|Progressive Conservative Party:|
|New Democratic Party:|
|Natural Law Party:|
Incumbent (old riding composition):
|Muskoka-Georgian Bay (34%):|
|Simcoe East (94%):|
Member of Parliament:
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|There will a backlash against Al McLean and all he has done over the past couple of years. This gives the liberal candidate a good chance of taking the riding.|
|Al Mclean's departure clears the one worry Tories had about this riding. It's bedrock conservative, staying PC even in the disaster of 1987. Even in a Tory collapse Simcoe North will likely return a PC member.|
|Cooking up a Tory defeat By Enzo di Matteo|
|The Tories won handily in 95 but have lost their horse up here in dairy country, former speaker Al McLean, to a sex harassment scandal. Tsk, tsk.
The furor that erupted got worse when the Tories tried to use taxpayer money to pay for McLean's and his accuser's $150,000 in legal bills.
Muskoka Tory MPP Bill Grimmett was expected to jump into the saddle but now finds himself facing a stiff challenge for the party nomination from resort operator Bruce Stanton. All this internal squabbling is wearing down Tory support.
Waiting to take on all comers is Grit candidate George MacDonald, who as Midland mayor has enough backing to make a good show of it with any effort at all from the NDP contender, Ann Billings.
|Debra Edwards, one of the three candidates for the PC nomination, said that the Liberals are well ahead in the electoral district, and that she is the PC with the best chance of getting back the seat. The Liberals have a strong lead in the western half of the region while the Tories have a slight edge in the eastern half (Al McLean's old riding). Of course, Edwards said that for her campaigning purpose. Garfield Dunlop, a former Warden of Simcoe County, is also seeking the nomination. Ironically, as County Warden he spoke about the damage caused by Harris Tories with their downloading on the municipalities.|
|Odd goings in Mariposa, thanks to one little wayward Speaker. The area does indeed have the superficial appearance of Tory bedrock (among other things, it's the home of the first Tory boot camp), but in a more peculiarly divided way than in the rest of Simcoe County. Essentially, it's Orillia and its rural surrounds staying true to its deep-blue Leacockian roots, versus the Gritty lake ports and Franco-Catholic tracts of Midland-Penetang. Al McLean won in '87 over a split opposition; Penetang went Liberal as usual, while NDP was the preferred alternative in inner-city Orillia. Otherwise, he was only half a percentage point over the PC loser in Simcoe Centre. His margin of victory was just as narrow against 1990's NDP wave, and within the present boundaries the seat would have gone Liberal in '87, NDP in '90. Weakened perhaps by the stress of the McLean debacle and a brutal nomination process, the Tories finally have their candidate, Garfield Dunlop. Given that funny provincial Liberal propensity toward having early leads go pfffft like a punctured tire, I'd watch it with current polling figures--still, they have a great anti-Tory weapon in the mayor of Midland. (On the other hand, the NDP, once a source for strong 2nd and 3rd place local finishes, seems to be a faded factor in the 90s.)|
|Another federal/prov vote correlation place with liberal roots (believe it or not). In any case the tories have a shot with their new candidate, but the candidate will really need to move to get ahead of the Liberals here.|
|The western part of this region will play a big role. The tories will have a good shot if they can distance themselves from Al Maclean, but it may not matter and they may not even take that approach.|
|George MacDonald remains a force to be reckoned with. He has a strong following in the area and is a dedicated individual. As Mayor of Midland he has provided strong leadership in the wake of Tory cuts these last several years ... a strong contender.|
|Two OPSEU locals at the Mental Health Centre at Penetanguishene, representing 750 voters at the second-largest employer in the riding, announced today that they are backing George MacDonald in Simcoe North. They opposed Harris anyway because of the ongoing dismantling of mental health care in Ontario, but recent comments by Tories Gary Carr, Norm Sterling, and Chris Hodgson that the planned super-jail at Penetang will likely be privatized have added fuel to the fire. Both locals are known within OPSEU for their fierce sense of solidarity. When they make a plan, they stick to it.|
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Last Updated 1st June 1999
© 1999 Milton Chan, University of Waterloo
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