1999 Ontario Provincial Election
Riding-by-Riding Prediction
Ottawa Centre

Current Prediction:
Riding Profile:

Liberal Party:
Richard Patten MPP
Progressive Conservative Party:
Ray Kostuch
New Democratic Party:
Elisabeth Arnold
Green Party:
Chris Bradshaw
Natural Law Party:
Wayne Foster
Communist Party:
Marvin Glass
Mistahi Corkill

Incumbent (old riding composition):
Ottawa Centre (100%):
Richard Patten
Ottawa Rideau (9%):
Garry Guzzo
Ottawa South (17%):
Dalton McGuinty
Ottawa West (23%):
Alex Cullen

Member of Parliament:
Mac Harb

Surrounding Ridings
Ottawa South
Ottawa West-Nepean

Population: 106 562
Avg Household Income 48 689
Language (Home)
English 85 495
French 7 130
Submitted Information
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02/15/99 BRY Email:
A strong Liberal base of first time voters, (from Carleton and Ottawa U's) and machinable ethnic vote, ( ie. the Lebanesse community) will insure this riding stays Liberal. Although this riding has gone New democrat in the past, the hard work of Richard Patten should keep this one strongly in Liberal hands.
Too Close 02/16/99 Ottawa Sun Email:
"Grit leader fears Harris gambit" By Donna Casey
Ontario Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty urged supporters last night to roll up their sleeves so the Tories fail in their plan to split the vote in Ottawa-Centre. "This is a targeted riding, and people need to understand that (Premier) Mike Harris is hoping that people vote NDP ... and he can come up the middle and win again," McGuinty said. Liberal fears of losing the riding to the NDP are real. The riding has a history, since the 1980s, of flip-flopping between the Liberals and the NDP.
02/26/99 Email:
This riding traditionally swings Liberal/NDP. Dick Patten has been a weak MPP, and the NDP has nominated Elisabeth Arnold, a popular city councillor who was re-elected in a landslide last year. It will be close, but I give this one to Arnold.
03/12/99 MM Email:
Richard Patten will appeal to the voters. He's well-liked, he'll have a strong organization.
03/14/99 Email:
I completely fail to see how a do-nothing MPP like Richard Patten can stand a chance against a very popular, two-term City Councillor like Elisabeth Arnold. Arnold is the best candidate the NDP has run here in decades - and they've won it several times.
04/03/99 CNG Email:
Patten doesn't stand a chance against Councillor Arnold. She's got a very strong organization in the downtown core. Her strong re-election in 1997 (in a traditional swing ward) is evidence of this.
04/14/99 A.S. Email: adma@interlog.com
Interesting riding to consider. First, this is the first provincial election in over a quarter century where the NDP's Evelyn Gigantes isn't running--and considering the gaffe-peppered hash Gigantes made out of her final term, Elisabeth Arnold's promised fresh start comes perhaps not a moment too soon. Second, Patten's the only defeated Peterson Liberal to actually succeed in his '95 comeback attempt--but only because this was a traditional Tory dead zone and Gigantes' name was mud (in fact, Patten exceeded his losing 1990 result by a measly percentage point, and Gigantes was only six points behind--not bad for mud). Boundary changes (which deceptively bring the PCs to second place) work to Patten's advantage, as does the fact of a local party leader; but this is still a highly vulnerable seat, especially in light of a less tainted New Democrat with organization to burn. Needless to say, it'll be a devastating blow to Dilbert if his party loses *two* Ottawa seats (including Ottawa West-Nepean). And it's very possible.
04/19/99 PC Email: CanniP@parl.gc.ca
As usual, this will be a tight Liberal-NDP race. NDP candidate, City Councillor Elizabeth Arnold brings to the contest an on-the-ground organization that may give her the edge in delivering the vote. Incumbent Richard Patten will have to overcome a lacklustre local profile; the anxious tone of McGuinty's appearance at Patten's nomination meeting speaks volumes on that weakness. The Tories are in an utter state of disarray, first coming under the influence of Reform Hill staffers and then being abandoned by them. After a doomed bid to capture MPP Gary Guzzo as their candidate, they are left with no one of profile and a paper campaign machine. Perversely, electing Arnold and reducing the Grit vote count may the Tories' best asset in helping assure a second Harris majority, if by no choice of their own. Verdict: Arnold and the NDP by a squeaker.
04/21/99 Dale Woloshin Email:
I listed to both Elizabeth Arnold (NDP) and Richard Patten (Lib) speak about Housing issues April 19. Richard hemmed and hawed and while he was sure the Liberals would come out with a good platform on housing, he did not have anything strong to say. Both are known quantities in the Riding, and if the perception is that the Liberals will take over the government, the vote may go to Richard. The more visibility he and Elizabeth have will give Elizabeth the edge. This is a swing riding, and can go either way, even though Elizabeth is by far a stronger politician than Richard.
05/04/99 Don Hickey Email:
Richard Patten seems to me to be an easy winner this time. He won last time despite the PC waive and this election looks like it won't be a wave for any of the three parties. This means a high profile MPP like Patten will be in a great position. The Liberals usually win everything in Ottawa and the federal party is still poplular here in the nations capital. Most people I know in Ottawa Centre tell me they will be voting Liberal and that means Richard Patten.
05/10/99 JH Email:
Sound be a very exciting race between incumbent Patten and Elisabeth Arnold. She is an infinitely stronger and better politician and if elected will give Ottawa Centre strong and able representation. Patten seems to have been asleep for his term. I'm putting my vote on Arnold - she has been exceptionally capable as a municipal councillor and there's no reason she won't repeat her performance at Queen's Park.
05/11/99 Email:
This is truly a Tory dead zone. But the base of first time voters from Carleton and the U of O as BRY mentioned will not be much of a factor in the election. The neighbourhood where most of the U of O students live (when school is in, which it is not right now) is Sandy Hill, which is in Ottawa-Vanier. Arnold is out to a quick start and is already winning the sign war in the downtown area of Ottawa Centre. The race comes down to Arnold and Patten but I think Arnold will definitely be a favourite.
05/15/99 Bryan Bondy Email:
I think organization and Arnold's base of support will be the key factor here. Arnold's nomination generated considerable excitement within the NDP and she has a seemingly inexhaustible supply of volunteers on hand, plus she can rely on her community support as a very popular councillor. Plus press attention is centred on Arnold and overwhelmingly positive. I even know Tories who are enthuasiatic about her candidacy. Frankly, Patten has done nothing for Ottawa Centre and is much less well known than his more able competitor. I think this riding will buck the trend and go NDP.
05/17/99 TPM Email: Pmulliga@nrcan.gc.ca
This riding will for the first time in a long return a sittig MPP. Richard Patten has been a quiet but competent member whose main strenght is getting the job done without making waves. Richard has been very strong in his portfolio of Housing critic. Ms Arnold while a reasonalbly effective city cuncillor is still remenbered as the person who wanted to raise our city taxes. I think Pattens good record and quiet style will see him through.
05/20/99 TC Email:
I note, as I walk from my (Uppertown) residential neighbourhood into Chinatown that Arnold is winning the 'sign war' in both areas.
Patten has been an adequate, if nearly invisible MPP but he is not 'first rate' by any measure. Arnold was a competent, hard working councillor but she did not set the world on fire either. The Tory is a bit of an unknown quantity.
My aim is to ensure that the Tories stay in power. If the race looks really close I will vote Tory. If it goes towards a more traditional (for Ottawa) two way (Liberal vs NDP) fight then I will vote for Arnold in the combined hopes of getting a good, solid constituency MPP and preventing McGuinty from forming a government.
05/20/99 Mike Email:
Popular, effective, city councillor Elizabeth Arnold (the NDP's best hope in Eastern Ontario) faces a low to no profile Liberal incumbent in an area that doesn't seem enamoured with incumbents ... and the Leader's Debate didn't hurt.
05/21/99 Noel Kivimaki Email: nkivimaki@yahoo.com
A two-way race between the Liberals and NDP. Both are strong candidates. However, without a stronger provincial campaign, the NDP really doesn't stand a chance. If they were up around 20% in the province-wide polls (and with Hampton's performance in the debate, that still could happen), I'd say it was too close. As it stands now, Patten should prevail.
05/25/99 AMS Email: nkivimaki@yahoo.com
Richard Patten has shown he cares about the riding ever since he was first elected in 1987. We need a person who can take care of all the diverse needs of this riding in a fair a nd competent manner while still shaving the courage to act. I dont see that this riding will be served by electing a member with no experiance on the provincial front.
05/25/99 Kris Schimmel Email: an289@freenet.carleton.ca
Ray Kostuch has a real good chance. I know first hand how upset a great many voters are with Arnold and Richard Patten has liiteraly done nothing. Arnold does have some support downtown, but this riding is huge, and her NDP views won't get her many votes in the more afluant suburbs where Kostuch should do very well.
05/26/99 DLP Email:
As a long time resident of the downtown core, I am shocked by the number of places that traditionally have had NDP signs but don't this time. Centretown is a tradional NDP stronghold, but Arnold does not have the sort of support that Mike Cassidy or even Jamie Heath had in federal campaigns. She should be concerned about this.
Patten is a solid member who defeated a strong NDP Minister in 1990 in a riding that the NDP claims as traditionally theirs. While it may be closer than anybody would like, the apparent weakness of the Arnold campaign in Centretown should guarantee a Liberal win and a return of the incumbent MPP for Ottawa Centre for the first time since Mike Cassidy led the NDP.
Arnold did win a "landslide" in the municpal election aginst a young right wing student who clearly was out of step with the ward. It is not like she had real competition.
05/27/99 PC Email:
Indeed, Kris Schimmel should know how voters feel about Elizabeth Arnold. Running against her as a candidate for the putative municipal party Civic Action, he was buried by her in a landslide. Some dissatisfaction.
The facts remain: Arnold is well-organized to get out the vote, Patten is making a death-bed repentance for a lackadaisical last term, and Reform apparats have gutted the local Tory campaign. One can at least be thankful that MPP Arnold will have no power to be a tax-and-spend blight on Ottawa Centre voters, unlike Councillor Arnold.
05/27/99 DLP Email:
OOPS! I should have said theat Patten defeated a strong NDP Minister in 1995 not 1990. It is interesting to note that the student who was whumped by Arnold, and whose post is immediately before mine is, shock and horror, and horror a Tory!
05/27/99 Ottawa Xpress Email:
Party spinners give election night insights by John Crupi
... Liberal Party spinner (Richard Mahoney) says the NDP vote in Ottawa-Carleton is collapsing in all its key ridings ... the NDP is actually running third in Ottawa-Centre where city councillor Elisabeth Arnold is facing off against Liberal incumbent Richard Patten ... the Conservative support is actually two-to-one over the NDP. "Hogwash. That's just Liberal desparation." countered (Andre) Foucault (NDP spin doctor).
05/27/99 Mike Email:
I've changed my mind ... Arnold would have won the old Ottawa Centre in a close race, but she won't be able to carry enough of the additions to topple Patten.
05/28/99 Dale Woloshin Email: dale@woloshin.net
Faith community led All-Candidates Meeting yesterday. 75-80 persons attending, primarily church folk and persons living in poverty. This was a very structured and moderated meeting (not a debate) with moderated questions, and with booing and heckling forbidden. As a result, the candidates came without large entourages of supporters (I did not notice more than 1-2 persons clearly with any candidate.
Richard Patten (Liberal) was stronger than earlier in the election, and Elisabeth Arnold (NDP) remaining strong. There was much support for comments from Chris Bradshaw (Green) and Marvin Glass (Communist Party) candidates, which indicates perhaps greater support for the left at this function.
Ray Kostuch (PC) presented himself well, but was not able to convince the audience on issues of workfare and housing, both fairly major issues in this riding. I am told from Marvin Glass (Communist) that there was a verbal altercation two days previously at an earlier all-candidates meeting, which probably cost Ray Kostuch (PC)
Talking to all the candidates after the meeting (I was the organizer) I got the overall sense for this riding that there might be more support for Elisabeth Arnold (NDP) than for Richard Patten (Liberal) but that it was close. If some NDP supporters voted for Richard Patten (Liberal) as a "strategic vote" against the existing government (even though that is not an issue in this riding) then Richard could get in, otherwise it may well go with Elisabeth Arnold (NDP)
06/01/99 TPM Email: pmulliga@nrcan.gc.ca
I am still watching closely the race in this riding. With the improved showing of the Liberal Platform in the last few days it appears that Richard Patten is going to win with the Torie in second place the strenght of the tories in Mckellar Park and Parts of the old Ottawa Rideau with the almost complete invisiblity of the NDP in these areas will help the Liberal cause. The Electorate has a choice between an adequate NDP city councillor who wanted to raise property taxes, a TORY who thinks that Poverty is not a moral issue and a quietly effective MPP, Richard Patten.
06/01/99 Michael Ensley Email: mensley@rocketmail
The NDP will falter,but the liberals will prevail due to the weakness of the Tory candidate
06/01/99 JCM Email:
Richard Patten has been a tireless advocate for the less fortunate in our society, having a strong social conscience that is driven by the desire to truly help people. Patten is not a politician, he has always conducted himself as the people's representative. This appeals to people in Ottawa Centre. Yes, the NDP with their consumate politician candidate Elisabeth Arnold, will try to put a push on this riding because they are desperate, and cling to the nostalgia of having held this seat in the past. This riding redistribution picked up a strong tradional liberal section from the old riding of Ottawa West. This has bolstered the core of Patten's liberal support way above either the NDP or the Tory, infact the NDP's percentage of support has slipped in the new redistributed riding. The NDP is dreaming if they think that they stand a chance.
06/01/99 Bryan Bondy Email:
While I personally give the nod to Arnold, I agree there's a strong possibility Patten will be re-elected. BUT - I still think it's a close race between Patten and Arnold (with Arnold having outperformed what Susan Riley in the Citizen called her "pallid opponents") and the Tory nowhere in sight. But the NDP third? The Tory candidate second? Are the above commentators mad? Or just horribly misled? Tories always come third in this riding and with such a weak candidate this election should be no exception to the rule.
06/01/99 lrs Email:
Liberals should win -Ndp has a strong candidate everyone is stating but persons who will wish Tories defeated will vote Liberals in sufficient numbers to win- will pc vote be strong enough to help NDP?
06/01/99 Email:
The NDP strength is in the old Ottawa Centre riding. The new areas added are more liberal or tory leaning. I would call this liberal or liberal/NDP too close.
06/02/99 Dale Woloshin Email: dale@woloshin.net
Ray Kostuch has been chastised by at least one of his Party's strategists for his open stand against the the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex benefits. This may slightly lessen Kostuch's chances in the riding, and may in turn help Richard Patten as a result in a tight race.
06/02/99 T. Stevens Email: burlingtonguy@hotmail.com
I was surprised that this riding was listed as an NDP gain. I was just in the riding last week on business and saw Liberal signs everywhere...the NDP appears strong in the core of the riding but in the surrounding area, the Liberal candidate should sweep. Patten is a strong incumbent with a good base of support in the community.

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Last Updated 2nd June 1999

© 1999 Milton Chan, University of Waterloo
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