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5:15 PM 25/12/2005

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11:46 PM 10/05/2005
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Kitchener Centre

Federal Election - 2006 - élection générale

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Steven Cage
Tony Maas
Karen Redman
Martin Suter
Richard Walsh-Bowers

Hon. Karen Redman

2004 Result/Résultats:
Karen Redman
Thomas Ichim
Richard Walsh-Bowers
Karol Vesely
Mark Corbiere

For historical result, please see
2004 Prediction page

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24 12 05 A.S.
Given the respective directions of the Liberal and no-longer-Progressive-Conservative parties, Kitchener Centre may not be the textbook belwether it used to be; or rather, it's more a belwether of where middle-Ontario urban cores are going than where Canada at large is going. That is, Karen Redman, whose touchy-feelyness is tailor-made for a seat like this, might be capable of keeping it while most everything else around it turns blue--especially now that she's eked out a little cabinet profile for herself. Forewarned, though, re illusion vs reality: provincially, the PCs' Wayne Wettlaufer overachieved in victory in '99 and even in defeat in '03. Meanwhile, despite some sleeper claims (including my own) on behalf of "watching" Richard Walsh-Bowers in a seat this urban/"sophisticated"/university-orbited, the NDP *under*achieved in '04--although in that typical SW Ontario pattern, it was still more "efficient" vs. the Liberals (in winning polls et al) than the Tories were. And the will to strategic-vote doesn't make Dipper life any easier now--though it may certainly allow Redman to breathe easier...
18 12 05 EP
More about the Ichims: Julian Ichim is running as the Marxist Leninist Party candidate in Kitchener-Waterloo riding. This is the brother of Thomas, the Conservative candidate in this riding who suffered a humiliating defeat last year in the hands of Karen Redman. Julian made national news in the 2000 campaign when he doused Stockwell Day with chocolate milk. He has also led other disruptive protests in the KW area. During the last election campaign, Julian was sent to BC to avoid embarrassing his brother. I guess that didn't help.
16 12 05 DTC
Kitchener Centre is a mixed riding of urban/suburban areas. The history of this riding and its predecessors has been that of a bell-weather. This riding almost always has gone with the governing party since Confederation. That said, even if the neo-tories 'win' the election, I still wouldn't bet against Redman here. She is well known and liked, approachable, competent and visible. I lived in this riding for most of my life (I'm now in Kitchener-Conestoga) so I know what I'm talking about here.
11 12 05 PFR
Cage has history on his side in terms of two different areas. One is the fondness that Kitchener residents have shown for electing people with a financial background. This can be seen by the two terms that Wayne Wettlaufer (1995-2003) served in Queens Park, with a background in the insurance business. It can also be seen by the fact that the mayor of Kitchener is Carl Zehr is an accountant. Cage has a far more impressive financial backround than either of these men.
Secondly, previously the last person to defeat the former Kitchener mayor Richard Christy was Zehr. That was until Cage defeated Christy and former riding president Lou Mavros with 70% of the vote in the nomination meeting.
09 12 05 Steve G
I agree that the Liberal lead here is too much for the Tories to overcome. Karen Redman was once a Tory back in the Mulroney years who switched to the Liberals and has been an MP since 1993. She's well-respected and generally hardworking, one of the Liberals less likely to demonize those who disagree with her (take a lesson, Mr. Lunn). This riding will be Ms. Redman's for as long as she wants to stay in politics.
08 12 05 JG
I think this riding could be a sleeper for the Conservatives. Karen Redman won a 9,000 vote victory last time over a fellow who was the possibly worst Tory candidate in the country, with the worst run local campaign I've ever seen. That candidate still got 12,000 votes! If Steve Cage, who from what I've seen seems like a competent, inoffensive fellow, can simply collect around 17,000 votes - as was done in all the neighbouring ridings last time around - and the Liberals bleed 3-4000 votes between all other parties, he may just be able to knock off Redman. It's only about a 10% swing. Hardly an impossible task.
That said, I think this seat is a bellwether. Barring a meltdown provincewide, Cambridge and Kitchener-Conestoga are all but locks for the Conservatives, although the Tories have a much better chance of taking Kitchener Centre than they do winning next door in Kitchener-Waterloo, held by the inexplicably popular Andrew Telegdi.
02 12 05 M. Lunn
Yes I do live in Vancouver and yes I plan to vote Liberal this time around, although I went Tory last time around. However, I do know a fair bit about Kitchener as one my uncles is from here. This is a centre-right area that was comfortable with the former Progressive Conservatives, but was never comfortable with the Reform/Alliance and many people see the Conservatives as a continuation of the Reform/Alliance. As for the local candidate being moderate, so what. Most people vote based on their leader and party platform, not local candidate. In my riding, Vancouver Centre, the Conservative candidate voted NO to the merger and was openly gay, yet he still got clobbered with only 19% of the populat vote. Besides, common sense dictates that no party is going to win a riding they lost by over 20% last time around. If the Tories pick up any Kitchener ridings, it will be Kitchener-Conostoga, which at least includes a good chunk of rural land.
29 11 05 JM
Whew! "Republicans of the North"/"Nutbars"? At least M Lunn isn't accusing Conservatives of being kitten haters!
While Redman is a very likeable person, it should be acknowledged that she has never had a real challenge at the federal level. Upon the retirement of John English in 1997, Jean Chretian handed the Kitchener Centre Liberal Party nomination to Redman without allowing any challengers. Her first 2 elections were against the split PC and Reform/Alliance when the Liberals swept most seats in Ontario and the 2004 Conservative candidate Ichim was perhaps their weakest in Ontario. Cage won a hotly contested Conservative nomination in May against Lou Mavros, a long time past Riding Association President, and Richard Christy, former Mayor of Kitchener, with 70% support on the first ballot. As a long time former Progressive Conservative, Cage is a highly respected moderate Conservative. Growth and redistribution has made Kitchener Centre more suburban than urban in recent years. There was not a single new public tech company created in KW between 1998 and 2003 - sounds like a tech bust to me, although there has been recent pickup in the local tech sector led by RIM. Both Mark R and M Lunn should do some local research before entering their own biased perspective. On another note I see a M Lunn write in the Globe "letters" that he"s from Vanc. Is this the same M Lunn. Funny how he is such an expert in SW Ontario. One would ask is he the true author.
27 11 05 Rever
"Cage has been working very hard in preparing for the upcoming election and has been the only candidate who has been door knocking pre-writ."
I don't know why you would bother to make this statement, but, fyi, Richard Walsh-Bowers has also been door knocking pre-writ. In fact the NDP in this riding have a very strong team in place. If the NDP continues to make gains in Ontario, Walsh-Bowers could very well become the MP for this urban riding.
23 11 05 Mark R.
When drawing a conclusion about the state of the trends and past electoral results, you need to look beyond the partisan comments and look at a combination of the histories of the impact of individual popular MP's. Kitchener-Waterloo has become very prosperous from around the manufacturing meltdown that began in 1990 until the tech boom - which never really went bust in K/W like it did in Ottawa. Contrary to the comments made by PFR, I have worked on MANY election campaigns in my adult life including for some of the candidates that PFR mentioned in his last post. People in Greater Kitchener-Waterloo tend to elect those that they trust - and over the years, they have elected MP's from ALL of the 3 major parties. If the Conservatives were to win Kitchener Centre - then Jack Layton and the NDP would be the 3rd largest seat-holders in the House of Commons. The Liberals would have to crater off the edge which is not likely to happen. Karen Redman is a popular MP and it is unlikely that she would lose even if the trends were against the party in general. Conservative support in Ontario, particularly in urban areas like Kitchener-Waterloo, is 10 - 15% less than the Liberals. Comparing old PC results vs. the new Conservative party is neither a fair or accurate predictor of how people will vote. If any seats in this area change parties it will be Kitchener-Wilmot-Wellesley-Woolwich flipping to the Conservatives from the Liberals, and that would be it.
19 11 05 PFR
While Mark R. is correct in stating that the Kitchener Centre riding was created in 1997, it did however consist of 75% of the old Kitchener riding which John Reimer won three times. In addition, Mark R. conviently ignored the fact that this riding was redistributed again in 2004. That saw much of the urban and less Conservative area in the Southwest part of the riding be redistributed to Kitchener-Conestoga. In addition, they were given an additional suburban area of the Kitchener-Waterloo riding which consists largely of swing voters. After the redistribution this riding consists of a greater mix of suburban and urban areas. To state that this is a strictly urban riding is crazy and to compare this to Metropolitain Toronto tells me that Mark R. clearly does not know much about Kitchener Centre.
As for the next piece of false information from Mark R. it will not take a giant Conservative landslide to turn this riding blue. After all Reimer won this riding in 1979 in a Tory minority. In 1980 when the Liberals won a majority, Reimer came within a few hundred votes of holding onto his seat. Now 1979 and 1980 were hardly Tory landslide elections so I find it interesting that Mark R. states that it would take a Diefenbaker type landslide in 1958 for this to competitive.
Next Mark R. goes on to say that essentially the fact that Reimer won this riding three times is meaningless due to the fact that he won as a Progressive Conservative and not as a Conservative. What Mark R. likely does not know is that like other Southwestern area Members of Parliament such as Gary Schellenberger, Dave MacKenzie and Michael Chong, Steven Cage had been a long time Progressive Conservative prior to the merger of the two right of centre parties. His moderate conservatism is working to win over support from voters many of which have not voted for a right of centre federal party since 1988. This while at the same time keeping the right wing base solidly behind him which Thomas Ichim was not able to do in 2004.
As for Mark R.'s claim that Karen Redman is safe because of her "prominent" position in Ottawa this is a weak argument. First it must be noted that she is the Government Whip and not a Cabinet Minister. If she was meant to a Cabinet Minister it would have happened already. After all Southwestern Ontario is not exactly flush with federal Cabinet Ministers.
Secondly, if the voters were to simply vote for who has the best shot of making to Cabinet they would go with Cage whose vast business experience make him much more prepared and qualified than Redman who is simply a career politician.
Cage has been working very hard in preparing for the upcoming election and has been the only candiate who has been door knocking pre-writ. All of this hard work pays rich dividents once it is election time in terms of increased support. Redman on the other hand has been almost invisible.
All of this will add up to a Conservative victory on election day.
18 11 05 M. Lunn
Okay, lets get realistic here. Yes this area was traditionally a conservative area, but that was the PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVES, not the CONSERVATIVES (AKA REFORM PARTY III/REPUBLICANS OF THE NORTH). Urban Ontario cannot stomach Stephen Harper's perceived hard right conservatism, but rather prefer a more moderate brand of conservatism that the Old PCs had. I think the Tories may take this back someday, but not until they choose a more moderate leader and get rid of the nutbars within the party. Until then Karen Redman will keep her seat.
18 11 05 joe
It is Mark R. who has the wrong information. First, over 75% of Kitchener Centre was in the old Kitchener Riding won by Conservative John Reimer in 1979, 1984 and 1988 and Conservatives held every Riding in the Kitchener area as recently as 1984-1993. Second, Ms. Redman is not a cabinet minister, she is Liberal Government Whip. So, to state that Ms. Redman being elevated to the highest level in the Liberal Government is misleading. Third, The Hon Walter Mclean was a Conservative cabinet minister in the Mulroney Government, not the Clark Government. The last Liberal cabinet minister from the KW area was W.D. Euler in 1940 - some 65 years ago!
Conservative Steven Cage should do very well with centrist voters against a left-leaning liberal like Karen Redman. While Redman has been stuck in the House with her Whip duties, I understand that Cage has a very strong organization working with him and has been the only Candidate in Kitchener Centre actively canvassing door to door during the pre-writ period. This head start should be an advantage if we face a winter election when canvassing will be more difficult. I see a Conservative pick up.
14 11 05 Mark R.
Some of the previous posters have wrong information about the history of this riding. The first election fought in this riding was in '97 after re-distribution. This riding is not at all conservative in nature. This riding is more like Metropolitan Toronto because of high growth and ethnicity. When the Conservatives did win this riding, it was when it was the Progressive Conservative party. Mr. Harper's brand of conservatism does not sell in urban Ontario, especially in places like downtown Kitchener. The current MP, Karen Redman, is very well known and liked. She has been elevated to the highest level in the current government, of any previous MP from Kitchener-Waterloo area since Walter McLean was a short-term cabinet minister in the Clark government. For Karen Redman to lose, Harper would have to have a landslide not seen since Diefenbaker in '58 - this isn't going to happen. Karen Redman will be returned to the House of Commons.
16 05 05 PT
Ichim was not the ideal candidate for the riding in 2004. I believe a lot of senior people in the riding bailed on him during the campaign. Steven Cage is a great candidate and will really give Karen Redman a run for the seat. I think same sex marriage is a big issue in the riding and will drive voters. Karen is also closely tied to the mess in the House since she is the whip. I think Steven can pull it off by 2-3%
11 05 05 PFR
Last year Karen Redman won this riding by a large margion. However, it will not be a walk in the park for her park this time. Thomas Ichim was a very weak candidate who caused the entire board to resign in protest in 2004. This year's candidate Steve Cage has not only rebuilt the riding association but will serve as the greatest threat the liberals have faced since John Reimer's days as a Member of Parliament. Cage's name is very well known and respected in the community. This is a bellweather that always seems to go to the winning party. After all Reimer won this riding in 1979, 1984 and 1988 under the Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney governments. This riding will go Conservative by 500 votes.
09 05 05 M. Lunn
Traditionally Kitchener was a conservative area, but since this is an urban riding and Stephen Harper's conservatism doesn't sell well in most urban ridings, Karen Redman should have no trouble being re-elected. She is generally a left-leaning liberal which should help capture some of the NDP votes. The Conservatives would be better to focus on Kitchener-Conestoga, which they have a shot at picking up and on holding Cambridge. The conservatives are gaining in the suburbs, but are still a long ways from breaking into any major urban areas.

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