. But I admit its a little to early to say what will happen here. I'd give liberals a slim advantage but a strong local conservative campaign combined with dion?s troubles could make it interesting.
08 03 18 binriso
The only half-decent barometer on how the CPC are doing in the GTA (better than opinion polls by far even though the by-elections had like 30% turnout) is the by-elections in Toronto Center and Willowdale and the CPC didn?t do well at all. Now I know, star candidates for the Liberals and all that but their vote % was about the same in Willowdale and way down in Toronto Center. There has also been a lot of talk I?ve heard about Stephane Dion is ?not a leader? and that Harper was going to beat him down to John Turner levels. Hed need to crack the 416 big time for that (like 5-10 seats) Doesn?t look like that?s going to happen. That cant look good at all for them in the 416 and yes, they?re not going to win any seats here in the next election, or in this by-election either. Another thing is that pretty much 80%(or more in many cases) of the electorate in any riding is pre-set in their vote and will never change it because of tradition, ideology or whatnot. This essentially gives every party a decent base and makes any major shift in seats nearly impossible, unless theres going to be a new Progressive Conservative or Reform Party to split the votes.
08 03 17 Peg Leg Pete
Come on folks! Don Valley West is such a no brainer for the Liberals that timid Bear and Ape have even called this one an easy win for the Libs. There are a lot of Bay Street types who live in this riding and they get pretty hot when the hothead federal Minister of Finance tells the world not to invest any capital in Ontario. With the stock market all over the place these days, comments like that don't help anyone who works on Bay Street. The Liberals won this riding by 11,000 votes last time. If it ends up being a by-election then that number will be reduced simply because voter turnouts are always lower in that situation. So I'll predict if it's a by-election the Liberals win by 8500 votes and in a general election the Libs win by 13000 votes. The federal Conservatives will not win a seat in Toronto, as usual.
08 03 14 R.O.
Well it helps the liberals that there is not going to be a parachute candidate in this riding, had looked like one of the defeated ones from the waterfront ridings was going to run here. But its still one of the closer Toronto ridings, the fact that John Tory was not able to win here during the Ontario election hurts the cpc?s chances. Although they still have a good candidate in John Carmichael. An odd thing that hurt Tory here was that the ndp ran so low and didn?t even try, so that could be a factor again. As for the new liberal candidate he seems ok but not as high profile as the mpp or previous mp of this riding. So one of the more interesting races in the sea of liberal red that is Toronto.
08 03 13
I disagree with Binrisio. It is irresponsible of him/her to dismiss to CPC in Metro Toronto. Some of the outer seats are actually winnable by the Conservatives. If they win a majority government, I would not be surprised if they won 1 or 2 seats here, like how Anne Mclennan won her seat in Alberta during Liberal-majority days.
I mean who thought the Tories would win in Quebec in 2006?
I didn't.
08 03 12 Dr Bear & Prof Ape
You're right about one thing in your prediction Ancastarian: your going to be receiving a lot of criticism (don't take it to heart, normally we find your predictions reasonable and well thought out). The Tory numbers may be ‘good’ in Ontario but they're not THAT GOOD...yet. The way we see it, they'll have to do a lot better, even in an open seat such as this, to pick up anything in Toronto. Under the assumption that the Torys finally make a connection with the major urban centers and under the assumption that this is still an open seat at that time and under the assumption that they still have a strong candidate, then maybe (and we'll concede that it would be a good maybe) will they take it. Tory numbers may be stronger in Toronto than the NDP numbers but the NDP vote in Toronto is much more efficient, concentrated in a few key ridings, whereas the Tory vote is diffused all over the place. So unless some significant changes in favor of the Torys occur, we'll keep seeing the usual array of ridiculous Tory predictions (there has been a rash of them lately) and come election day the Liberals will keep their stranglehold on Toronto.
08 03 10 binriso
Theres no way the CPC are winning a Metro Toronto seat (of the ones listed on this site as Metro Toronto). End of Story.
08 03 11 Ancastarian
Ok Ok...I know I will probably receive lot of criticism for this, but as long as the Tories continue to have good numbers in Ontario, I feel they will probably pick up one or two in Toronto. If they do, there is a good chance this will be one of them. The Tories consistently place higher than the NDP in Toronto, yet the NDP comes out with seats and they do not. As Conservative numbers pick up province-wide, the odds are they'll probably get a Toronto Seat. Additionally, the conservative Candidate, Carmichael, from what friends I have in the riding tell me, has a strong local base as well as strong roots in the area. Maybe its just enough to make it interesting!
08 02 28 Joan Watz
Deborah Coyne has dropped out and is now supporting Rob Oliphant.
08 02 25 T.V.
Wait... Too close to call? There's absolutely no way. 95% of the seats in the country are TCTC if an 11,000 vote margin is close. Godfrey didn't swing that many people. Coyne will likely win the nomination, and easily win the riding. She'll get good press, and she ran a very strong campaign against Layton last time, despite the lost cause. She'll make a strong MP.
08 02 17 RP
I think Sam Bulte, Rob Oliphant and Mohammed Ijaz can all be strong enough candidates to hold the seat for the Liberals, as long as Liberal fortune remains where they are now in 416. Mark Warner decided not to seek the Liberal nomination in the end. (More like he realized that no one in the Liberal establishment was willing to help some guy that just wandered in two minutes ago winning a safe seat.)
Bulte may have a small network in this particular riding, but she is an old political pro who knows how to organize a campaign. Her old team in Parkdale is easily transferable within the city. Many Parkdale Liberals have no interest in working for Gerrard Kennedy, and would be happy to drive the 15 minutes up to campaign for Bulte.
Rob Oliphant’s United Church is a block away from the riding and a good chunk of the congregation lives in the riding. Being a United Church minister in the area means he would have contacts with many service agencies and community organization in the riding.
Mohammed Ijaz probably has most political roots in the riding, as he is the only one who has campaigned for Liberal candidates in the riding in all three levels in the past few years. As a young immigrant professional he can hold on to the Liberal vote in the lower income area and be appealing to the wealthy WASPs.
Carmichael’s best hope in this is to have Deborah Coyne winning the nomination. Coyne hardly had a team with her in Danforth and after leaving them in serious debt, the Danforth folks are probably unwilling to come up and help her. Her recent accusations against fellow liberals in the media show that she is neither a smart political operative nor a team player. Antagonizing two of your major competitions in a six-seven people field is hardly smart second-ballot strategy. With her readiness to whine to the media (and cart out her love child with Trudeau to score sensational points), the party establishment will see her as more of a liability than an asset, and thus unwilling to devote resources to her.
08 02 17 R.O.
Some like me are wondering if this riding is now too close to call, since longtime liberal mp John Godfrey announced that he will not be seeking re-election. This has lead to a somewhat odd field of liberal candidates from other ridings to come to this riding looking for the liberal nomination. ( those being Deborah Coyle who already had a liberal nomination but decided to not run against Jack Layton in Toronto Danforth, Sarmite Bulte who lost her seat in Parkdale – Highpark and couldn’t run there since Gerard Kennedy is and Mark Warner who was cut as conservative candidate in Toronto Centre.) neither of those 3 have much roots to this riding and only view it as a safe liberal riding and 2 others are also running for nomination including Rob Oliphant. whoever wins nomination or gets it given to them by dion will have to face previous conservative candidate John Carmichael. Well I’m not predicting cpc to win anything in 416 yet, they are still competitive here and running some strong candidates.
08 01 24 Don't Tase Me, Bro!
So I hear that Mark Warner and Sam Bulte are vying for the nomination now that John Godfrey has decided to step down. Seems like we've got a miniature version of Hillary vs Obama going on in DVW
08 01 06 King of Kensington
Why is Dion as ‘Euro-style leftist’? Because he has a French passport?
Despite the troubles facing the Liberals I still can't see any Tory pickups in the 416 area code.
John Godfrey has expressed support for Mark Warner running in DVW. He would be a very good fit for this affluent riding. Unless the Tories have some star candidate(John Tory bolting for federal politics? Stephen Harper himself deciding to return to Leaside?) I can't see them taking this.
07 12 23 Dr Bear & Prof Ape
What evidence is there of a Dion implosion? Wouldn't there be such evidence already if one was immanant? The thing with Dion's numbers is that they haven't really changed much despite the Tory's throwing everything at him. Sure Dion isn't winning any popularity contests, but the polls indicate he isn't crashing and burning. What the polls do tell is that the Liberals still dominate urban Canada, especially Toronto. With numbers like that, this riding isn't going anywhere but red. We believe you when you say that you have heard people say they fear a Euro-style leftists, but what you should really ask yourself is this: do the people I talk to think like me? Are they family, friends, neighbours, which all tend to be like minded? Very often the answer is ‘yes’ and this can give the false impression that the entire world shares the same opinion. This is not to be dismissive, this is something we should all keep in mind when we talk to people to get a ‘pulse’ on a riding.
07 12 12 F Macdonald
Asif - Forest Hill is actually located in St. Paul's. Don Valley West contains similar neighbourhoods like Leaside, Lawrence Park and the Bridle Path, all hotbeds of Conservative support that were cautious of Harper in 2006 but now fully support him. John Carmichael has been nominated again, and with one difficult election's experience under his belt, will prove a formidable candidate. John Godfrey was essentially a North Toronto prototype candidate (much like John Tory, before the school issue lost him the seat). With him gone, this race is wide open. The reason I call it for the Cons is that I live in the area, talk to the people, and know that while they may not worship Harper, they truly do fear a Euro-style leftist like Dion. Carmichael has deep roots in the riding, was well-liked in the last election, and since he has the best shot of any Tories in Toronto, will be getting a huge amount of support from the top-level campaign people.
Expect a close race with Carmichael pulling it out with Harper in majority numbers after a Dion implosion.
07 12 02 Dr Bear & Prof Ape
We don't really think (at the moment) that this will go to the Conservatives, however we need to acknowledge that it will be a much closer race this time. Like Daniel said below, it is akin to Vancouver Quadra. Lets see who the Liberals and CPC can come up with, however based on similar ridings we would have to say Liberal hold.
07 11 28 seasaw
If John Godfrey was running in this riding, the CPC would've had absolutely no chance, but he decided to retire. The CPC can take this one with a good candidate, coupled with a weak Liberal candidate. Dion's weak leadership, may attract either a weak Liberal candidate or a very strong one with leadership aspirations of his/her own. This is probably the only riding in Toronto, where CPC has an outside chance.
Date 07 Daniel
Well, Godfrey has announced that he's resigning his seat to become headmaster of the Toronto French School. I'm not sure if that warrants a 'too close to call' designation here, but if Vancouver Quadra falls into that category, why not Don Valley West?
I'm pretty sure the Liberals can win both of those races, but the absence of Godfrey certainly gives the Conservatives a lot more wiggle room here. Maybe this poses another chance for John Tory to get elected to something? ;)
07 10 14 atif rashid khan
John Godfrey, is a political heavyweight within the Liberal Party of Canada. He has been a minister within previous liberal governments, and continuously has held onto this seat, even in tough times. Look at 2006, considered to be a collapse of the Liberal vote, he handily won this seat. Furthermore, Kathlyne Wynn'es victory in this riding in the provincial election should definitely help Godfrey increase his vote total. The large number of apartment buildings within this riding will outnumber the votes that come from Forest hill. Godfrey will definitely win this. !!!
07 09 18 Nick J Boragina
Even with an elected MPP and Premier John Tory and Jane Pitfield (even if she had become Mayor) campaigning for Harper in his childhood home to the entire news media, this riding would still be only borderline TCTC. Whatever it might do provincially or municipally, this is a Federal riding in a Federal election we are talking about, and Federally the CPC is very weak within Toronto city limits. While this riding may become a target for the CPC if they start to poll within Majority range, for now it’s just another Liberal lock.
07 08 02 Dr Bear & Prof Ape
John Tory has only a 3600 vote margin to overcome from the last provincial election. The CPC has almost 11,000 votes to overcome. That is a heck-of-a-lot voters they need to sway! Not to mention the provincial conservatives are up in the provincial race while the federal conservatives are down relative to the last election (why can't people see this plain and simple fact?!?!?!). There is no way that a party that is down in the polls is going to take a riding that they lost by 11,000 votes when the incumbent is well established. We really don't think that the CPC are as nieve as some of the people posting to this site. The CPC will be not be wasting time and energy on DVW, Willowdale or St Paul's when some of their current ridings are vulnerable and other Liberal ridings in the 905 are winnable. Makes absolutly no sense at all!
07 07 29 RF
John Tory has an impressive Tory infrastructure built up here, and look for the federal Tories to utilise this built up infrastructure to win this seat - perhaps their only seat in Toronto.
07 05 27 King of Kensington
As others have pointed out, Don Valley West is among the most small-c conservative ridings in 416. However John Godfrey is very well established and respected as MP and isn't going anywhere. Still unlike St. Paul - which like the Upper East Side of Manhattan and West Los Angeles has become a fortress of affluent urban liberalism and now completely rejects small-c conservative parties - I can see this riding which is more nouveau-riche in character (my guess is that 2/3 Tory poll is in the Bridle Path area) going Tory under the right circumstances. However the Conservatives need to run a strong candidate and campaign. David Turnbull was a Harris Tory who only got elected provincially because of his party label; John Carmichael also has a low profile. I also expect John Tory to win here in the fall.
07 04 12 A.S.
If it were an open seat, DVW be much more surface-clear as a toss-up--affluence, John Tory, Jane Pitfield, and Harper's Leaside childhood. Also keep in mind that this one-time ‘safest Tory seat in Toronto’ gave Godfrey a nearly 60% quotient in '04--higher than neighbouring DVE!--but he sunk down to 53% in '06, back below DVE, with the biggest net ground lost in the most affluent/middle-class zones. At this rate, there'd have to be a more decisive 416 swing t/w CPC for this to be truly and clearly in danger. Remember, too, that a lot of the old ‘safest Tory’ advantage has been lost or diminished through redistribution, now that both Throncliffe and Flemingdon are part of the picture--a reverse of how Eglinton-Lawrence suddenly became more Tory-friendly once it swallowed up North Toronto. For now, I'll still hand it to Godfrey--unfortunately for opponents, he shares a ‘holy Midtown Grit’ cast with Carolyn Bennett--but things could definitely be in flux...
07 04 05 G. Kennedy (not that one)
Godfrey IS running again; he was introduced last night at a function for the Toronto candidates. Given his popularity, margin of victory from last time and the fact that this is in the Liberal bastion of Toronto, I'm confident he'll win.
All that said, it must be conceded that, as St. Paul's Progressive has already pointed out, this is the most small-c conservative riding in Toronto (with the arguable exception of Etobicoke-Lakeshore). And I expect John Tory to win it in the fall. But even so, Toronto seems deadset against Stephen Harper so it would take a MASSIVE swing to swap this.
07 04 03 St. Paul's Progressive
Along with Etobicoke Centre and Lakeshore, this is the most small-c conservative riding in the 416. It is among the wealthiest in Canada and compared to Toronto as a whole, is more WASP. The Don Valley West wards were the only two won by Jane Pitfield in the last mayoral election and John Tory's biggest win was in Ward 25. It is a good riding for Tory and I suspect it will go Conservative provincially. Federally however John Godfrey is a highly respected MP and Toronto has never warmed to the Tories and even if he retires I'll give an edge to the Liberals. I expect the Conservatives to get at best around 40% of the vote here.
07 04 02
This is an easy win for the liberals. even if Godfrey does not run this is in the bag for the Liberals. This is too close to downtown and too ethnically diverse for the conservatives to win. Liberal Hold!
07 03 30 Dr Bear & Prof Ape
Is Godfrey even going to run again? Recall his unspecified health concerns for dropping out of the leadership race. Well if he's in or not, the Liberals will keep it. We say a 10K+ lead if Godfrey's in and a 5K+ lead if Godfrey's out.
07 03 30 Angry Ontarian
Don Valley West should be 'too close to call' for now. If I'm correct, John Godfrey isn't seeking re-election, citing health concerns. He was extremely popular here. And since the last election, Ontario PC leader John Tory has announced he will run in this riding. That means increased Tory organization exists locally. Now Harper has gained popularity in the 905, enough to take several more seats there. If that urban support bleeds into the 416, DVW could turn blue. But too early to tell.
07 03 29 M. Lunn
A very affluent riding so naturally would seem like a Tory target, but John Godfrey is well liked amongst his constituents and in addition it is really too urban to go Conservative. Even the rich here still frequently see the need for some government involvement in dealing with the less fortunate unlike say in the outer lying suburbs where the only time they spend in the city is during work hours. That being said, ironically the Conservatives did get over 2/3 of the popular vote in one poll, which was their best poll in Toronto, but on the whole this is still a Liberal riding.

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