1999 Ontario Provincial Election
Riding-by-Riding Prediction

Current Prediction:
Riding Profile:

Liberal Party:
Sean Strickland
Progressive Conservative Party:
Hon. Elizabeth Witmer MPP
New Democratic Party:
Ted Martin
Green Party:
Judy Greenwood-Spears
Family Coalition Party:
Lou Reitzel
Natural Law Party:
Richard Beecroft
Helmut Braun
Matthew Albrecht

Incumbent (old riding composition):
Waterloo North (75%):
Hon. Elizabeth Witmer
Kitchener-Wilmot (3%):
Gary Leadston
Kitchener (30%):
Wayne Wettlaufer

Member of Parliament:
Andrew Telegdi

Surrounding Ridings:
Kitchener Centre

Population: 102 643
Avg Household Income 52 881
Language (Home)
English 91 115
Submitted Information
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01/31/99 Toronto Star Email:
From "As Kitchener goes..." By Ian Urquhart
Witmer, who represents the more affluent Waterloo part of the region, is considered a shoo-in. "She's one of the best constituency politicians I've ever seen," enthuses James Downey, president of the University of Waterloo, whose institution has been the beneficiary of a major government initiative to expand engineering schools. Witmer's nickname in the region is Santa Claus.
02/22/99 Email:
Elizabeth Witmer, the incumbent, carries a lot of baggage as the Minister of Health. Also, as former chair of the local schoolboard, she will be blamed for not trying to intervene on behalf of education. Since education and health are likely to be the biggest issues in the election, she is more vulnerable than most people think. The new election boundaries favour the NDP in this riding -- they've picked up their strongest wards from the City of Kitchener and lost their weakest areas in the townships. Based on the new boundaries the NDP won this riding in 1990 and finished second behind the Tories in 1995. So, I think, the NDP has a very real chance to knock off Witmer. But, then again, I'm biased.
03/16/99 A. Email:
The NDP "won" this riding in '95 - at least, it would have if it had the present boundaries. Ted Martin, a school trustee, has been front and centre in fighting provincial cuts to education. He'll do well - likely well enough to win.
Site Owner's Correction: In 1995 NDP came in third in all three ridings that make up the new riding of Kitchener-Waterloo. In the old riding of Waterloo North NDP candidate Hugh Miller won 15.85% of the vote (PC 59.42% LIB 20.14%) and won only 3 out of 210 polls. In the old riding of Kitchener, NDP candidates Sandi Ellis won 21.01% of the votes (PC 40.15%, LIB 30%) and 15 out of 157 polls. In the old riding of Kitchener Wilmot, NDP candidate Mike Cooper won 21.4% of the votes (PC 45.7%, LIB 26.55%) and only 5 out of 158 Kitchener polls. With the old riding result and new riding boundaries, NDP will still come in distance third.
03/16/99 OEP Email:
Liz Witmer will win it again. The last hope of un-seating her disappeared as Liberal nominated Sean Strickland, who had a bad name for his "Food Bank Mess". Ted Martin and his supporter are joking themselves if they actually think they have any chance. Doubt that many people actually take Mr. Martin seriously. They should really worry about whether they will get their deposit back. Also, Mr. A. seems to have close ties with a lot of NDP candidates. Just because you don't know the sitting MPP, it doesn't mean that they are "do-nothing".
03/17/99 A.S. Email: adma@interlog.com
I'm presuming that when A. said "1995" he meant "1990"--as confirmed by the previous anonymous poster (and my own informal calculations--though my own 1995 figure shows the Libs besting the NDP for second, if not by too much). While misleading partisan claims seldom help a cause, I can't be so harsh about NDP chances--the riding changes do favour the left, and as a trustee, Martin's well placed to grab a little bit of whatever anti-Witmer electoral benefit there is. Unless the final NDP poll keeps bobbing in mediocrity or plummets to federal-like levels, getting the deposit back shouldn't be too hard, and displacing the Liberals for second is definitely possible. That said, barring unforeseen changes, I'll count Witmer in as "safe". Despite the nasty position she's in re the hottest-ticket issues, she's survived the brickbats even better than her fellow cabinet competent-pragmatist Dave Johnson. She's a good bet to survive even if the Tories were reduced to pre-1995 levels, in which case Witmer would be the PC version of Lyn McLeod in 1990, or Frances Lankin in 1995--cabinet competence and good, hard constituency work, with potential for being the party's first female leader...
Too Close
03/17/99 A. Email:
Apologies for my error in the 1995 figures for this riding. I'll change my prediction to "too close". Witmer's certainly a strong candidate.
03/31/99 R.M. Email:
OK, I'm partisan, but I've been doing some homework. I have re-worked the results from the 90 and 95 elections, using the new riding boundaries. With the new boundaries in 1990, the NDP was the winner with 35%, followed by the PCs with 32%, the Liberals with 26%, and others with 8%. In 1995, the NDP was third, but with 19%, respectable given the circumstances. It is important to remember that Kitchener-Waterloo has picked up some of the strongest traditional NDP areas from Kitchener (Centre), where people were angry at the government in 1995. These people are now even angrier at the Tory government (and Liz Witmer) and are sure to reconsider the NDP and Ted Martin. Of course, with Liz stealing the NDP platform, it's getting a bit confusing out there! But don't count the NDP out in Kitchener-Waterloo..
04/01/99 OEP Email:
Granted, NDP won the riding in 90. That still doesn't mean that NDP has any chance in the riding. William Ferguson and Mike Cooper won in the the two Kitchener ridings under the NDP sweep, and they still lost Waterloo North to Liz Witmer. (Interesting note: MP Andy Telegdi ran for Liberal that time and came in third in Waterloo North) I can make the same argument for the Liberals that in 1987, under the Liberal victory, Liberal won the over 50% vote in all three ridings (with Dave Cooke, John Sweeney, and Herb Epp). In fact, Liberals won the three seats even in 85 (minority) and 81 (Davis Conservative majority) with more than 45% of the vote everytime. This means that the riding actually have a "Liberal History" (Herb Epp and John Sweeney were great politicians). But I am still not convinced that the riding will move away from Witmer this time. My point is, if Witmer is to be unseated, it will be by Liberal Sean Strickland, not Ted Martin.
05/07/99 JR Email:
Please take note that many of the people talking about Kitchener-Waterloo are talking through their hats. The NDP stand about as much of a chance as a snowball in hell. Listings posted on here, while being opinions, should be astute and able. To say I'm a little disappointed in regards to this is an understatement. This will be a red - blue fight and give credit to one of your writers who said Strickland had bit himself with his Food Bank Mess. If he was any where near the politician he think's himself (and to be honest, after covering municipal politics and regional government in that area for almost a decade) he would resign his council seat instead of hanging onto it as a fall back when he gets defeated.
05/11/99 KR Email:
There is mistrust among the teachers against the PCs and they are organizing to vote as blocks to oust the Tories. I'm married to a teacher and I suspect that there will be a higher proportional turnout of this angry group within K-W.
05/11/99 Andrew Drummond Email: prefix_16309@hotmail.com
As a matter of personal interest, I have been asking people on the University of Waterloo campus (I believe there are about 6,000 students there at present) and it is astonishing how few of them are planning to vote in the upcoming election. Despite the obvious importance of the issues to all university students (especially tuition) many simply can't be bothered to vote. Ms. Witmer is already extremely popular in the riding, and any serious attempt to unseat her would need the support of the university campus to either Strickland or Martin, and that support just isn't there.
05/11/99 BN Email:
Oh, come on guys, anyone who thinks this seat is going NDP based on vague allogations about Witmer being brought down by "non-intervention" in education is being blindly partisan. Also, how is it that some people think the NDP "won" this riding in redistribution?? Look at the numbers from the '95 election! Be realistic.
05/12/99 T. Byers Email: tbyers@ionline.net
Last evening I went door-to-door in one area of this riding. The confirmed vote was very low and fairly evenly split. The vast majority of voters were undecided but started their conversation with "I certainly know who I am not voting for" and then proceed to discuss Liberal versus NDP policies. This experience certainly leads me to believe this riding is going to be closer than many predicted and Ms. Witmer is in a race - whether she knows it or not.
05/12/99 Jeff Bennett Email: jbennett@execulink.com
Let's get real here, Elizabeth Witmer is rock-solid and this is probably one of-if-not-the safest Tory seats in the province. It won't even be close here....I say Witmer gets 70% of the vote.
05/18/99 Pod. Email: the.pods@sympatico.ca
If Witmer loses then you're talking a massive Liberal majority and I don't believe this will happen. This is the closest thing to a sure thing for the Tories.
05/19/99 Email:
Witmer has been getting plenty of attention here from the unions who have suddently turned their support behind Strickland. Witmer was physically chased off one street in her riding last Thursday and the story goes that she is now afraid to canvass door to door without a body guard (supporter). What a twist of fate now that the iron maiden's fate is in the hands of those she has ignored. Some very ugly things have happened here during the campaign and Witmer seems to be taking a beating.
05/19/99 G. Bell Email: sbell@nonline.net
Witmer's victory was assured by her intervention on St. Mary's hospital. If the hospital had closed, she would have been toast. Strickland's only hope is to work the north ward of Kitchener which has traditionally voted left, not right. If there was momentum provincially for the Liberals Strickland's profile in the community would carry him, but there is no sign of any vote swing on the broad scale. He will have difficulty countering the pure volume of Tory vote in the upper middle class neighbourhoods of Waterloo.
05/20/99 Chris Buchanan Email: csbuchan@uwaterloo.ca
One interesting thing about this riding is that in the last election, a good portion of Ms. Witmer's votes came from the teachers in the riding. That's not going to happen this time. In fact, from what I've seen, most are going to vote Liberal. Another problem for Ms. Witmer is that she has all of that baggage from being the Minister of Health.
On the other hand, Sean Strickland's popularity seems to be somewhat questionable. It's clear that he has strong support from a core group of people (including a very strong and large campaign team). He's even friends with some prominent Tories in the area. Because of such a friendship, they have chosen to stay out of the campaign. But he also has a number of detractors. His other problem is that his campaign literature is not nearly as good as Ms. Witmer's. Considering that he's running against a well established name in this riding, this is a serious failing.
Ted Martin has no chance in hell.
There are several questions here that make this too close to tell.
1) How are the aforementioned detrators going to vote? While some are Tory, and will clearly vote that way, some aren't. Are they willing to vote for Ms. Witmer, or will they swallow their pride and vote for Strickland?
2) Will Ms. Witmer's supporters turn out on voting day? It's accepted as common knowledge in the riding that she's obviously going to win. Remember the 1990 election? The fact is that this riding is too close to tell. T. Byers is correct; Ms. Witmer is in a race.
05/24/99 lrs Email:
The fact that Witmer is a cabinet member and especially if the polls hold she should win by at least a few thousand- her signs are now catching up to the Liberals and NDP signs- McGuinty's bad debate will probably hurt here since middle class voters will read the debate reviews in the paper or would have watched the debate.
05/28/99 Voter #2 Email:
If there is one PC candidate who deserves the complete contempt of all decent people in Ontario: it is Witmer. Selfish, arrogant and out of touch with the needs of Ontario. A genuine "let them eat cake" attitude. If the voters of Kitchener- Waterloo opened their ears to what is going on in Ontario and what is being said from their pulpits every Sunday, Witmer would be taken to task and held fully accountable by her constituents. Perchance the voters of thsi particular riding are all insensitive buttheads.
05/29/99 E.W. Email: ewong@odyssey.on.ca
One week before the 1999 Ontario Election, I am amazed at how, in my opinion, the most important issue in the Kitchener-Waterloo Riding is seemingly not being discussed at all. I am, of course, talking about the issue of LEADERSHIP. At both the municipal level and the not-for-profit sector, Strickland has demonstrated an accomplished and successful leadership record in "getting things done." He is also aware of the issues that matter to us most and is actively involved with the community as well. In contrast, Ms. Witmer's past record has revealed her apathy, arrogance and her lack of knowledge of the issues that concern us. Recently, sensing an election, she has suddenly appeared more interested with us. With highly publicized gestures to K-W area hospitals, as one example, she has tried to soften her appearance. But I haven't forgotten! Where was she throughout the previous four years when the teachers' strikes and hospital cuts compromised the well-being of our children? More importantly, where will she be in the next few years if she is re-elected? Clearly, we have to elect the best leader out there for us. We know who he is.
05/29/99 B. Atkinson Email:
My neighbours and other people I've talked to in the riding tend to agree that Strickland's failure to give up his counsel seat is indicative of his motivation for being on the ballot. If it was a real desire to serve his constituency at the provincial level, he would have had no qualms about resigning his counsel seat. It now appears that his bid is nothing but an attempt to grab for power, any power. But just in case, he will not give up the little bit of wannabe power that he has on counsel. Strickland has never regained the trust of the public after the food bank fiasco. This riding will be fought over by the PC's and the NDP with the Libs running a distant third with the Strickland - Duhlton team.
06/01/99 very concerned voter Email:
My poll was probably as scientific as another highly-publicized poll for this riding: I drove through 3 fairly well-off neighborhoods (Beechwood, Westvale, and Beechwood Forest) and counted lawn signs on randomly selected streets (random selection based mostly on swerving to avoid ducks and flying garbage cans). Result? 76 Liberal. 66 Conservative. 4 NDP. 1 FCP. 1 Green. I think this riding may be much closer than the pundits predict.
06/01/99 C.D. Email: memudder@hotmail.com
If signs seen are an indication it would appear that the Liberals should have this one sewn up. I have been out canvassing with Sean- our reception was excellent. I am supporting the Liberals for the first time ever. I am desperate to see the Tories defeated. I feel that Liz is going to be very difficult to defeat but there are many people unhappy with our health care situation. It is not Canadian to be uncaring and unfeeling; I am hoping that the kinder,caring Canada,the one I came to 25years ago, will again be in evidence after these elections.
06/02/99 GCA Email: gandrews@watserv1.uwaterloo.ca
The student, staff & faculty vote at UW and WLU may affect the K-W race significantly. Tuition increases at UW this year (between 9% and 19%, depending on the academic program) are a direct result of Harris government policies. In the first year of the Harris mandate, the 15% cut in government funding to universities injured UW deeply. The University's only alternative to declaring a "financial exigency" (a form of bankruptcy) was the emergency creation of the "Special Early Retirement Plan" for faculty and staff, which saw about 350 faculty and staff leave the University of Waterloo. To sweeten the deal, about 35 million dollars was paid out from the Faculty and Staff pension fund. Harris's policies hurt everyone, and Faculty, staff and students all know that this type of personal sacrifice cannot continue for another four years.

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Last Updated 3rd June 1999

© 1999 Milton Chan, University of Waterloo
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