1999 Ontario Provincial Election
Riding-by-Riding Prediction

Current Prediction:
Riding Profile:

Liberal Party:
John Wilkinson
Progressive Conservative Party:
Bert Johnson MPP
New Democratic Party:
Walter Vernon
Family Coalition Party:
Pat Bannon
Freedom Party:
Robert Smink

Incumbent (old riding composition):
Perth (100%):
Bert Johnson
Middlesex (25%):
Bruce Smith

Member of Parliament:
John Richardson

Surrounding Ridings:
London North Centre
London West

Population: 91 496
Avg Household Income 48 793
Language (Home)
English 87 175
Submitted Information
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Too Close
03/13/99 OEP Email:
John Wilkinson is an excellent Liberal candidates running is a miserable riding. In the last election, Liberal lost in Middlesex (second) by over 5,000 votes and came in third in Perth. I think the Liberal is wasting one of their better candidate in an almost impossible riding. However, Wilkinson may make the race closer than before.
04/18/99 Mike O'Brien Email: l.obrien@nf.sympatico.ca
John Richardson can make the difference here with just a little help for the provincial Liberal candidate. I think he'll do that. The tories won't keep this one.
04/18/99 L.O. Email: petercashin@yahoo.com
Liberals will be able to seize this one on their candidate alone. Before the PC and NDP landslides, this place had soome liberal roots. Whoever forms government, the landslide force that put the PC in there now isn't there anymore for any party. The Liberals will win with PC's & NDP probably close for second place.
04/18/99 A.S. Email: adma@interlog.com
It isn't necessarily an "impossible" riding for the Liberals--Hugh Edighoffer, remember, held Perth for years until 1990, usually by enormous margins. And when the Grits came in third in '95, it was because Karen Haslam was better than some NDPers at maintaining her grassroots--she virtually swept Stratford's southern wards, for instance. But this is still predominantly rural, agricultural and small-town SW Ontario, Bert Johnson's got good rep as a former Listowel mayor and he's escaped Al McLean mud as Deputy Speaker, and he's now got even more rural belt to counteract Stratford's blue-collar and Shakespearean-arty "urbans". So the odds are in his favour, though I agree that without any popular NDP incumbents to kick around, the Liberals have a better crack at it this time.
04/24/99 J S Email:
I think that John Wilkinson has a real shot at this riding. I have met all three candidates of the riding. John is articulate and sincere. The incumbent, Bert Johnson, has proved to be a PC yes man. When hospitals were threatened with closure here Bert toed the party line. He kept his profile low. He has also engaged in education bashing. When schools were threatened with closure he denied it even though his party's funding formula dictated the closures. Bert enjoys his position in the party and is not willing to rock the boat. When the party lies, as it has on many issues, Bert backs the party. He claims to be unhappy with some of the government ads but does not feel that the spending of millions of tax dollars on their re election ads is wrong. I know of several Bert Johnson supporters who will vote Liberal this time.
04/25/99 J.M. Email:
I think that the Liberals will take this one. It will take some hard fighting but I think its possible. John Wilkinson is a significantly better public speaker than Bert. Bert hasn't done anything special for the riding, he's just acted as Mike's puppet for the past four years. He also proved competent at the Harris art of school board, student, and teacher bashing. He has consistently declined invitations to almost every ceremonial School board function, including the innaugural ceremonies of the Avon-Maitland board. He once told me directly that it was the goal of the government to use unqualified teachers in the classroom and to discourage students from post-secondary education in fields other than business. The dollar seems to be almost an idol to the Harris cult.
04/26/99 Leith R.A. Coghlin. Email: lcoghlin@home.com
This is the most typical Tory riding in the entire province. Bert Johnson is the former mayor of Listowel and a popular local man. His personality and his ability to connect with people is something all politicians wish they could have. I don't care how strong the Liberal candidate may be, this riding should be renamed PCM from PM - PC Massively. I come from a Tory family which has been established in Perth for a century and a half, and my grandparents have been longtime local Tory organisers and this riding's blood runs True Tory Blue! To victory Bert!
05/09/99 G. Brown Email: georgbrown@excite.com
I was in the Stratford area yesterday and saw dozens and dozens of lawn signs for the liberal candidate. It appears that he is well organized and funded and ready for this campaign. I saw two for the PC incumbent.
05/24/99 Email:
I was in the Stratford last week. Johnson support is there, it is just quiet. People, remember that Stratford is a small part of the riding, and while it is the largest population centre, it is still not the whole riding. The rural areas are Tory fortresses. Stratford is not as Liberally inclined as people may think. I polled several areas and often people that were hosting a Wilkinson lawn sign were sandwiched between Tory supporters. Again Johnson support is there, it's just quiet.
05/24/99 Brad Nicpon Email: nicpon@execulink.com
It may be that there is a fair degree of Liberal Support around St. Mary's and the more urban area, but most of this riding is rural, and traditional Conservative. I was driving through part of this region on my way north for the long weekend, and most farms are bosting Bert Johnson signs. I didn't see a single Liberal sign other than a couple at the traditional street corners on public property. Now, rural support may not be quite enough by itself, but since the urban areas are not going to go 100% Liberal, I think any PC support will be bolstered by rural support leading to Bert Johnson's re-election. But we'll see.
05/25/99 Jeff Carter Email: jd2carte@uwaterloo.ca
Bert Johnson will have support from rural Middlesex, but remember, he's from Listowel, which is near one end of a riding which is somewhere around 100 km long. Same problem for Vernon, who lives at the other end, in Ilderton. Wilkinson's from Stratford, which explains the relative abundance of Liberal signs in that area. Further north, PC signs abound. This one's currently too close to make a prediction on. If Vernon runs a strong enough campaign to pull in some Liberal voters, Johnson wins.
05/25/99 A. Email:
Bert Johnson is a popular local politician and would probably be re-elected regardless of the provincial polls. The Liberals are trying desperately to win this riding but it's very unlikely they'll pick up any new rural seats, and this sure won't be one of them.
05/27/99 JE Email:
If anyone has been to any ONE of the public forums and debates, they would realize that John WIlkinson is the best person to represent this riding at Queen's Park. He is very well spoken, sincere and honest about every aspect of his campaign. He has even gone on record against the negative ad campaign that his party has decided to carry out. This shows that he truly is "working for eveyone". Bert Johnson can learn alot from Mr. Wilkinson. I have been a Tory supporter for many years, and yet I must admit that Mr. Wilkinson is truly the best person for the job.
05/27/99 Beacon Herald Email:
Candidates field farming questions by Brian Shypula
Observers agreed afterward that no clear winner emerged in last night's forum, although Mr. Wilkinson's passion on education issues and in describing why he was seeking office touched a chord with some in the audience. "I'm more impressed with Wilkinson than I had been before. He was more sincere than I thought he'd be."... Wilkinson spoke with his heart and his head. He really knew what he was talking about."
05/27/99 Email:
It appears as though the PC's have over estimated their standing in the rural areas of the riding. The agricultural debate illustrated that Wilkinson is be far the most intellegent candidate and has the greatest potential to be an effective representative.
05/29/99 Joe Email:
Bert is strong in the north end of the riding, that's his home area. However, his support even here is not as strong as last time. If Stratford votes big for the Liberal, and it looks like they will, Wilkinson has a real shot at winning the riding.
In a previous submission someone noted the lack of Liberal signs in the north end of the riding. They went up on the fourth day of the election campaing and were almost all stolen overnight. They have since been replaced. This was all documented in THE LISTOWEL BANNER. The difference between Johnson and Wilkinson is best seen at an all candidates debate. Wilkinson answers from his heart Johnson reads his answers. Bert is afraid to say anything that is not sctipted.
I think Bert is starting to worry. He is attacking teachers again.
05/30/99 Brad Nicpon Email: nicpon@execulink.com
It seems to me that some of the liberal supporters believe that Wilkinson will win based on his calibre at public forums; however, I ask them: How many of the voters in Perth-Middlesex do you think actually watched these forums? I have been to few of these candidate forums, and in all cases they are populated by at most a sparse 50 people, most of whom are decided part supporters in attendance to cheer on their own candidate. It's illogical to judge the outcome of the riding by something like a candidate's meeting or public forum, especially in this election. It's fairly widely accepted that people will be voting based on party loyalty or leader loyalty (or anti-party loyalty), and Perth-Middlesex is known to be PC party-loyal. Just from driving through the riding you can see it. Wilkinson may have a solid support in Stratford, but that is no where near enough to overcome the rural PC dominance.
05/31/99 lrs Email:
perfect Lib candidate for McGuinty's Blue Lite campaign but if rural vote massively Tory - then likely PC victory
05/31/99 A.F. Email:
The PC's do indeed have many signs in the rural areas of the riding. However, close inspection betrays a strategy of deception. Any lawn that posts a PC sign will have two erected on the same lot. Moreover, most of the PC signs are on public land and illustrates an attempt to overpower the other parties with an abundance of signs. The PC are trying to buy the riding! Wilkinson's signs are almost all on private land and they have long ago run out of available signs. The funding inequity between the PC incumbant and Liberal candidate is not an indication of Tory support.
06/01/99 B. Haynes Email:
As I watch the all candidates meetings I believe that John Wilkenson has by far woed the voters of Perth/Middlesex. The problem with this is that is all that he has done. I believe that this riding is too close to call. Bert has his traditional support in the Listowel area, but everyone that lives in the riding knows that if you don't win Stratford you don't have a chance. The NDP are now in the last week of the election pulling out all the stoppers, they are going to there main supporters the blue collar workers. And believe me the support is there. If only they get out and vote we could see a very close three way race.
06/01/99 Brad Nicpon Email: nicpon@execulink.com
I disagree with the comment that most of the PC signs are two on the same lot or on public land. As I have said, perhaps Wilkinson has some urban support around Stratford area, but driving through rural Perth I did not see one (1) liberal sign on private land, and I also did not see land with two PC signs on it. The same effect is present in the North-West corner of London (Hyde Park Area). While I did see one or two liberals signs, they were significantly outnumbered by PC signs on private land. In fact, almost every other house had a PC sign.
06/02/99 B. Haynes Email:
Vernon has gained some momentum, but not enough to win unfortunatly. I believe it will be a Liberal win, by a small amount.

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Last Updated 2nd June 1999

© 1999 Milton Chan, University of Waterloo
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