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|Hon. Bill Graham
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2004 Prediction page
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|17 01 06
|Why does the NDP keep resurrecting Mr. Shapcott? Well, whatever the reason, he will lose. Mr. Graham has always been a gentleman and he has held a couple cabinet posts. Mr. Shapcott is in the minds of people as the guy who kept Toronto from getting the Olympics. The Conservative Candidate is a non-factor and their new, negative advertising campaign focused on Mr. Layton ensures that.
|07 12 05
|A riding with interesting history and demographics. Rich people, poor people, and the heart of Toronto's gay presence are all thrown into this seat.
Back in 1995, provincial Tory Al Leach won what was the precursor to the riding of Toronto Centre, but only by a skin-of-the-teeth margin, in (what I suspect was) one of the tightest three-way battles seen in Ontario electoral history between himself and Tim Murphy, who is now one of Martin's key strategists. The margin was literally only a few hundred votes between Leach first and the third place NDP candidate, a prominent gay reverend.
Then, a very interesting dynamic followed in the subsequent provincial election, after Leach stepped down, and when lefty former mayor John Sewell ran independently. Liberal George Smitherman won the seat quite handily but there was an interesting battle that brewed on the left between Sewell and the NDP candidate.
So, not to suggest that the NDP or a red Tory could pull this seat out (Graham is very popular and his seat is as rock-solid a Liberal seat as they come), but if/when Bill ever steps down, there could be some interesting three-way direction to this race arising again. It would depend on the quality of whatever candidates would be there to try to succeed him.
But for now, mark this one as solid Liberal red and hope that there are no ill-advised posters who would like us to think that the CPC or NDP have a hope. They don't.
|04 12 05
|Bill Graham, very probably without even breaking a sweat. It's unlikely that the Conservatives thought they had a hope in Hades here, but Stephen Harper's decision to reassure the bigots in his party right off the bat by saying he would re-open the issue of gay marriage is a clear indication that the Tories will run only a pro forma candidate here (ditto in Vancouver Centre). As for the NDP: they will have to hope for a major turn against the Liberals to have a chance. At this point it doesn't seem likely.
|01 12 05
|Graham has confirmed that he'll run again and there's no reason to think he won't win--he got 56% of the vote last time, after all. Shapcott lost the previous election and the Conservative candidate is very weak.
This riding could possibly have been lost by the Liberals if they had parachuted in a candidate and pushed Graham out against his will. That's about the only way they could have lost, though.
|06 07 05
|Agreed, Liberal. Bill Graham has acted responsibly in his Ministerial posts although the Gagetown Agent Orange scandal could hurt him a bit: Toronto doesn't like cooperation with the USA to test chemical weapons on unsuspecting Canadians, and that's what's being alleged.
Despite his long service in Foreign Affairs, he is not implicated in any anger over the failure to meet the 0.7% foreign aid target (a goal that most of Toronto Centre supports, almost certaintly) as that is clearly Paul Martin's file. (Though it might still cost Pettigrew his seat).
The NDP lost with Shapcott before (a weak candidate) and will lose again. Among other things the downtown arts community hates him, and no stupid cultural megaprojects (like the Olympics) are planned for Toronto at this point, so his core constituency is out of the news. It was a bad choice.
The Greens looked like they might have been in a position to take more than their usual slim margin, with either Gabriel Draven or Kathryn Holloway (two of the more capable campaigners in the Party) running. But despite an official nomination of Holloway, Jim Harris forced them both out. They will not be working for the Green at all, and as a result the Greens are not likely to be a factor unless there are new Liberal issues. If one of the Greens runs as an independent, or for another party (this is far more likely in Beaches East York though where Harris is running), there could be another few percent but that would be unlikely to come from the Liberals.
In this riding the Greens and Liberals have been friendly: Draven was a bit of a platform factor for Graham in 2004, mocking the arts-hostile NDP candidate Shapcott, and humiliating the poorly briefed Conservative. As in Don Valley West there seemed to be a Liberal-Green pact in place. The Conservatives seem to nominate somewhat suicidally in this riding, as if they want to help the Liberals and keep the NDP out. Stranger things have happened.
|18 06 05
|Graham wins if he runs, but the hot rumour is that he's leaving. I've heard possible nominees being Michael Ignatieff, Glen Murray (former Winnipeg mayor now at U of T), and based on a previous post, Barbara Hall.
|13 06 05
|What happened in '04 to the (supposedly) "united right" in Toronto Centre is startling. Despite Rosedale, despite oodles of ritzy condos rising, they lost their deposit. Even '00's "Joe Clark" candidate escaped that ignominy; but the hapless Megan Harris couldn't. And furthermore, notice how the Rosedale/downtown condo version of the right *really* decided to unite; Bill Graham achieved *above* average percentages in the kinds of Rosedalean polls where the late, great Progressive Conservatives used to push them *below* average. So now it's official: after years of federal underperformance through Grit-Tory squeezeplay (despite victories on a municipal level), the NDP's taken over the nominal "main competitor" position here. And for all that, Michael Shapcott still (at least relative to sign presence, buzz, etc) underperformed--and in such a way that suggests there's still an ominous plateau here, maybe between a third and a quarter of the vote at max, for the New Democrats. At least, if they persist in offering hardcore south-of-Bloor rabble-rousers like Shapcott, rather than Red Tory/Kilbourn Liberal-friendly figureheads like John Sewell, Kyle Rae, Barbara Hall etc--the added dilemma being how Barbara Hall's repositioned herself as a more likely Dosanjih/Chris Axworthy/Glen Murray left-Lib heir apparent than NDP opponent to Bill Graham. So, in light of the collapsed Tories most of all, TC's destined to remain Liberal, even if it's as red meat within a Layton-(maybe?) Chow sandwich...
|28 05 05
|Ahhh.......my home riding. Anyone who says the NDP has a chance is a nutjob. I am no fan of the Liberals myself, but I have resigned myself to the fact that, try as I might, Bill Graham will take this riding. He runs neck-and-neck with the Conservatives in Rosedale, but that doesn't matter, as the CPC can barely garner votes anywhere else in this riding, and Graham dominates the downtown core, Yorkville, as well as the gay community at Jarvis-Wellsley. This is a solid Liberal riding, and even if (perhaps when) John Tory wins the provincial election in a landslide, I've got a funny feeling this riding would still stay Liberal provincially. But I digress. Final Prediction:
|17 05 05
|The NDP has nominated Michael Shapcott again and the Tories have nominated Lewis Reford, a securities broker from J.P. Morgan who is more on the Alliance side than the PC side prior to the merger. I think Graham will hang on for the reasons I described earlier. However, the NDP vote will go up significantly, as the threat of a Tory victory here is harder to state seriously given the result of the last election. And Harper is unambigious in his opposition to same-sex marriage this time around (just visit the Conservative website), so if Reford says he supports it, it won't help him at all. The Tories will become a fringe party here and be lucky if they can crack 10%. The NDP is now clearly the opposition party in the riding and if they play their cards right, they can perhaps take the riding provinically in 2007.
Prediction: 47% LIB, 35% NDP, 10% CON, 6% GRN, 2% others
|11 05 05
|Give your heads a shake people. Bill Graham will run again, he will win again, and he will be a senior minister in the Martin Cabinet again.
He is a socially progressive, fiscally prudent politician who continues to espouse views that resonate with his electorate.
|08 05 05
|Safe Liberal seat. Having a very socially liberal MP plus a cabinet minister in Bill Graham will hold off any move to the NDP by some of the activist groups, plus the Conservatives are pretty weak here (but not as weak as in some neighboring ridings). The question is whether he will lose the post of Defence Minister by default if the Liberals lose. AdScam hasn't really played out much in Toronto, and the results will show it (people still think the Conservatives are "scary" here). Predicted results: LIB 52%, NDP 25%, CPC 16%, GRN 5%, others 2%.
|04 05 05
|More broadly, the Northern tip of Toronto Centre traditionally pulls the most Conservative vote. However, the diversity of this riding’s demographics inevitably pulls leftward. The influx of new downtown condo dwellers may impact old trends and, over time, may in fact swell the riding’s population so much they’ll have to redistribute the riding.
|30 10 05
|Unless the NDP runs a real star candidate (some ppl are saying ex-mayor John Sewell is considering) this is to be considered a safe seat for Graham.
|02 05 05
|Is it for certain that Bill Graham is going to run again? If yes, he'll almost certainly win. As an upper-crust WASP, law professor and very strong advocate of equality for gays and lesbians, he's able to appeal to the Rosedale crowd, the large gay and lesbian community and to the riding's large urban intelligentsia (in places like Cabbagetown and parts of Yorkville).
But if Graham retires, which is not unlikely, the Libs will have to run someone else. It is rumored that Barbara Hall may run for the Libs. Given her dismal mayoral run (who couldn't even win on her home turf - it was won easily by David Miller) then a Liberal-NDP race may emerge. Michael Shapcott ran a very impressive campaign last year, getting the highest ever vote total for the NDP federally. True, he only got 24% in the end but a lot of people voted strategically against the Tories. My own feeling is this was one of the biggest "strategic voting" ridings in the country - given the sharp difference in the presence of Shapcott's campaign than Gene Lara's provincial one (barely any presence but pulling 20% of the vote). Shapcott is running for the nomination again.
And the chance of a Tory winning here is about as likely as Irwin Cotler getting defeated in Mont-Royal - if that. The Tory-Alliance merger did not go over well here, and Megan Harris pulled a dismal 15% of the vote. Graham trounced Harris in "conservative" Rosedale. Stephen Harper is about as popular in the riding as George W. Bush is. Now the question is - will this convince many NDP-leaning strategic voters that the NDP is now clearly the opposition party in the riding and there is no Tory threat in the riding? The Libs still have the edge, but an NDP victory isn't impossible.
Some may object and note that this riding sent Tories David Crombie and David Macdonald to Ottawa in the 1980s. But both were very Red Tories who were probably more left-wing than Graham is! Macdonald ended up running for the NDP here later, after all. Even if a fairly high-profile Red Tory like John Adams won, it would be a miracle if they got 25% of the vote - it'll more likely be in the 15-20% range.
|01 05 05
|Unlike the two neighbouring ridings which may go NDP, Toronto Centre is a strong mix of wealthy people and single apartment dwellers therefore the wealthier people likely won't go NDP due to their policy of promoting higher taxes. At the same time the large gay community, minorities, and youth make this difficult to win for the Conservatives unless they radically alter their policies. Mulroney won here in 1984 and 1988 since this is a pro-business area (which the liberals generally are), not a bible thumping, redneck area.
|27 04 05
|Bill Graham is incredibly popular in this riding, and there is no way he's going to lose this seat.