1999 Ontario Provincial Election
Riding-by-Riding Prediction
Niagara Falls

Current Prediction:
Riding Profile:

Liberal Party:
Selina Volpati
Progressive Conservative Party:
Bart Maves MPP
New Democratic Party:
Claude Sonier
Green Party:
Clara Tarnoy
Natural Law Party:
Bill Amos
Darren Wood

Incumbent (old riding composition):
Niagara Falls (100%):
Bart Maves
Niagara South (22%):
Tim Hudak
St. Catharines-Brock (22%):
Tom Froese
Welland-Thorold (4%):
Peter Kormos

Member of Parliament:
Gary Pillitteri

Population: 91 260
Avg Household Income 44 093
Language (Home)
English 82 660
Italian 2 200
Submitted Information
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Too Close
03/06/99 Email:
The Niagara Review had a little snippet regading this web-site today, (March 6). The race is still too early to call so I will just give background. This is a bell-weather riding. Went NDP in 90' and PC in 95'. The incumbent is Bart Maves. Maves basically said the party-line whenever faced with criticism. He had some knocks early on regarding his availability, he did state that he could always be reached by computer. He made no friends among city council, teachers, nurses, the poor, i.e. the typical Tory foes. He is everything that Mike Harris wants in rookie MPP's. If re-elected he could be rewarded with a cabinet position. He is thirtysomething. Bart was kept busy as he and his wife had two children during his four years as a politco. The only publically stated Liberal candidate so far is Selina Volpati, a city alderman. She was first elected in 1994 and she was barely re-elected in 1997. Her strengths are fund-raising. She raised/spent $9,000 in her first city council try, and she says she has signed up over 300 members. She is approx. 55-60 years old. She gained recognition for her volunteer efforts in the mental health field. As far as other Liberal contenders there have been many rumours. Dalton McGuinty apparently personally asked the Mayor Wayne Thomson to run as a Liberal but he declined. Paul Wintermute a local lawyer thought about running for the Liberals but saw that Volpati had too big of a head-start. Other Liberal rumours have included Regional Councilor Gary Hendershot who lost his wife late last year. City alderman Kim Craitor and Ken Feren have been other rumoured candidates. Craitor is everything to everyone. He is a former President of the local Labour Council and currently is on the Chamber of Commerce board. The Liberal nomination meeting according to the paper is going to be March 10th. The NDP is looking for their candidate, and hope to have one by the end of the month. Their strengths in this riding is strong grass-roots support. There has been backlash against the PC gov't, so they have the potential to lose. If the popular Thomson was running this would be a safe Liberal seat, but he is not, so....? Too early.
03/07/99 Email:
This will be an interesting and close race. Maves isn't the most popular politician but he is young and has done some good things in the riding. Namely, bringing in a casino and bringing in much needed road and bridge construction, the list goes on. If he campaigns on this, he should do well. There haven't been any noteworthy Liberals or NDP candidates that have come forward. Volpatti will likely get the Liberal nomination. Given that there is a high Italian population in the riding and they all support an Italian candidate no matter who it is, she could prove to be a heavy competitor against Maves. She will not, however, be able to beat him. The riding will remain a Tory riding by only a small margin.
03/14/99 Email:
Volpatti, the officially nominated Liberal candidate, determined the outcome of the campaign at her nomination meeting. In her acceptance speech she stated she would support the Liberal Party and not allow the expansion of anymore casinos. Big mistake to say that in Niagara Falls Bart Maves should win this riding now without a problem.
04/17/99 A.S. Email: adma@interlog.com
As this is mainly middle- and working-class urban and the provincial PCs were essentially a non-factor in Niagara Falls before '95, I'm still strategically ambivalent over whether Maves can send his opponents over the falls in a barrel once again. Outside of its tourism, NF's got that border-town quality of being largely blue of collar and sometimes red of neck (the English-rights CoR got 10% in '90, not too far behind PC). The Liberals have had a haphazard but intermittently illustrious history here; it sent Judy LaMarsh to Ottawa in the 60s, and more recently Vince Kerrio to Queen's Park (however, the Grits sunk below 40% federally in '97). Except in its black holes of recent years, the NDP's always done relatively well, peaking with Margaret Harrington's near-poll-sweep in '90. The NDP also sees the addition (from Peter Kormos' riding) of an even more formidable party bastion, Thorold South--but all of that vaporizes with a further addition, the town of Niagara-On-The-Lake. Given the polls, the race appears more likely to be Lib-PC, with potential for change. Bart Maves may be close, but to use the words of Chippawa's favorite son James Cameron, he ain't "king of the world" yet.
04/23/99 Email:
Bart Maves is going to have a great deal of trouble in the upcoming election. This week he got in a showdown with popular Niagara Falls mayor, Wayne Thompson. Maves has been talking about pushing a private members bill that would force municipalities to open their books to provincial auditors. An angry Thompson challenged Bart to go ahead because the Niagara Falls books are in order. Thompson also said that the provincial government's books are a mess and that Maves should concentrate on cleaning them up. Thompson and Maves have also clashed on who is more responsible for bringing the casino to Niagara Falls. Thompson will not endorse Selina Volpatti but he will not allow Maves to take credit for the casino and will remind the Niagara Falls voters that Mike Harris campaigned against casinos in the 1995 election. Bart Maves, like his fellow Tory member, Tom Froese, has also had his share of scandal stories in Frank magazine. This type of story does not play well with the traditional voters of the Falls. In response to a previous comment, Volpatti said in her acceptance speech that the Ontario Liberals support the building of the new big casino in Niagara Falls but do not want every city in the province to have one. This is very good news for Niagara Falls as they do not want to have to compete with casinos in other parts of the Hamilton-Niagara region. Volpatti has a very high profile in Niagara Falls and will come out the winner.
04/25/99 Email:
I wouldn't put too much weight on an article in Frank magazine to determine the outcome of an election. Has anyone actually read Frank? Does anybody actually believe the garbage that is in that magazine? Has anybody ever heard of the word SATIRE?? The fact of the matter is, Niagara Falls hasn't seen this much economic growth and prosperity in years. Maves will and is getting the credit for this. As far as the feud between Maves and the Mayor, it is just getting blown out of proportion. Besides the Mayor, I'm sure, has a little bit more political common sense, class and decorum, than to get himself tangled up in a provinicial election. Maves will be standing in the winner's circle on election night.
04/28/99 p.bryant Email:
Last night (April 27) the Niagara Falls Liberals held a very successful fundraiser at Club Italia. Over 400 Liberals turned out to listen to Liberal MPP's Lyn McLeod and John Gerretsen talk about the party's 20/20 platform. Selina Volpatti also gave an very good speach. Support for Volpatti is very strong as most of the Niagara Falls city council were there as well as regional council members and memebers of the town council of Niagara-on-the-lake. Volpatti has quickly put together a strong team and is going to defeat Maves in this election.
04/29/99 Drew Scott Email:
Liberal candidate, Volpatti knocked on my door yesterday as she was campaigning. I told her about some of the health issues I was concerned about and Volpattie seem to have a good understanding of what I was talking about. MPP Bart Maves has never come to my door and every time I go to his office in town, it's closed. They only seem to be open a few hours a week. Vince Kerrio was the MPP for Niagara Falls for many years because he knew that he was their to serve the people. His office was always open and when I would call and leave a message, Kerrio would call me back. Maves does not do this and Volpatti seems to be the type of politician who will follow Vince Kerrio's ideas. She told me that Vince was supporting her so that will make a big differance in Niagara Falls where he is remebered as a people's politician.
05/04/99 Linda Wilson Email:
I believe everyone is overlooking a very important aspect to this election. It is the gender gap. Women in Ontario have seen the cuts by the Harris government and will not be voting Tory. Bart Maves is a perfect representative of the Common Sense Revolution that has damaged Ontario. Liberal, Selina Volpatti is a strong candidate who has done a lot of work in this community and on city council. In Selina, women in Niagara Falls have a great candidate and a person to vote for to get rid of the Tories.
05/05/99 Holly Dickenson Email:
Nobody knew who Bart Maves was when he was elected in 1995. Maves came in on the Tory wave and he will go out on the wave in this election. Niagara Falls knows who Selina Volpatti is and they want to change this government and will elect Selina on election day which I heard today is June 3. P.S. I read all about Bart in Frank magazine.
05/06/99 St. Catherines Standard Email:
Bradley only MPP with safe riding by Doug Herod
Niagara Falls: You might think that if any riding in the province had warm and fuzzy thoughts about the Tories, it would be Niagara Falls. It was, after all, the Mike Harris regime which brought the casino to the Falls, a fact that Tory MPP Bart Maves may mention two or three thousand times during the campaign. But I don't think the Tories will get a great deal of local mileage out of this. The casino is accepted as a fact of life now, not a government gift. Besides, most residents probably credit Mayor Wayne Thomson and city council for getting the casino, not Maves. For the past three elections, this riding has gone whichever way the political winds have been blowing across the province. I don't see that trend changing. Unlike Bradley and Kormos, both of whom served on municipal councils before shifting to the political scene, Maves came out of nowhere to win in 1995. He'll return to nowhere unless his party forms another government.
05/12/99 Email:
Not so fast, he's off to a late start but Claude Sonier, the NDP candidate already has twice as many lawn signs up as the other two candidates combined. Sonier has lived in the area his entire life and obviously knows a lot of non-traditional New Democrats (judging by the number of NDP lawn signs in traditionally weak NDP polls). Maves is a weak incumbent and Volpatti was barely re-elected as a city alderman last time around. Folks are tired of career politicians, they want their neighbour representing them at Queen's Park. It will be close, too soon to count anybody out.
05/13/99 Email:
Interesting tid-bit. The NDP does not have any signs at the intersections, but they have tons of signs on front lawns of peoples homes. This tells me two things:
1. They have knocked on a lot of doors.
2. Claude Sonier knows a lot of people in this riding. He is a "soccer mom", and a union leader. He also comes from a large family, something like eight brothers and sisters.
Even the north-end of the city where both Volpati and Maves live both have tons of NDP signs. The south-end NDP has about 3 signs for every PC and Liberal sign.
06/01/99 Michael Ensley Email: mensley@rocketmail.com
Because of the strong NDP campaign and the Tory swing back into power, Bart will be returned along with the Tory government.BTW The addition of Niagara on the Lake will help return the Tories.
06/01/99 lrs Email:
strange this is one of seats too close too call and party leaders did not visit riding recently( Lib and Pc )so I am assuming that provincial trend set by polls may indicate PC hold
06/01/99 Brad Nicpon Email:
I could be wrong here, but given that this is one of the few "undecided" ridings left, I'm going to go with PC. Reason being mostly the improved NDP campaign that will detract from the Liberal Campaign. As well, I believe that Maves is responsible for some infrastructure imporvments in the area that may sell well with voters.
06/02/99 OEP Email:
There was a party leader here today. Dalton is spending today in Southcentral Ontario (Hamilton, Niagara Falls, Stoney Creek...) and the first stop is in Niagara Falls. The bus probably will not even get close to the riding if they do not think this is winable. This riding has deep liberal root with MPP like Vicent Kerrio (who held the riding for God knows how long) Seeing Volpatti's campaign is going well, I will bet on Liberal picking up the riding.
06/02/99 Michael Ensley Email: mensley@rocketmail.com
The liberal leader was in the falls today trying to save some seats that are possible to save. Too little too late. He was not there because they are winning. This riding will go Tory with the NDP spliting the anti-Harris vote.
06/02/99 Brad Nicpon Email: nicpon@execulink.com
It's true that the liberals have a presence here, but I don't think that Dalton McGuinty would be visiting the riding if it was so solid liberal. Maves will benefit from both NDP support in the region splitting votes and provincewide PC momentum. I predict PC.

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Last Updated 2nd June 1999

© 1999 Milton Chan, University of Waterloo
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