1999 Ontario Provincial Election
Riding-by-Riding Prediction

Current Prediction:
Riding Profile:

Liberal Party:
Fahimeh Mortazavi
Progressive Conservative Party:
David Young
New Democratic Party:
Mikael Swayze
Green Party:
Elizabeth Rhodes
Family Coalition Party:
Jim Conrad
Freedom Party:
Vaughan Byrnes
Natural Law Party:
Claude Viau
Bernadette Michael

Incumbent (old riding composition):
Oriole (27%):
David Caplan
Willowdale (88.7%):
Hon. Charles Harnick
Wilson Heights (19.6%):
Monte Kwinter

Member of Parliament:
Hon. Jim Peterson

Surrounding Ridings:
Don Valley East
Don Valley West
York Centre

Population: 103 468
Avg Household Income 66 033
Language (Home)
English 77 010
Chinese 9 825
Submitted Information
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02/15/99 JF Email:
Current MPP Charles Harnick has won the last 2 elections here and is the Attorney General. People in Willowdale are a stubborn bunch and many pay high taxes to live north of downtown. A Liberal or NDP government is arguably not on the agenda in this area. However, the Liberals may make it close if they can gain more female support, something the current government is lacking.
02/22/99 Andy Lehrer Email: 3arb@qlink.queensu.ca
I lived in Willowdale for about 10 years... federally it's been a solid Liberal riding since 1988. Provincially, Harnick was able to sneak in in 1990 due to the unpopularity of the incumbunt and the rise in the NDP vote. Willowdale's often been considered a "bell-weather riding" and I think if Liberal fortunes are on the upswing they should be able to grab it. If the Tories lose the election or are reduced to a minority it'll be because of ridings like Willowdale going Liberal. If the Tories keep Willowdale, it's likely indicative of the government's re-election.
03/05/99 I.MacFarlane Email: imacfarlane@accel.net
Willowdale has the tradition of being a bell weather riding if the liberals seem to be taking the city, region and province the liberals will take it. The has been some uproar over education in the riding since several area school were on the to be closed list. It will be a tough fight but unless the liberals are seen to be forming the next government it may remain a tory seat unlike most in toronto.
03/25/99 Email:
A lot of North York Liberals, along with Jim Peterson's formidable machine will focus on putting this riding back in the Liberal column. This is the Liberal Party's most likely gain in North York.
03/29/99 I.D.M. Email:
Charles Harnick announced today March 29th (according to a Toronto TV station CFTO) that he will NOT be running in the next election. I think this changes the situation and will allow the liberal candidate to win the riding since the advantages of imcumbancy are no longer present for the tories.
03/30/99 Toronto Star Email:
Charles Harnick says he'll be leaving politics ...Joel Ruimy
03/30/99 AL Email: 3arb@qlink.queensu.ca
I've been told that Charles Harnick is not running for re-election. If this is so this riding is definitely up for grabs.
04/09/99 CNG Email:
With Harnick out of the way, I'm sure the Liberals will be targetting this seat. However, it's natural Tory territory and they'll be hard-pressed to lose it. I wonder if Norm Gardner (gun-packin' City Councillor and 1997 federal candidate) will run for the nomination?
04/08/99 NOW Email:
Cooking up a Tory defeat By Enzo di Matteo
Attorney General Charles Harnick announced last week that he won't be seeking re-election.
The void left by Harnick will be a huge one for the Tories to fill, considering that his personal popularity, not his Tory connections -- he was first elected to office during the NDP sweep -- is what propelled him into office.
He's also the only Jewish minister in Harris's cabinet.
Whoever does replace Harnick -- a nomination meeting is scheduled for April 12 -- will have to deal with the backlash fuelled by hospital closings and concerns about health-care cuts in the riding, which counts the third-largest proportion of seniors (17 per cent) in the province.
The Grits have dispatched Fahimeh Mortazavi, a former civil servant whose ace in the hole is federal Grit Jim Peterson, who's held the riding for all but a brief period since 80. Close call.
04/14/99 A.L. Email: 3arb@qlink.queensu.ca
Norm Gardner is not the saviour some Tories might think he is. For one thing, his electoral record isn't as impressive as it seems. As a Metro Councillor he was acclaimed or faced token opposition for most of his career. As a federal Tory candidate in Willowdale he did dismally in 1997 and in the last municipal election where each ward elected 2 councillors, the high profile Gardner came a poor and distant second behind left leaning, North York city councillor John Filion when everyone expected Gardner to easily top the polls given his high profile. Gardner simply is nowhere near as popular with his consituents as he is with the Toronto Sun or the police lobby. Given the bruises from his last two electoral runs I doubt Gardner is going to risk futher humiliation by running in the provincial election. If he does, he's going to have a hard time of it.
04/15/99 A.L. Email: 3arb@qlink.queensu.ca
According to the Willowdale PC website the tory nomination meeting will be held on April 19th. The only declared candidate is David Young, a former North York school trustee. He has Stormin' Norm Gardner's endorsement so it seems that Gardner is giving this race a pass. Without a name candidate to replace Harnick and with anti-Tory forces converging on Willowdale as a vulnerable riding (and with no chance of a three way split, the NDP has never been on the map in Willowdale) it looks more and more like Willowdale is going Liberal.
04/17/99 A.S. Email: adma@interlog.com
Don't know. As purportedly "safe" Tory seats go, Willowdale's singularly ambiguous; yet despite Jim Peterson, it's equally uncertain in the depth of its Liberal support. (And Peterson lost a lot of his best Bayview-Steeles territory through federal redistribution in '97.) When Harnick became one of 1990's three Toronto Tories, it was more by his having (in a three-way rematch from '87) the luck of the draw in an anti-Liberal election and a so-so riding for NDP support--in fact, if one examines the results that year, Willowdale was a veritable crazy-quilt of polls veering all over the political map, with only a few neighbourhoods like Bayview Village showing exceptionally marked Tory leanings. (The new boundaries take in the north end of Elinor/David Caplan's territory and a corner from Monte Kwinter, giving the notional 1990 figure to the Liberals.) Harnick's retirement might appear as a blow to and/or bad omen for PC fortunes in Toronto, but if the horizon starts brightening come election time, a not-too-high-profile candidate like David Young could turn out to be refreshing--and Mortazavi isn't exactly a "star" Liberal, either. Another thing to keep in mind: Bayview Village is Mike Harris's "home" neighbourhood when he's in Toronto (a factor that can work either way).
04/18/99 Mike O'Brien Email:
There is a lot of frustration with government in this region. The tory won't be able to hang on to this one. Liberals have a strong candidate. The NDP have a fair shot here too, Swayze has anti-govt. momentum.
04/20/99 Email:
David Young is a candidate of excetional integrity and honesty. He will be very appealing to voters, with his experience in education, and his personality is sparkling. He may not be a big-name, but he's going to be a great candidate. It'll be close, but unless the NDP runs a total stiff, Willowdale will probably remain PC.
04/21/99 R.C. Email:
One of the few Tory locks in Toronto. Apparantly most area Liberals are furious at Fahimeh Mortazavi for "stealing" the nomination from a local school trustee whose name right now eludes me. You see the provincial Liberals have this quaint rule that says that you can hand in one membership from outside the riding for every nine memberships you hand in from inside the riding. I am told that she handed in lots of bogus memberships so that she could hand in a bunch of memberships from Iranian friends of hers from outside the riding. The riding association was not amused, as they know that she is a complete non-entity in the riding.
Had the Liberals snared one of the Liberal local councilors or trustees I'd say they would have a chance but alas it wasn't to be. Meanwhile the Tories got David Young, the next best person to Charles Harnick.
David is a former area school trustee and Vice-chair of the North York District School Board who is known for, among other things, refusing to accept a $12,000 severence package on the disolution of the school board, instead he donated the money to local schools. He was consistantly given very high marks by the local papers for his performance as a trustee.
Add that to the fact that the only time the riding was not won by a Tory provincially since time imemoriam is in the sweep '87 Liberal mega-sweep. In '90 it was one of only three seats to go Tory in Toronto. Chalk this one up to the Tories.
04/23/99 A.L. Email: 3arb@qlink.queensu.ca
R.C. has forgotten about Phil Givens who was the Liberal MPP for Armordale (western part of Willowdale) in the 70s beating none other than Tory candidate Mel Lastman in 1975. The Tories only won in 1990 because of a record high NDP vote which took votes away from the Liberals and the relatively large Jewish community in the riding which supported community member Harnick but usually vote Liveral. They won in 1995 on the strength of Harnick as an incumbunt and the Tories provincially (as well as the Jewish vote). The Jewish vote will go back to the Liberals this time.
The riding Liberals may well be divided but that is nothing new and didn't prevent them from winning the riding in 1987 and almost winning the riding in 1985. (Incidentally, my guess is the former school trustee you refer to is Shelley Stillman). To call Willowdale a "lock" is absurd. It is very much a swing riding and given the fact that it's now open and the plummeting support for the Tories in Toronto it's very likely to go Liberal.
05/03/99 Paul Kossta Email:
As President of the Willowdale PLA, I am very upset at the bald lies that are being presented on this site by our Tory opponents. Fahimeh Mortazavi won the nomination of our association because she worked hard for it. She won the nomination in a fair and open process. And Willowdale Liberals are completely united and in support of her candidacy. She will win this riding for the Liberal Party and will be an outstanding MPP for the people of Wilowdale.
05/03/99 R.C. Email:
Armordale was a VERY different riding from Willowdale. Amoung other things it did not contain the Bayview Village area where the Tories pick up 60-70% of the vote. The latest round of redistribution only helps the Tories more, for proof look at an article in the Hill Times back before the last federal election where Jim Peterson complains that the riding was "gerrymandered" to favour the Tories. Now federally it didn't matter much, but provincially the Liberals are as done as dinner in this riding. If you look at the areas that Willowdale picks up from Wilson Heights and Oriole, you'll notice that they actually favour the Tories. Oh, I especially liked the previous author's idea that Jewish people in Willowdale will flock to the Liberals (who are running an Iranian) from the Tories (who are running, you guessed it, a Jewish person) - fat chance.
05/06/99 A.L. Email: 3arb@qlink.queensu.ca
Jews in Ontario have been spooked by the news that the Tory's pollster asked Thornhill voters whether they'd vote for a "Jewish candidate." This does not help the Tories among Jewish voters and will not help in Willowdale.
05/07/99 R.C. Email:
Every day it gets worse for Mortazavi. The day before yesterday Mel Lastman endorsed David Young. He is one of only three Tories in Toronto that Mel is endorsing. Oh, incidentally, on a bad day Mel polls about 85% in North York, Willowdale is his home riding. She simply is not a credible candidate, and everybody knows it.
05/10/99 J.M. Email:
Hey A.L. - News Flash: The "Jewish Candidate" thing is ancient history. I personally do not believe that it will have any impact among Jewish voters in Willowdale. If Mayor Mel (a Jew) can endorse Tory David Young (also a Jew) then I'd say everything is fine and dandy in Willowdale for the Jewish and non-Jewish voting public!
Mr. Young is going to win this riding through his intergrity and a lot of hard work. Willowdale will once again send a Tory to Queen's Park.
05/10/99 J.M. Email:
As for Jim Conrad as the FC Party candidate - this is the bigest joke (or insult) depending on your point of view that this riding has seen in quite some time. Castrilli has nothing on this guy in terms of opportunism. He'd join a group of lemmings running (off the cliff) for office if he thought he could cause an upset! Nothing is beyond him.
05/11/99 Marco Anglesio Email: mpa@the-wire.com
I'd have to agree with Andy.
Admittedly, I only moved to Willowdale a year ago, but I would say that the liberals have at least a shot in Willowdale. Possibly even a strong shot, since Young doesn't seem to have any great name recognition (nor is he doing especially well in postering or signing). I don't think that the prior comments regarding the ethnic backgrounds of the liberal candidate (of Iranian descent) and the conservative (of Jewish) are on the ball; if anything, the swing vote in the riding will be cantonese- or mandarin-speaking.
Willowdale is a prosperous community, but more than anything a community of immigrants; that gives the Liberals a boost in what, I believe, would be ordinarily a core Conservative riding.
05/12/99 EC Smith Email:
Mel Lastman has little if any influence outside his own realm of city politics. That is why his past attempts to run provinically have failed. The fact that his declaration of support hardly received any notice in the major city newspapers is another clear indictation of this. Lastman himself refused to repeat the statement in any other interview since and is now reluctant to discuss it.
05/14/99 AL Email: 3arb@qlink.queensu.ca
RC and the other Tories have forgotten that a good 1/4 of Oriole is now in Willowdale (along with a good share of another solidly Liberal riding, Wilson Heights). If Willowdale weren't already a bellweather riding, that fact certainly confirms it. Calling Willowdale a safe Tory seat is sheer fantasy. Unless Harris can maintain or even increase his support Willowdale is in jeopardy
05/21/99 A Williams Email:
Willowdale is clearly a swing or bellweather riding, with the exception of 1990 it has most often gone with the party that ends up in government with a minority government looking more likely this riding could easily go either way (liberal or tory) I give the edge to the liberals overall however.

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Last Updated 22nd May 1999

© 1999 Milton Chan, University of Waterloo
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