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St. Catharines
Federal Election - 2006 - élection générale

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Jeff Burch
Christian Heritage
Bill Bylsma
Elaine Couto
Rick Dykstra
Jim Fannon
Walt Lastewka

Hon. Walt Lastewka

2004 Result/Résultats:
Walt Lastewka
Leo Bonomi
Ted Mouradian
Jim Fannon
Linda Klassen
Jane Elizabeth Paxton
Elaine Couto

For historical result, please see
2004 Prediction page

Authorized by the Official Agent for Rick Dykstra

19 01 06 Marto
Like I have been sying momentum is with Dykstra - please see the quote from Today's Toronto SUN
Blizzard in the Toronto Sun today

"In the Niagara Peninsula where the Tories are already strong in places like Niagara West-Glanbrook, the race to watch is St. Catharines, where Tory Rick Dykstra, a young councillor, is expected to wallop incumbent Grit Walt Lastewka.

Dykstra is a former assistant to Harris-era cabinet minister John Baird, who himself appears to be coasting to victory in Ottawa West-Nepean."
Oh - And in case Frog Mouth is interested - Harper is Coming here again today for an event!!
Put this one in the Tory Win Column.
19 01 06 Nick
Chicken Wing Charlie really does not know what he is talking about. Rigby was endorsed by the former mayor, Al Unwin, as the candidate best able to keep St. Catharines out of the grip of "GTAism." This endorsement caused a flock of people to move over to the Rigby camp. Rick Dykstra was otherwise a very popular city councilor. In addition, St. Catharines has had some of the highest vote counts for the Reform Party in 93 and 97, and the Canadian Alliance in 2000, widely considered to be one of the first ridings to go Green should the party have a breakthrough in Ontario. In addition, there is always a strong Christian Heritage/Family Coalition showing in this riding, even to the point where the FCP was leading the riding back in 1995 for a short while during the provincial election. As I stated previously, St. Catharines residents always vote with the government, with the exception of the 1972 and 1980 elections - oddly enough, both of these opposition MPs were Conservative, not Liberal. Jim Bradley does hang on, not because he's a Liberal but because he's Jim Bradley. Were it not for him, St. Catharines would have easily elected a no-name Tory backbencher just as the other two other provincial St. Catharines ridings (St. Catharines-Brock and Lincoln) had done. Walt Lastewka is not Jim Bradley, and will have no branding other than "Liberal MP" to hold on to come election day. Stephen Harper is at the Quality tonight, his second visit to the riding. He wouldn't be here if there were no gains to be made in Niagara.
My opinion on who will win this riding is not based on partisan rhetoric, but rather based on history and fact - The question isn't whether Rick Dykstra will be going to Ottawa as part of Stephen Harper's upcoming government, but how badly he will wollop Walt Lastewka, and whether Jeff Burch in the NDP camp can pull into second place as a protest against the Liberals.
19 01 06 Bug Eyed Pete
My brother works for General Motors in St. Catharines and he gave me some interesting information about what's happening there. The local CAW, despite what Buzz says, has always supported the NDP there. Last week this changed when the local told its members to vote for the Liberal. According to my brother, the CAW is well aware of Rick Dykstra's well deserved reputation as an ultra conservative fanatic and they don't want to see him get elected. There are still about 2000 General Motors employees that live in St.Catharines. Even if half of them and their families switch their vote, that is going to have a major impact on this very tight race. With this support from the CAW Lastewka is going to beat Dykstra on January 23. You heard it here first.
18 01 06 Chicken Wing Charlie
It's important to remember how Rick Dykstra's extreme right wing views cost him the mayor's chair. Dykstra was a high profile city councillor yet he got thumped by an unknown political rookie named Tim Rigby. Rigby was able to win because he positioned himself as a middle of the road candidate in contrast to the extreme neo con beliefs of Dykstra. After tasting defeat at the hands of Rigby, Dykstra ran off and joined the Common Sense Revolution, working for Mike Harris in Toronto. This did nothing to soften his neo con image. St.Catharines is well known for having a large number of traditionally red tories. These people never warmed up to either Mike Harris or the Reform party. It was assumed that when the Reform and federal PC parties came together that Lastewka would lose in 2004. This didn't happen because the federal red tories refused to vote for the new Conservative party and instead voted Liberal. When Dykstra and his neo cons muscled their way to the federal nomination last year they pushed few remaining red tories out the door. This made it clear that Dykstra was no interested in building bridges to the old time Tories and would stick to his extreme Reform ways. Lastewka has brought in a number of the red tories to signal that they have a home voting for him this time. Dykstra's ultra conservative views are much more at home in small town, redneck Ontario. They just aren't main stream in a city the size of St. Catharines. Lastewka is also getting help from well known NDP members in the city who are telling people the only way to stop Dykstra is to vote for Walt Lastewka. If you put all these factors together, you'll see that Lastewka will beat Dykstra. No doubt about it.
16 01 06 Steve V.
A correction to the poster who claimed that Stephen Harper did not visit St. Catharines - Harper did come on December 10, when he made his cancer policy announcement. St. Catharines has also seen Peter MacKay (twice), as well as Monte Solberg and Rona Ambrose this week. This riding is a CPC priority and given recent polling numbers, it should be a Dykstra win. Lastewka has run an invisible local campaign, and this, coupled with the national Liberal disaster, is going to sink him. There is even some speculation that Lastewka may finish behind the NDP's Jeff Burch... Liberal support is faltering in some of the most unexpected, yet critical parts of the riding.
16 01 06 AC
Frog Mouth needs to get his facts correct - Stephen Harper was in St. Catharines early on in the campaign back in December. So that theory is horribly wrong - Conservatives know there's a seat-in-waiting for them here on the 23rd. At this point, there's no question about Rick Dykstra winning this riding, the real question is if Walt Lastewka is even going to be competitive with the NDP for second place. Jeff Burch has run a very solid campaign.
16 01 06 Who's Socks
I think the Tories might have pulled St.Catharines out if they'd gone with a candidate other than Rick Dykstra. Not only does Dykstra have the Mike Harris baggage to deal with but there's also his patchy at best career as a city councillor in the city. Dykstra's record and his very right wing views will help Lastewka mobilize the Liberal vote on election day and St.Catharines remains a Liberal riding. Dykstra was just the wrong candidate, simple as that.
16 01 06 KJ
Frog Mouth is a bit off. Harper has been to St. Catharines, just eariler in the campaign. But now he's going to shore up support in places where seats are on the line, like in Quebec which is vital to a Tory government. I think the Conservative (and Liberal) numbers in St., Catharines are showing a significant swing to the Tories, just like the national polling. Lastewka has been getting beaten up in the all-candidates meetings, mostly by the sharpness of NDP candidate Jeff Burch who has called him out on everything from his human rights record to the Liberal cuts to transfer payments. On live TV, Burch even came close to making excuses for Mike Harris, which is sacrilege in the NDP camp. But it was all done in an attack on the Liberals. Lastewka has found himself in a different position in this election (that is trailing) and is not responding well. His campaign looks tired and he has been snapping at both his opponents and audience members. It doesn't look good. I think St. Catharines will be a comfortable Tory victory on Jan. 23.
Date 16 01 06
15 01 06 Nick
If my memory is correct, St. Catharines has only ever elected an opposition MP twice - once in 1972, and once again in 1980. Who will win St. Catharines is not a question of the local campaign, rather it is a question of who will win nationally. The Good Steamship Liberal is taking on water fast, and as a result this will more than likely be one of at least 20 new Tory ridings in Southern Ontario.
14 01 06 Rockstar
There's no reason to believe that Walt is going to hold this seat given the current trend in polls. Even with a 2-3% PC drop, Rick Dykstra is going to swing this seat with all the doors he's been knocking on and the positive press the last few days in the local paper. Walt may beat the NDP candidate by 400 votes, but that will be 2500 votes behind Rick.
13 01 06 Frog Mouth
It's time to watch where the leaders go to find out who's winning close races like this one. Paul Martin was in St.Catharines today with Lastewka. Jack Layton has not been in St.Catharines and it's not on his schedule for the next couple days. Stephen Harper has not been in St.Catharines either and with time running out it looks doubtful.
That tells us that in this close race, the Liberals have numbers showing a Lastewka victory. The NDP have numbers showing their support is gone and the Conservatives have numbers showing Dykstra isn't going to win. If there was even a chance of a Dykstra victory, Harper would be in St.Catharines. I'll say Lastewka wins by around 800 on January 23. The Conservatives will have to settle for Niagara Falls and Niagara West Glanbrook.
10 01 06 Chicken Wing Charlie
Walt Lastewka has one big advantage over Dykstra that's going to let old Walt keep his job. St. Catharines has booming immigrant population who vote Liberal because they came to this country when the Grits were in charge and because they left right wing governments that aren't much different than the one Stephen Harper will run. This one won't be over until late on election night but Lastewka wins by 400 votes.
31 12 05 A.S.
It isn't so much that St. Kitts opposed the CSR; it's that it couldn't bring itself to defeat "favourite son" Liberal MPP Jim Bradley on the CSR's behalf. (Were Bradley not running in 1995 or 1999, his constituency would quite likely have gone with the Mike Harris flow. Or with Bob Rae in 1990, for that matter.) Face it; from blue-collar white-trash Reagan Democrats, to evangelical social conservatives, to a tweaked-by-Paul'n'Karla ultrasensitivity to criminal issues, St. Kitts contains all the atmospheric elements of an heady right-of-centre bullseye, and it's no accident that the Manning/Day/Harper parties have been aiming point black ever since 1993--aiming too hard, as it's turned out. Ah, if it weren't for the "urban Ontario" nature of the seat biting back each time. Indeed, if it weren't for "Buzz Mouradian", this seat had a left-field chance of becoming competitive *3* ways, especially after the GM cutbacks. However, if the broader trend nationally and in Ontario points Toryward, a generic 2004 marginal-Liberal/advance-poll-Tory seat like this is an inevitable pin to fall. And Lastewka's no Jim Bradley.
31 12 05 Hollaback Girl
Dykstra's links to the hated Mike Harris Consertives has hurt his chances
of winning here. St. Catharines opposed the Common Sense Revolution
while Dykstra worked in the Harris office. This is not a secret in St.
Catharines. Lastewka hasn't done much in Ottawa but he has a well
trained political machine that is much better than the Dykstra family and
friends. Lastewka keeps this riding Liberal.
29 12 05 Bob
In an earlier post I had labeled Rick Dykstra as someone who exudes arrogance; it looks as though I was right. According to the St. Catharines Standard (conservative leaning) in a recent all candidates debate that took place at a local school Rick Dykstra came across as arrogant and self-interested. Lastewka (who is not known for his debating skills) easily won, leaving Rick looking like a pompous a$$. Rick’s elitist attitude (funny, because Rick’s life achievements are anything but elitist) will not play well in St. Catharines. My understanding is that some of his core supporters are having trouble standing behind him. Couple all this with Hargrove’s announcement (in towns where the NDP has no chance of winning i.e. St. Catharines throw your vote behind the Libs) and Ted Mouradian throwing his support behind Lastewka and this becomes a sure Liberal hold. It should also be very clear to all of you who choose to read these blog entries that the majority of those who say Dykstra will win are heavily involved with his campaign. I will also be so forward as to let you know that I am conservative but will not support Dykstra. My vote is going to the CHP.
15 12 05 Steve V.
So far, Rick Dykstra is the only candidate actively campaigning in this riding. The Liberal incumbent and NDP candidate are invisible here - at one point, Walt Lastewka announced that he would not campaign until January! Meanwhile, Dykstra has released his five-point plan for St. Catharines, "Committment to Community", and attracted a number of notable Conservatives to the riding, such as Stephen Harper, Peter MacKay and Monte Solberg. Dykstra canvasses almost every day and the response has been highly positive. His energetic campaign has definitely made this riding one to watch on election night - look for a close race, but a Dykstra win.
13 12 05 Max Power
There is no question where momentum is taking this riding. Dykstra is out in the community, pounding on doors, attracting media attention and visits from Harper and other senior Conservatives. Meanwhile, Lastewka is saving his energy for the home stretch and watching his opponent dominate the agenda. Maybe Walt is waiting for some savvy communications advice from Scott Reid? It's not over yet, but chalk up round one for Dykstra. We'll wait and see if Walt can drag his tired old bones up off the mat.
01 12 05 Neutral Observer
This one seems pretty solidly Liberal. Lastewka's public persona is distinctly underwhelming, but his constituency skills and campaign team are always solid... He had an easy 3,000+ vote win last time out, and is likely to steal some NDP support on this go around. His opponent Dykstra is tremendously unpopular in much of the community, and tied too closely to Mike Harris' cost-cutting policies to please this blue collar union town. With the lesser parties all re-running the same candidates, this looks like a repeat of last time.
23 11 05 KJ
It's funny how a single sentence in Rick Dykstra's acceptance speech back in May has turned into him spending all evening harping on social issues. The fact of the matter is a Dykstra is a skilled campaigner (he has managed campaigns that beat local heavyweights such as Debbie Zimmerman and Wayne Thomson) and will give Walt Lastewka all he can handle on the campaign trail. Expect a focused campaign with clear rebuttals of Liberal "accomplishments" in this part of the country.
16 11 05 Bob
Has anyone ever spoken with Rick Dykstra? This man exudes more arrogance than Jean LaPierre and Sheila Copps put together. Rick is someone who has absolutely no interest in helping anybody out save himself. He is someone who as always strived to be part of the "old-boys" club and is prepared to stick the axe in anyone's back to get there. This is someone who organized his supporters to "boo" his opponent's young son during a speech made at the nomination meeting held at the Ramada Hotel. His record is not one to brag about and his accomplishments are dismal at best.
I have always believed that St. Catharines was winnable for the Tory's but time and time again they have chosen candidates who are unable to resonate with the electorate. Leo Bonomi could have won last year had his campaign been organized and he improved on his public speaking ability (which was horrendous at the best of times). Rick Dykstra on the other hand will certainly be more organized and while not the best orator, he is better then Bonomi. However this might just prove to be his weakness, all considering that most people will become disdained with what comes out of his mouth. Walt always seems to have the horseshoes...
04 11 05 Steve G
A very tough one to call. The Canadian Alliance did well here in 2000 and of course the Conservatives came within 2,000 votes of taking this in 2004. St. Catherines is generally a working-class city and I suspect that, as is the case in parts of BC, the old Canadian Alliance vote - with its inherent populism - is as interchangeable with the NDP in this riding as with the new Conservatives. I don't know much about the new Conservative candidate, but if he turns out to be exceptional he could certainly knock off the completely invisible and unexceptional Walt Lestewka. As of now I'm giving the slight edge to Lestewka (though not yet an outright prediction) because recent polling numbers in Ontario show virtually no change from the 2004 election results - that is, Libs ~45%, CPC ~30%. If the Tories improve on their 2004 Ontario results by even a few points, this riding (along with the rest of Niagara Region) will be theirs.
02 11 05 BC
This riding has always been close even when Reform ran a candidate and I think Mr. Lastewka has been fortunate to win some of the last elections. The next election could be his exit though if people in this riding decide to teach the Liberals a lesson after Gomery, but that is a big if........
06 10 05 zray
Hard to believe Marto could suggest a second place showing is as good as a win. Try the facts-Dykstra carries heavy baggage from his trough loving days as an EA for the Provincial Tories under Mike Harris and company. Rick's lack of respect for anyone who isn't guided by the Alliance/Reform doctrine is following him into his community coffee shop stops.
17 09 05 M. Lunn
Walt Lastewka will probably hold his riding, although considering the Canadian Alliance got 33% in 2000 while the Conservatives got 34% in 2004 I cannot see the Conservatives dropping any further than last time around. The question is can the Conservatives pick up an extra 5 points or so to knock off the liberals or not. At this point I would say they cannot, but only a slight change in the polls could change all that.
12 07 05 Marto
ZRAY should check his facts. Rick Dykstra does have an electoral track record - 2 victories as a young 20 somthing for St. Catharines - and one close second in a mayors race.
Also - At the Nomination - Rick stated his views on Same-sex marriage and abortion - but said that there are other pressing issues that need more attention - like bringing honest government back to Canada - and making sure that St. Catharines gets its fair share of Federal funding.
Walt voted against Same sex Marriage - Is he a religious right winger now too -ZRAY???
04 07 05 ZRay
Rick Dykstra has run for everything except dog catcher. His ties with the hard right of the party are well known. His nomination speech was literally taken from the Reform handbook, and he focused his entire commentary on the same sex issue and abortion. Many supporters of the Conservatives in St. Catharines left the nomination meeting in disgust over the lack of vision from both candidates. Walt will score this victory for the Libs.
26 05 05 Leo Lehman
Walt is running in the next election, despite previous rumours. Walt is a very strong constituency man and that alone will be enough for him to carry this riding once again. Give this one to the Liberals
05 05 05 M. Lunn
This is traditionally a liberal riding, but the conservatives had a strong second place showing and this was one of the best PC/Alliance showings in 2000 so a conservative upset is definitely possible. It will be close and Walt Lastewka may not be so lucky this time around if the Conservatives find a stronger candidate.
02 05 05 Marto
Finally - The Conservatives seemed to have seen the light in this riding. They are running the young and energetic Rick Dykstra against the old Back-benching do-nothing - Walt Lastewka (Who according to a St. Catharines Standard article a couple of weeks ago - might not even run - because he is scared of losing).
Chalk this one up in the Conservative Steal category!

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