1999 Ontario Provincial Election
Riding-by-Riding Prediction

Current Prediction:
Riding Profile:

Liberal Party:
Vicky Wylson-Sher
Progressive Conservative Party:
Toni Skarica MPP
New Democratic Party:
Jessica Brennan

Incumbent (old riding composition):
Wentworth North (100%):
Toni Skarica
Burlington South (19%):
Hon. Cameron Jackson

Member of Parliament:
John Bryden

Population: 88 661
Avg Household Income 65 485
Language (Home)
English 84 030
Submitted Information
Submit Information here

Too Close
03/14/99 Email:
This should go Tory but Toni Skarica has been a black sheep in the Tory caucus and may not get all the resources from the central campaign he needs. Also, he's had a hard time as MPP and if his heart isn't in the election he could lose to the Liberals.
04/15/99 Thomas Aldershot Email: ati@cy.ca
Look at the demographics of this riding - if the Tories can't win here!!!!! Skarika was in Harris' bad books, but appears to have held his ground when he stood up against the super city in Hamilton. The public loves mavericks...you don't have to look farther than Peter Kormos. Skarika is now back as a Crime Commissioner - so he must have mended fences with Harris and the whiz kids in the Premiers office. A fairly save tory seat!
04/18/99 A.S. Email: adma@interlog.com
Wentworth-Burlington really has less in common with the "accidental" Toryism of Greater Hamilton than with the more naturalized 905 "blue belt", a connection only furthered by the addition of Burlington's Aldershot panhandle. The greatest Tory ambivalence is in the town of Dundas, an alternately blue-collar and gentrified inner satellite of Hamilton. Also keep in mind that Skarica bested a well-respected former Liberal minister by over 2 to 1 in '95--and, of course, being a constituency-conscious caucus "black sheep" can help his case more than it can hurt it.
04/26/99 Todd Stevens Email: burlingtonguy@hotmail.com
I think most pundits have misread this riding and the incumbent. Wentworth-Burlington is not a typical 905 riding and swings with the election and the candidate. The current incumbent has been a master at the art of deceiving constitutents as an "outsider" or "black sheep", however when you look at his record in supporting most of the government's initiatives, he hardly looks like an outsider. He originally said he wasn't going to seek re-election when he was stripped of his parliamentary assistants posting in 1997, he became an embittered politicans and slammed his party and the government. Constituents were thrilled with this refreshing approach to the Harris agenda. But as soon as they offered to take him back into the fold, he abandoned his constituents who saw him as a "David against the Goliath" politican and gratefully ran back into the arms of Mike Harris. The incumbent remains what he has always been, a dishonest politician who represents everything we hate in politics and then insists that we are wrong. I have talked to number of strong Tory supporters who refuse to support Skarica because of who he is. I think the Liberal is a stealth candidate who will expose the real Toni Skarica and win the riding. One to watch on election night!
04/28/99 G. Brown Email: Georgbrown@excite.com
I have to concur with the analysis of todd...I have sensed a growing trend in this riding that bedrock conservative voters are starting to consider the unthinkable, voting for another party. I'm not sure if it is the political opportunism of the present incumbent or the growing distrust of the government's message that is turning people away. Locally, many people who live in the riding have noticed their local property and business tax bills increase to compensate for the provincial downloads. As well, many in the riding work for the local university, college and health care sector and have seen first hand the result of government cutbacks, ostensibly to pay for a seemingly small tax cut...I have investigated the Liberal candidate and find her a refreshing change from the jaded world of politics. I think that given her growing resources and local support, the liberal challenger may take this riding away from the PC incumbent. I came across a published survey done in Hamilton-Wentworth, London and Kitchener Waterloo (to probe environmental issues) which found in Hamilton the Liberals leading the PC's by 8 points...I think given this momentum, that the Liberals are a strong prospect in the swing riding of Wentworth-Burlington.
04/29/99 OEP Email:
After watching question period last night (04/28/99), I am willing to give this to Liberal. Toni Skarica is a poor backbencher. He has a carefully prepare question to ask and he can't even deliver it. I heard he is not a very sophisticated politician anyway.
04/29/99 Bob Thompson Email: rjthompson@iname.com
I agree that this is either a swing or Liberal riding, however, what is being discounted here is the real mastermind behind the Skarica campaign. His public relations strategist is a real guru. He even won an award from the local PR society for his work on the Skarica campaign last time. The guy is an absolute genius, he might be able to save Skarica from himself. Especially since this guy is Director of Public Relations for the City of Hamilton. The campaign will be a media/public relations one for Skarica and will be run from Hamilton City Hall...
04/29/99 DM Email: dmuys@adculture.com
If previous voting trends hold, it's a Tory lock. The incumbent also has a good record. Toni Skarica is a hero for saving our communities against the ill-planned supercity.
04/30/99 J. Knechtel Email: knechtelj@canada.com
I don't believe that Toni Skarica has a chance of being re-elected in this riding. If you look at the history of this riding (mainly the former riding of Wentworth North), Skarica was the first Conservative to hold this riding since 1984, when Anne Sloat won in a by-election and was an MPP for less than 100 days. Prior to that, it was held by prominent and well-liked Liberal Eric Cunningham. During the Peterson years, this riding was represented by cabinet minister Chris Ward. This riding voted for Skarica in 1995 because they wanted change from the NDP, whom they helped to elect in protest in 1990. But, by and large, the well-educated and more or less affluent voters of this riding understand that they change which is happening in Ontario is not what they really wanted. The voters of Wentworth-Burlington will care about issues like Health Care and Education, two issues the Tories have no credibility on anymore. I also think that with a strong opposition candidates (both Liberal and NDP), this riding will elect a Liberal because the majority of voters will be voting strategically. Skarica likes to say he represents the maverick side of politics, but if the truth be observed, he only stood up to his government after they fired him as a parliamentary assistant. He was in full support of the "ill-planned tory supercity" until then. And since he has been brought back closer into the Tory government, he has been quiet. I think Skarica represents locally for the voters here what Mike Harris does provincially -- a lack of credibility. This seat should go Liberal.
05/03/99 Wendel E. Riga Email: wriga@sprint.com
Vicky Wilson-Sher is going to win this riding because the voters of Wentworth Burlington have had it with Tony and his games. He pretends to be a Rebel MPP but when the important votes happen at Queen's Park Tony either votes the Tory party line or just happens to be absent for that vote. We need a full time MPP who will work for the people of our riding and be there for all the important votes. Vicky and her campaign team have picked up momentum over the last month and she will make this a Liberal riding.
05/03/99 Sara Rosenkrantz Email: srosenkrantz@ehmail.com
Wentworth Burlington has a large Jewish voter component to it and I know that the Jewish community is very upset at Mike Harris and his official pollster, Canadian Voter Contact. In a Thornhill race last month, the Party was doing "push polling" in an attempt to notify voters in the riding that the Liberal candidate was Jewish. Although, the PC Party of Ontario changes pollsters, the owner of Canadian Voter Contact is a riding resident and, as I understand, a central figure in Mr. Skarica's reelection campaign. This will work against Mr. Skarica with the Jewish community as we now fear the Mr. Skarica and his campaign are attempting the same tactics against his Jewish opponent with the Liberals. Mr. Skarica has forever lost my support (I voted for him in 1995) and I know many others in our community.
05/06/99 W.R. Email: waynrock@enoreo.on.ca
Toni could have kept this riding but he sold out. He has repeatedly shunned his Flamborough constituents especially in Waterdown. He has divided the towns on the issues of schooling, amalgamation and downloading. His maverick imager was seemingly a phoney sham to gain some support, but as soon as Mike came calling with this crime commission job, he sold out. He's just another example of what is wrong with politics, especially Tory politics. Greed and lust for power rule rather thasn the ideals he espoused at the end of the last campaign.
05/07/99 J.T. Trahn Email: julietrahn@mailcity.com
I think that the Liberal candidate will win this riding. Last year, many of us in Wentworth-Burlington looked to the PC incumbent as the voice of the outsider; a polititian with an independent voice. Since then we have seen quite the opposite as he has enbraced all the policies which have hurt many residents. I look at the school boards struggling to keep schools open. I see my niece in Aldershot sharing a school with children bused in from Mississauga because there is no money to build new schools. When members of my own family had to seek emergency medical care, they have had spend hours waiting for service. I find it particularly troubling to see a government fire many local nurse, provide severence packages and then rehire them.
There are many tax payers like myself in Wentworth-Burlington who will forgo higher deficits, longer line-ups for medical care and poorer educational services for delayed tax cuts. The incumbent pretends these are not problems. I and many people from my community are impressed with the Liberal candidate and feel she has growing support across the riding. Look for an upset in Wentworth-Burlington.
05/08/99 GLH Email: ghuffmon@golden.net
As a consistuent living on the most northern boundary of this riding I think this is a difficult one to call. Amongst the education and health-care workers there is a lot of bitterness towards the Tories in general. Educators are scornful that Skarica voted for Bill 160, then was "allowed" to vote aaginst the municipal downloading Bill that was the enabling factor of Bill 160 - it was seen as a token vote against the inevitable by many and a way Harris could say he "allowed his caucus to vote on conscience" with something approaching a straight face. This riding is a curious combination of urban and rural voters, many with very traditional party loyalties. There are considerable negative feelings in the "top" corner of this riding, the part of Falmborough that is adjacent to Cambridge, part of the old Wentworth North. Voters in this area feel very neglected at all levels of government by the majority in the rest of the riding/region. Any politician who can effectively reach these disillusioned voters could gain the edge on election night. I would agree with WR that there are a lot of unhappy voters in this riding, and many have been Liberal voters in the past; however, as this Riding is a strange amalgamation of urban Burlington/Dundas/Aldershot etc. and the rural areas of Flamborough etc, who knows? Definitely one to watch!!!
05/27/99 Rob Simpson Email: rsimpson@spectranet.ca
I definitely feel that the time has run out for Toni Skarica. The Liberal campaign is very organized in Aldershot, where I live, and they appear, judging by the lawn signs on private property that Vicki Wilson-Sher has eaten away at a great deal of the Tory support here. In addition, the Liberal campaign appears to be very strong in Dundas, Ancaster and the more built of parts of Flamborough. I met Mr. Skarica for the first time about three days ago when he was canvassing, and I can tell you that I was most unimpressed. He was all over the map on the issues and contradicted himself several times. At one momemt, he was the rebel anti-government politican, and then in the next breathe, he is the big Harris Government Crime Fighter. I felt embarassed for him. I think even the pro-Harris types will have trouble voting for this guy.
05/28/99 J. Leishmann Email: jleishma@netaccess.ca
I think the tide is turning in this riding. When the election was called, I felt that the PC candidate was very strong and would sweep Wentworth-Burlington. Now I see things have changed. Alan Rock is coming to the riding this weekend for a last minute fundraising effort. The Liberal candidate has proven she can raise the money needed to win this riding. Her lawn signs are equal in number to those of the PC candidate and are mostly on private property.
The Liberal candidate just released a five page indictment of the PC candidate's record including many of his alternating positions on health care, education and regional restructuring. The PC candidate will be further weakened by the policy flip flop in the provincial PC campaign. The premier's communications strategist stated that the provincial government will allow the region of Hamilton-Wentworth to find its own solution to restructing; the following day the premier contradicted that and said that he will impose a solution if a local one can't be found. Residents in Ancaster, Dundas and Flamborough do not want the provincial interference in their affairs and will demand that the PC candidate state which side he is on: the province or his constituents. We know in the past he has sided with his government.
This is definitely a riding to watch. Many of my neighbours are considering supporting the Liberal candidate in order to elect a fresh face and an untainted record. The NDP candidate has very low visibility and the majority anti-PC support will coalesce around the Liberal.
05/30/99 T. Brawly Email: brawly99@canada.com
I am actually quite surprised that this riding is still listed as too close to call. Having talked to my neighbours and residents in the riding, a lot of past PC supporters will be voting Liberal. This is a striking development in this riding where political loyalties run deep. My sense is that the Liberals are a lot closer in the provincial polls than the public polls show. One needs to ask why is the premier spending so much time in PC strongholds like Orillia, Newmarket and Burlington and not in swing ridings like Wentworth-Burlington?
In Wentworth-Burlington, the Liberal candidate is articulate and has converted a lot of PC supporters with her enthusiasm and moderate policy objectives. As several of the other contributors to this site have said, the PC candidate has repeatedly flip-flopped on the issues and doesn't really know which side of the issues he and his party stand on the issues. I am still waiting to hear from someone what is going to happen to our local hospitals and school boards at the end of this year when the temporary provincial funding is over. Many of us in this riding are nervous about the state of health care after the election is over. Will it be back to open warfare between the province and the hospitals? Do we continue to wage a battle with the school baords over funding formulaes?
We want an end to the unrest and confrontation. We want a government and an MPP who responds to our concerns and treats us like a citizen rather than relegated to "a special interest". Although unscientific, driving around the riding, I have seen more Liberal signs than in previous elections and placed on homes and neighbourhoods which have never supported Liberals before. I believe this riding will elect a Liberal for the first time since 1987. I also think the PC member is starting to panic as witnessed by his rather strange political advertisement in the local newspapers...trying to ride the Star Wars popularity?
05/31/99 W.R. Email: waynrock@enoreo.on.ca
I am changing my earlier vote. Despite the fact that not one of the 3 candidates have darkened my door, the liberals should take this riding if the earlier comments obout Aldershot and Dundas and Ancaster are true. Mr. Skarica has been conspicious in his absences from the local debates (he picks and chooses his attendance based on the sponsor of the meeting - Flamborough Post and review) and he has constantly neglected his Waterdown constituents (ie- Highway 5 improvements, downloading etc.) It will be close however.
06/01/99 WS Email: walied.soliman@eds-eds.com
Your prediction on the outcome of this riding is WRONG! Mr. Skarica shall succeed in this riding capturing traditional Tory voters, as well as voters from across party lines for his tough, sometimes career limiting, positions in support of his constituents. Who could forget his tough stance against the Greensville Dump, Supercity, Hospital closures, his $5000 donation to a local vocational school. Toni will garner all traditional Tory support plus support for him personally.
I am so confident about my prediction, that I am willing to bet anybody on this site, including the host, that Toni Skarica will garner one of the top fifteen largest pluralities in Ontario.
06/01/99 JY Email:
Riding through the area last week, every 2nd home seemed to have a Skarica sign on it. I think with strong Tory support in the 905 and a slip of the liberals in the polls, this riding should go Tory.
06/01/99 JY Email:
I agree should be close with anti- Harris feelings as expressed by Regional head harris been there to try to save seat- assume Pc member will mean something and keep seat Tory if Liberals win here- NDP vote has to be small 5%
06/02/99 G. Brown Email: georgbrown@excite.com
The Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Chairman Terry Cooke, a long time Tory has stated that voters in Hamilton-Wentworth should vote for anyone except the PC's. He was reelected with 88% of the vote in the last election and carries a lot of respect with the voters. This endorsement may tip the scales to the Liberal in this very close election.
06/02/99 Email:
You are being fooled. Look at the demographics of this riding and the last 12 polls - even the ones with Harris behind. This is an easy win for the Tories. Skarika is a fighter - like Kormos or Christopherson. He's popular and will win!

Submit Information here
Back to South Central Region
Back to Home

Last Updated 2nd June 1999

© 1999 Milton Chan, University of Waterloo
This site is maintained by Milton Chan