1999 Ontario Provincial Election
Riding-by-Riding Prediction

Current Prediction:
Riding Profile:

Liberal Party:
Dan Ronen
Progressive Conservative Party:
Tina Molinari
New Democratic Party:
Nathan Rotman
Green Party:
Ruth Von Bezold

Incumbent (old riding composition):
Markham (30%):
Hon. David Tsubonchi
York Centre (25%):
Hon. Al Palladini

Member of Parliament:
Elinor Caplan

Population: 95 291
Avg Household Income 80 692
Language (Home)
English 76 610
Chinese 4 810
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Too Close
02/24/99 Toronto Star Email:
Jews singled out by Tory pollster
Pollsters working on behalf of PC candidate Molinari asked how people would feel about a candidate who was the son of a Holocaust survivor. Dan Ronen's father recently went back to Auschwitz with Chretien, and his brother Moshe is the president of the Canadian Jewish Congress.
03/25/99 Crocker Jarman Email: crockerjarman@hotmail.com
The Conservative candidate, Tina Molinari, was for many years a trustee and the chair of the York Region Roman Catholic Separate School Board. She has faced the voters of this riding successfully in the past. It seems Al Pal and his team have taken her under their wing and she has tapped in his mighty organizing and fund-raising contacts. This riding is squeezed between Al Pal's forces and the considerable Ontario PC/Tory/Reform machine in Markham. Like much of the rest of 905, this new riding should turn blue.
04/15/99 A.S. Email: adma@interlog.com
Don't be fooled by Elinor Caplan being the MP; this *ought* to be safe for the Tories. The eastern (Markham) half has always been upscale Tory blue, and except for certain neighbourhoods like Glen Shields, the western (Vaughan) half fell under the same spell in '95; furthermore, all of Thornhill would have "gone Tory" in 1990 as well as 1995. And the lack of an incumbent should normally mean little. But within this heavily Jewish constituency, everything's been reconfigured by the "Holocaust survivor" gaffe--just the thing to remind Jewish voters of why they veered away from Harris's would-be federal Reform compatriots in the first place. Now it's a marginal.
04/18/99 Mike O'Brien Email: l.obrien@nf.sympatico.ca
Tories have a strong fight with the Liberals going. Not much from the NDP. Redistribution will probably aid the tories more and give them what they need to hang on.
05/03/99 Mike Welsh Email:
With all the anger generated by their negative polling techniques, the Tories have turned Thornhill into one of the safest Liberal seats in Ontario. The Jewish community is more sensitive than any other group to the kind of tactics the Tories have used. The conservatives know that Dan Ronen is going to be tough to beat and that is why they took the chance they did. The Tories also made this a Liberal riding when they made Tina Molinari their candidate. She doesn't have a chance with the make up of this riding. I said it before and I'll say it again, this is now one of the safest Liberal ridings in Ontario
05/04/99 shecky Email:
With regard to Mr. Welsh's comments, the "make up" of the riding seems to refer to Jewish voters. Thornhill is about one-third Jewish. This explains why the PC, Liberal and Reform candidates in the '97 federal were all Jewish. However, there is considerable data to indicate that Jewish votes do not come down as a block at this point in history. This is usually the case where a Canadian minority group becomes established and "comfortable" in the Canadian polity. Jewish voters are as likely to vote with their pocketbook as any other segment of society, and this is one of the wealthiest ridings in Ontario. I have to say that it will be a close race. Mr. Ronen is well-organized, and his campaign team is motivated. But a safe Liberal seat? There are as many safe Liberal seats in the 905 belt as there are safe Tory seats in the 416 belt. That is, none. If an incumbent were running in this riding, Ronen would have no chance at all. As an "open" seat, he can make it close, though he will have to play some reasonably dirty "ethnic" politics on the doorsteps of Thornhill to do so. I have no doubt that he is willing to. But it is an inefficient ploy, as it will create some backlash -- how does one play that card without implying that Jews who vote Tory are "Uncle Toms"? In the end, Thornhill will go PC, barring an unexpectedly good performance by Dalton McGuinty that raises all Liberal boats.
05/06/99 Email:
In response to "Shecky" in the previous bit, the Jewish community are not "Uncle Tom's" to vote for a candidate because he or she is the best person to represent not only Jews in Thornhill but the entire community. It is simply a wise descision to not support the Conservatives because they use the kind of hot botten and wedge issues that divide people and turn one neighbor against another. This is why a large majority of Jewish voters in Thornhill will reject Mike Harris and his common sense revolution and elect Dan Ronen.
05/11/99 P.Kasman Email:
This riding is 35% Jewish and the Liberals have put up the son of one of the most influential Jewish leaders in Canada. I will be VERY suprised if Ronen loses. The liberals will take this riding.
05/13/99 M.S. Email:
It is evident that the individual who wrote on May 6th supporting the Liberals obviously cannot practice what he preaches. He criticizes divisive politics yet uses them himself to validate his perspective.
However it is time for a reality check. Firstly, the Markham portion we have inherited from the former David Tsubouchi constituency has been for over a decade and a half Conservative at the PROVINCIAL level. For those of you with short term memories, it was in the hands of Don Cousens, and most recently David Tsubouchi. While the other portion has been a swing area for many years, Mr. Palladini was the last member to hold this portion of the riding.
The problem with Dan Ronen is that he is boring and has done nothing for the community whatsoever. In contrast, we have a student working on behalf of the NDP which is a noble but uphill battle especially in this area. Nevertheless, Tina Molinari has worked hard throughout York Region let alone Thornhill for the better part of a decade. Examining Ronen's literature notes him as doing legal work (who cares?) and working on the Canadian Jewish Congress. But what he forgets to add is that his brother heads up the CJC right now -- conflict or nepotism --> you decide.
Regardless, Ronen is riding the coattails of Elinor Caplan who did secure the federal seat, but sometime sooner or later, Ronen will have to stand up and make some comments for himself.
It really is too bad that all 3 candidates in this area are not more visible. Ronen has been discussed, whereas Molinari simply appears to have a bad cast of characters running her show, and Rotman, while I applaud his actions, will muster little or no support. The bottom line, is that there appears to be the notion that ethnicities vote in a block. Hardly. For anyone who anticipates all Jewish voters to simply vote for a Jewish candidate is blatantly wrong. Rather, the central policies are a major factor.
As a result, Ronen's lack of visibility, his inability to speak above a monotone and lack of spirit coupled with the ambiguity and failed brokerage characteristics of the 20/20 plan will result in Ms. Molinari securing the seat, but not by a significant margin.
05/19/99 shecky Email:
My earlier posting stated that Ronen would have to be ready to play down-and-dirty ethnic politics to have a chance. I have changed my prediction from PC to "swing" on the basis of evidence that Ronen is, in fact, playing such games. Some background: For those who have forgotten, the whole polling imbroglio arose from ill-considered polling questions that asked, among other things, whether residents would be more likely to vote for a candidate who was the son of a Holocaust survivor (Ronen's father having survived Auschwitz).
Well, Ronen has made a point of canvassing the riding with his father in tow. There is no reason for this, other than to prey on the very sympathies that the poll in question was trying to guage. Apparently the polling questions, while indelicately stated, are relevant after all, and it is Ronen's tactics that make them relevant.
Moreover, Ronen and his team are deliberately misrepresenting the polling questions to voters. Ronen brings the issue up by asking "Did you hear what they did to us?" Who he implies by "us" is up to the individual mind. It could refer to his campaign team, or to all Jews. In any event, if the voter indicates that they know the background of the polling fiasco, he makes an issue out of Molinari's failure to personally apologize to him. I quote: "But she hasn't apologized to ME!" Petulant and whiny, but perhaps effective.
If the voter indicates a lack of familiarity with the background, Ronen fills them in, creatively embellishing the scandal. In fact, they lie. I have spoken to more than one Jewish voter who has come away from a conversation with Ronen believing that Molinari phoned people and told them that they should NOT vote for a Holocaust survivor. Bizarre and nonsensical, but effective.
People vote emotionally, and Ronen is playing the fear and outrage card very well. How he lives with himself after exploiting something like this in the name of his own sordid political ambition is another story. Regardless, this approach will probably intensify in the last two weeks of the campaign, and I have no doubt that it will make for a closer race than might otherwise have been the case.
05/28/99 Bruce McIntosh Email: bruce_mcintosh@hotmail.com
Your page didn't post my first comment about this riding, and everything I have seen in the past couple of weeks makes me even more convinced it's going PC. I live in the west part of the riding, the so-called "swing" portion. I watch the Ronen guys put signs up and then the next day the homeowners take them down. My next-door neighbour yanked his down, and so did the guy on the other side of him. All the PC signs on my street are still up. Ronen just put out a full-colour brochure with absolutely NO MENTION of Dalton McGuinty in it. Ronen is still playing the old string about the poll, but nobody cares. Do the math: Molinari (PC) gets 2/3, maybe 3/4 of the Italian vote, and a good chunk of the Jewish support (two guys that I know, anyway, and they seem fairly well-connected), and she's in. If your predictions are based on the comments you get from people who use terms like "wedge issues" and "hot button" I'd say you're listening to party hacks.
05/31/99 Michael S. Email:
Dan Ronen is just about the worst possible individual who could represent this prosperous area. Mr. Ronen is tagging to more interest groups than his own leader. Much like his leader he was no one's first choice but rather ran up the middle in the nomination.
Moreover, he has made the funding of Jewish schools a #1 priority. However, he omits one thing. Has his leader actually supported this idea. That's right Dan mislead the voters even further.
Tina Molinari on the other hand said she would raise it, THE MOST ANY CANDIDATE CAN LEGITIMATELY DO. She is telling the truth, but honestly understand one thing, what is the primary objective, regular schools or private ones?
Tories with a plurality.
06/01/99 lrs Email:
Tories want win here due the nre blood candidate will offer caucus at end of campaign- Tories go for rally in 905 area and the Liberals downtown McGuinty has not visited area recently- unless Liberals sweeping riding which I doubt- it would seem that conceding to Tories
06/02/99 Michael Ensley Email: mensley@rocketmail.com
Another Tory seat in the upcoming landslide. This area has some strong Tory sections that combined with the swing to the gov will carry the day.
06/02/99 Brad Nicpon Email: nicpon@execulink.com
I would *really* be surprised if Thornhill actually went liberal. Neither candidate has an advantage as an MPP incumb., but the PCs do have an advantage that this is one of the "905" effect ridings. We're talking about an average income of $80,000 here, and this is prime PC land. The fact that neither local candidate has a real record will mean that more people will be voting by party and leader and suburban 905 area = Mike Harris and PC central.

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Last Updated 2nd June 1999

© 1999 Milton Chan, University of Waterloo
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