1999 Ontario Provincial Election
Riding-by-Riding Prediction
Kingston and the Islands

Current Prediction:
Riding Profile:

Liberal Party:
John Gerretsen MPP
Progressive Conservative Party:
Bob Pickering
New Democratic Party:
Beth Pater
Green Party:
Chris Walker
Family Coalition Party:
Chris Beneteau
Natural Law Party:
Gerard Morris

Incumbent (old riding composition):
Kingston & The Islands (100%):
John Gerretsen
Frontenac-Addington (54%):
Bill Vankoughnet

Member of Parliament:
Peter Milliken

Surrounding Ridings

Population: 106 780
Avg Household Income 46 458
Language (Home)
English 97 170
Submitted Information
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02/21/99 Email:
Incumbunt John Gerretsen is a popular former mayor. Kingston has been hit hard by the Tory cuts, is largely a public service town and has one of the highest welfare rates in Ontario. Tories seem to have been unable to attract a high profile candidate (current mayor Gary Bennett has turned them down) and Gerretsen has had a high local profile as an MPP. He should be easily re-elected
02/23/99 Email:
But Beth Pater is an exciting and dynamic candidate for the NDP and she's been working hard since her nomination. She could well surprise.
02/26/99 Andrew Smith Email: 4adas@qlink.queensu.ca
John Gerretsen will win this riding handily. The former mayor of Kingston, he is popular and his sincerity is respected. The riding is being expanded to include part of Bill Vankoughnet's old riding. He is shifting to a new riding away from the city, but I don't think that people in the area of his riding he is leaving behind will have found memories of the Tory party. Especially women voters.
Too Close
03/09/99 A. Email:
JGerretsen would seem to be the natural favourite, but don't count out New Democrat Beth Pater. She is said to be a very strong candidate who could take this bellwether riding. I don't know who the Tory candidate will be, but they traditionally run a strong campaign here too. It could go any way.
04/14/99 Andrew Drummond Email:
Though I now attend the University of Waterloo, I had lived in Kingston for all 19 years previous. John Gerretsen is a very respected former mayor of the city and will not be defeated this time. I remember hearing the name of the Conservative candidate, and he is not well known in the community at all. The NDP got lucky in the sweep of 1990, but came third in 1995, and will almost certainly do so again in 1999. As well, the city has had a popular hospital close, is sympathetic to the plight of the teachers, and is not incredibly conservative. There is also an extremely high unemployment rate in the city that will also lead to less Harris votes. Look to see Gerretsen increase his plurality in the ridng, with the conservative a mild second, and the NDP candidate coming a mediocre third.
04/14/99 A.L. Email: 3arb@qlink.queensu.ca
Beth Pater has been working very hard since winning the nomination. The candidate and her workers have been distributing literature, door to door for weeks, she's been in the local media a lot and has helped repair the local NDP's relationship with labour. The Tories are very unpopular in Kingston (a large civil service town and also the largest recepient of welfare per capita in the province) and they could well come in third. Blue collar conservatives dissatisfied with Harris' anti-labour legislation will be tempted to go back to the NDP. Also, this is a Steelworkers town rather than CAW so Hargrove style "tactical voting" will not be on labour's agenda.
With Pater's aggressive campaign, and the fact that Gerretsen, despite being a former mayor, did not exactly walk away with this riding in 95 mean this could be a surprisingly close Liberal-NDP contest.
04/14/99 A.S. Email: adma@interlog.com
For Gerritsen to gain Kingston in the Year of the Tory (and versus a PC star candidate, columnist Sally Barnes) is sign enough that in spite of his lowish '95 mandate, he's the man to beat. Part of Vankoughnet's riding is included, but it's the part (the former Kingston township) where he ran a virtual dead heat with, or even a bit behind, his Liberal rival. On the other hand, the new boundaries dilute NDP chances--but the "write-off" incumbent Gary Wilson did much better against Gerritsen and Barnes than many had counted on in '95 (and then, consider all the disgruntled Red Tories in the bleeding heart of Red Torydom). So it still isn't an *absolute* Liberal lock; but at the moment, and perhaps simply by "being there", Gerritsen appears headed for an encore.
04/20/99 Jim Burnett Email: 6jfb@qlink.queensu.ca
The dynamic of this riding has changed incredibly. The Tory nomination is soon, and expected to win is Dr. Bob Pickering. Pickering is a retired surgeon who is well liked, it seems, as traditionally left-wing voters (nurses, teachers, etc.) have signed up to vote for him. He also runs a farm which would solidify the rural aspect of the riding (because of redistribution). As well as a Proffesor of Medicine, he has also has been the football team doctor at Queen's University. This will steal the soft liberal vote, as Doctors are seen as caring Conservatives. (Gerretson is a lawyer). Pater has spent most of her time attacking John Gerretson, and early indications have shown that it has worked. If Gerretson loses his soft left-wing vote to Pater, and loses his soft right-wing vote to Pickering, I wouldn't be surprised to see him finish third. The fact that Gerretson is a former mayor doesn't help him in the former Kingston and Pittsburgh townships -- it hurts (just ask Helen Cooper in the last federal election who ran for the PC's).
My bold prediction is Pickering winning the riding slightly, followed by Pater, then Gerretson third.
04/21/99 A.L. Email: 3arb@qlink.queensu.ca
Jim, Jim, Jim... you forget that Kingston is no longer Torytown. Larger riding or not the fact remains that Kingston has a large civil service population as well as a large number of people on welfare and FBA, not a combination likely to produce a Tory victory. The Tories are last out of the block in nominating a candidate in Kingston and they'll be last, or if lucky a poor second on election day. With Gerretsen now promising that the Liberals will reopen Hotel Dieu (slated to close under the Tories) I doubt that the ploy of running a medical doctor will have much effect. The fact, also, that the local party is now on it's C list of possible candidates after every other prominent Tory in town said no, is also indicative that most local Tories, with the possible exception of yourself, have written of Kingston and the Islands.
04/23/99 S. Webb Email: swebb@chat.carleton.ca
It would be a gigantic mistake to count out the Tories in K-Town... Contrary to some of the current comments, there is a bedrock of Tory support in parts of the riding (Old Orange Ontario). As a border town, Kingston has rebounded under the economic policies of the Tories. The Hotel Dieu factor is minimal as Pickering is well respected there. If Harris wins, which is a good bet, then Bob is a good bet. The high CS support will go to the storng NDP candidate.
05/01/99 Jim Burnett Email: 6jfb@qlink.queensu.ca
It is now official, Bob Pickering is the candidate for Kingston and the Islands. About 800 local Tories packed the nomination meeting, and his victory was very one sided.
The diversity of the people who nominated him shows that he is well on his way to victory: A member of the chamber of commerce; an OSSTF member; a nurse; and a corrections worker.
Because Pickering and his wife work in health care, this vote will help him. He also has a huge advantage with the prison vote. He is the health care physician there. Part of Miliken's strength is that he sweeps the prison vote (inside and outside).
With redistribution favouring the Tories in this riding, I think the Liberals are in for a shock.
05/04/99 A.L. Email: 3arb@qlink.queensu.ca
If health care is the issue in this election, and all signs indicate that it will be, then NDP candidate Beth Pater is in a position to benefit. As a nurse with long experience in the health care field Pater has the most credibility of any candidate in the field. If Pickering is as strong a candidate as the Tories claim he may be able to peel some support from the Liberals but this will only help the NDP as the Tories have no chance in Kingston & the Islands.
05/05/99 Marco Anglesio Email: mpa@the-wire.com
Kingston hasn't "rebounded" under Harris policies. On the contrary, Kingston, by and large a government town, has stagnated. Major hospitals in the Kingston area are closing or planned to be closed, the civil service being cut, and the like. Major industrial employers, such as Alcan, are still in a slump. Strongholds of Conservative support, for the most part, is located to the north and east of Kingston and the Islands, in rural ridings such as Leeds and Grenville (and even those tend to be small-c conservative). While the suburbanization of the riding may provide some small hope for local Conservatives, I don't believe it's enough to mount a creditable challenge.
05/05/99 Sid Clarke Email: Sid_Clarke@kos.net
I will agree that Dr. Pickering is a strong candidate, which will give the Tories a chance in this riding. I will disagree with the last post because I have been involved with Alcan. Alcan is doing a major expansion which includes 800 new jobs in Kingston after contemplating a move to the US. People at Alcan know Dr. Pickering because, as it seems like everywhere else in this city, he is the occupational physician.
After McGuinty admitted that he will spend less on health care than Mike Harris, it looks although Gerretson is in trouble. The only thing Gerretson really has going for him is that he is the incumbant. Which may be the difference.
05/05/99 A.L. Email: 3arb@qlink.queensu.ca
My Tory friends posting to this discussion have "forgotten" to mention that the recent Tory nomination race between Jim Barnett and Pickering was quite raucus with Barnett using his speech to denounce his opponents' supporters as "instant Tories." Since losing the nomination Barnett has threatened to run as an independent. All is not well in Kingston's Toryland and the result will be a poor third place showing by Pickering.
05/07/99 Jim Burnett Email: 6jfb@qlink.queensu.ca
This is not a discussion group, Andy. So tell us your prediction, then move on. I have to respond to your last "prediction" because it involves falsehoods for partisan reasons. I know the entire situation, Jim Barnett is not running as an independent candidate -- like anyone, he was unhappy about losing, this happens all the time. I am not allowed to post the results of the meeting, but Dr. Bob Pickering won by a landslide. The Tories are united, and have reached out to a lot of people in Kingston and the Islands.
In two weeks time, it will become clear to the riding that Dr. Pickering has the momentum. Quite honestly, I cannot believe how many people have jumped on the Pickering campaign who may not like Harris. There are many reasons why K&I is going blue again. It starts with best candidate that have had in years.
05/09/99 A.L. Email: 3arb@qlink.queensu.ca
Both the Pater and Gerretsen campaigns have hit the ground running. Gerretsen and Pater seem to be about even signwise, at least in the "old" city of Kingston. Nothing from Pickering yet either on the street or in the local media and the late Tory nomination meeting in this riding means the Pickering campaign will be playing catch up... something he can't afford in a 28 day race. Tories aren't even in it at this point. Liberal-NDP race and if it's clear the Tories are out of it "strategic voters" who are voting for the Liberals to keep out the Tories will be more likely to take a closer look at the NDP.
05/12/99 Kingston Whig Standard Email:
MPP jumps gun with election ad by Ian Elliot
05/13/99 Kingston Whig Standard Email:
Tory takes heat over building by Ian Elliot, Arthur Milnes and Rob Tripp
05/14/99 Voter BW Email: jybw@kingston.net
Thurs. May 13th WHIG-STANDARD Front page says it all about the Tories and Dr. Pickering. Mr.Pickering has been portrayed as a arogant slum landlord, with no regards to the average voter. Mr Pickering has been charged by the City of Kingston for failing to make city ordered repairs to his tenants.
John Gerretsen is a familar name, but Beth Pater has been been coming on strong with canvassing and diffently has the personal touch!
05/15/99 Kingston Whig Standard Email:
Editorial--Candidates face credibility gap by Steve Lukits
Voters judging the distance between a candidate's words and actions will determine the outcome of the provincial election on June 3. During the first week of the campaign, local and provincial candidates have given the electorate plenty of scope for measuring political credibility.
First results are not reassuring.
In Kingston and the Islands, Tory candidate Robert Pickering was asked to appear in court this week to face a charge of failing to make city-ordered reparis to rental property he owns. The case was put over to late June, after the election.
MPPs look after the concerns of their constituents. Pickering does not inspire confidence by neglecting the concerns of his tenants by allegedly failing to make essential repairs to their apartment...
If the local Tory candidate has voters pulling out their credibility measures, Liberal incumbent John Gerretsen is also due for measurement. Gerretsen broke a provincial law about election advertising. No ads are allowed during the first week of the campaign, so the one Gerretsen ran in last Saturday's Whig was illegal, according to Warren Baillie, Ontario's chief electoral officer...
As the incumbunt MPP, Gerretsen must also answer for his record with respect to two crucial local matters. First is his and his party's wishy-washy stand on the Health Services Restructuring Commission's order to close Hotel Dieu Hospital. The Liberals promise to "review" hospital closing...
The second Kingston issue that strains the incumbunt's credibility is his handling of a private bill he introduced last year. The bill, which failed to pass, would have significantly changed the governance of this city..Yet Gerretsen, a former Mayor and municipal critic, confessed that he did not closely read the bill he introduced. Only later did he voice serious reservations about its contents.
Elections are about trusting people to do what they say and gaining confidence in a candidate's judgement. Voters making that hard test makes our democracy work.
05/15/99 A.L. Email: 3arb@qlink.queensu.ca
Both John Gerretsen and Bob Pickering have received disasterously negative press this week. Gerretsen for illegally running an ad in the Whig Standard during the advertising blackout period, Pickering for having to appear in court to answer charges (as a landlord) of failing to keep his properties up to standard. I think this hurts Pickering especially (if you can't be trusted by your tenants as a landlord, how can you be trusted as an MPP by your constituents) but Gerretsen's credibility is also harmed. If Pater can improve on the 28% of the vote the NDP got in the old K&I in 1995 and eat into the 38% Gerretsen got she can make a real race of it. The new parts of K&I are where former NDP MPP Fred Wilson did best in 1995 by the way.
05/15/99 Kingston Whig Standard Email:
Are visions of eggs and stones keeping the premier away? by Ian Elliot
05/16/99 Email:
Signs of the times: In the lawn sign wars, MPP John Gerretsen and the NDP's Beth Pater were both quick out of the gate, planting their signs around town last Wednesday, the day the election was announced.
Even a few Green Party signs have sprouted - plastic ones that are reusable - along with a few anti-Harris signs, but the Tories, late to nominate candidate Bob Pickering, have yet to appear.
05/20/99 Christopher J. Currie Email: 8cjc1@qlink.queensu.ca
Gerretson should win this riding fairly easily. I've noticed that NDP candidate Beth Pater seems to be leading a fairly-well organized campaign (she has quite a few signs in and around the downtown area) but the changed riding boundaries will probably ruin any chance that she has of winning.
My suspicion is that Bob Pickering is, in fact, a desperation candidate for the Tories. In theory, they could still win through a split vote ... but it strikes me as unlikely.
05/29/99 A.L. Email: 3arb@qlink.queensu.ca
You can stick a fork in Bob Pickering, he's done. Getting lambasted in the press and all candidates meeting for being a slumlord doesn't help in this heavy tenant riding, nor does his shirking of responsibility by saying he didn't know anything about being convicted twice for failing to repair properties because he leaves all that to his property manager. Pater is doing well in the old city of Kingston, the unkown for her is the former "township". If it was just the old city of Kingston I'd be willing to predict an NDP victory.

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Last Updated 31st May 1999

© 1999 Milton Chan, University of Waterloo
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