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|William Angus Millar
Don Valley West
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|The voting history of this riding ~ formerly Broadview-Greenwood ~ is overwhelmingly socialist. It is one of the N.D.P.'s best shots in Ontario, but I believe they will blow it like they did in 1997. Why? because the only way for a New Democrat to win here is to do so at the expense of Liberal votes but their federal platform is too marginal to attract the soft Liberal vote they need. The Liberals will win the way they usually do in this country...by default.
|This should be a strong riding for the NDP, having held it in the past. But in 1997 the New Democrats couldn't take it with a strong campaign from Jack Layton, a very high-profile local councilor. This time, they have Paula Turtle, a lower-profile labour lawyer who is late off the mark. If Dennis Mills and the Liberals lose this one, it would be a "Turtle and Hare" story indeed.
|A maverick's maverick's maverick, as an active constituency rep Dennis Mills could trip up *both* NDP *and* Ref/CA at their own game. But as Bob Rae's old fed base, T-D (ridiculously renamed from Broadview-Greenwood) has fire-breathing NDP grassroots, even more so than its neighbour Beaches-East York. Probably knowing it was semi-futile, the NDP went at Mills with councillor extraordinaire Jack Layton in '97. They'll try again. They just might do it, even to indestructible Dennis. But most likely only if the NDP opens up a windfall of Toronto seats a la Alexa's "Halifax Bubble" of '97.
|This could be a close one. Mills has a well-deserved reputation as a flake, has done little for the riding despite his knack for grandstanding and has no prospect of a cabinet post. The NDP has a history here and is well organized, with Jack Layton serving municipally and Marilyn Churley provincially. The riding is home to many artists/journalists/academics sympathetic to left causes who can be motivated by a credible candidate. A lot would have to go right for her, but Turtle could pull it off.
|Dennis Mills may have a "well deserved reputation as a flake," as was mentioned above, but he has not had any substantial challenge from the NDP, which once saw this riding as theirs forever -- except for Jack Layton, who had once been the NDP's best hope but still lost. The largely immigrant community votes left of centre and in place of a strong NDP candidate has been sticking with the liberals for three or four elections in a row now. Paula Turtle is the only non-Liberal who has signs much in evidence, but she has little to no profile in the area. Moreover, the riding has been redrawn since the old days of NDP power, and much of the new area is not NDP. Put your money on Mills keeping his seat.
|The boundaries for Toronto Danforth are the same as the provincial riding of Broadview Danforth, which returned the NDP's Churley in 1999. I've lived here for some time, and I'm sensing considerable voter apathy towards Mills. Many are wondering what he's done for us in his 12 years in Ottawa. I have a hunch lots of centre-left voters are looking for an opportunity to shake him, without fear of somehow abetting the Alliance. Turtle's campaign has been stressing Mills' illiberal views, and telling potential strategic voters that there's no chance that a vote for the NDP could split the vote and elect an Alliance member. And if the Liberal numbers hold up nationally, expect a lot of under-motivated Grits here to stay home. Yes, Layton lost to Mills in 97, but Layton came with baggage, and is a somewhat divisive figure. His high profile as Toronto's leftist lightening rod plays well south of Danforth, which he serves municipally, but in the more cautious East York portion of the riding that handicapped him. Turtle may not be as well known as Layton, but I think in this case that works to her advantage. Add to that, a highly motivated and well organized campaign team (she's winning the sign war here, anyway), and this is one to watch.
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Last Updated 22 November 2000
© 2000 Milton Chan
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