| ||11 05 01
|The Liberals will hold to this seat due to Mark Holland being Mark Holland..the parachute will not open..|
| ||11 04 30
|This has definitely become a hot riding, with Harper visiting Ajax again today. Chris Alexander also visited my house today, providing a brochure complete with reasoning on why the Liberals should not be elected.|
I feel that this riding has consistently rejected the NDP, and Koppens has not been very strong in the local debates (on Rogers, and the Board-Trade debate), and I think the lack of name recognition costs him heavily. Most residents are very aware that this is a Liberal-Conservative race, and I have heard of nobody who has decided to back the NDP here (also I have not seen one residence with a Koppens sign), so I firmly predict the left will not be split here. I also find it strange why Harper would spend most of his time here attacking Layton as opposed to Ignatieff.
With respect to the Liberal-Conservative race, I believe it will be close, but residents here are very loyal to Holland. The new voters in the youth are very supportive of Holland, who has taken strides in connecting with the youth over the years -- his mom is also a popular teacher at the local Pickering High School -- and with his continuous involvement in the community, he is widely recognized in the community. Alexander coming as a newcomer, living in the region only recently will hurt him in the polls, as residents are very quick to jump on recognizable names (such as Joe Dickson in the provincial election).
Alexander has been campaigning hard here, and he has probably won the race based on phone calls and house visits. Harper's endorsements will definitely go a long way, as Ajax-Pickering is not used to being in the center of attention.
I still predict this to be close, as I have seen more residential signs for the Conservative party than in past elections. Though I think based on the loyalty to Holland, the significant immigrant population, the weak showing of the NDP, and the ABC-minded youth, I think this region will stay red. The Conservatives will pick up some of the Liberal voters, but the traditional NDP and Green voters (of which there is a significant amount) here will vote strategically against the Conservatives and for Holland.
| ||11 04 28
|I think Holland will win this, though barely. He's a hometown boy, a known quantity, and has years of demonstrated experience working on behalf of the riding. Alexander is a carpetbagger who has no roots in the riding. Though the conservatives have clearly gained traction here this election, they should have put someone in who has some roots in the area, or at least someone comfortable with being a politician. |
| ||11 04 27
|Going to make a final prediction for Ajax Pickering at start of campaign i was not certain what would happen here or if conservatives actually have a chance against Mark Hollands but now that election has bizarely turned into a race between Harper and Layton . i think its safe to say the 905 area of Toronto is going blue this election , the 905 would never vote ndp. they remember Bob Rae as ndp premier and do not want to see the economic recovery put at risk . and according to new polls liberals at somewhere between 25%-30 % in ontario less than what dion got in 08 and likely not enough support to hold close ridings like Ajax Pickering , conservatives also polling much better in Ontario than 08 some polls as high is 46 % . it all equals one think Chris Alexander is likely headed to Ottawa|
| ||11 04 26
|This riding keeps being given a ‘too close to call,’ and every time Mark wins it pretty handily. This will be a 10,000+ win for Mark just on name recognition alone. Several social groups have already backed him, as have many ‘red’ Tories in the area. His constant appearances on TV and the web with his well-thought out arguments against the current government mean that the name Ajax-Pickering is in the spotlight often. I can't imagine any other candidate bringing that to the table. Mark's steady rise up the ranks of politicians in Ottawa will continue after May 2nd.|
| ||11 04 22
||mks from Durham|
|While the conservatives are working hard on a smear campaign involving Holland's personal life, I do not see Holland having much trouble. I work in this riding and judging by the signage and what residents I talk to are saying, Holland will win with a larger margin than last time. His opponent last time was a well-known town councillor, this tory challenger is a relative unknowner in the riding. |
| ||11 04 19
|Liberal star incumbant Mark Holland is in the fight of his career but I think he is more then up to the task, I expect to see him squeak out a narrow win this time, as the other progressive voters strategically plant their vote with the Liberals to keep the PC's out. |
| ||11 04 16
|With Ignatieff running a better campaign this year than Dion in 2008, A-P should stay in the Liberal column. Chris Alexander is an attractive candidate, but he has accepted a difficult assignment. Unless the Liberals collapse between today and May 2, Mark Holland should return to Ottawa.|
| ||11 04 16
|Another factor to watch here will be the NDP vote. The NDP candidate, Jim Koppens, has faced some controversy in the news this week for being away on vacation in the Caribbean for most of this month. He will not even be starting to campaign for a few more days. Although the NDP is not in contention to win this riding, it got almost 10% of the vote in 2008. If Mark Holland can pick up several percent of the NDP vote this year as a result of an absent NDP campaign, it could be what he needs to win the riding. Holland would be wise to try and attract NDP voters who are unhappy with the absent NDP candidate.|
| ||11 04 13
|Diana makes a good comment about Chris Alexander being employed outside of Canada for 16 years. Hmmm, kind of like Mr. Ignatieff, only Iggy has been away even longer. I don't see a voter voting against Chris specifically for carpet bagging and then voting for another candidate whose leader is even a greater carpet bagger. Point is, Chris' time away from Canada is a moot point.|
I am a conservative supporter and have Chris' sign on my lawn. I live in Nottingham and I would expect Chris to be winning the sign war in this enclave, but he is behind. So I think Holland has the advantage in voting intent in the riding. And I do know Holland has a decent ground game. But I also think the conservatives are more fired up and more likely to vote and the turn-out advantage makes this too close to call.
People say the Liberals bottomed out with Dion. I don't think so, I think they are just as uninspired with Iggy, who is not polling any better than Dion was at this stage of the campaign, so I don't see why liberal turnout would be greater.
| ||11 04 11
|As for Alexander's poverty comment, what he actually said was Canada had no third-world type poverty like Afghanistan, which the World Bank confirms. As for the campaign Alexander is experiencing great support and interest from voters in Ajax-Pickering.|
| ||11 04 10
|(edited)... To be now parachuted into Ajax-Pickering with no Canadian political history and no roots or history to the area, he will not be successful. His knowledge of Afghanistan may be extensive, but Canada is NOT the Country of Afghanistan or Russia for that matter. He may have ideas how Afghanistan may improve as he continues on a Canada wide panel to build support for a ‘new mission’ in Afghanistan Post 2011, which I would suggest he continue on that path as he did declare himself a 'Career Diplomat' upon his graduation from university. His recent comment about 'no poverty in Canada', further confirms his living and being employed outside of Canada from 1993 to 2009 is he's clearly out of touch of Canadian reality. Thanks, But No Thanks.|
| ||11 04 10
|I live in adjacent Pickering-Scarborough East, and have been worrying that Holland is in tough against Alexander. But I saw them debating on Question Period today, and Alexander seemed nervous, out of breath, and completely taken aback by Holland's aggressiveness. Holland was hitting on all the talking points he wanted and Alexander just seemed flustered and frustrated. Unless people found Holland's style off-putting, I think most would think Holland came across dramatically better than Alexander did.|
I think the Liberals bottomed out with Dion in 2008, and will recover some traditional support this time around. This one will be closer than 2008, given the resources the Tories are putting into the riding, but I'm going with Holland by 5 percent.
| ||11 04 10
|I watched the coverage of that on CHEX. It wasn't included because the woman later admitted she never met Holland. It would be slander to have included it. In any event, the conservative vote in this riding since 2000 has been a very tight range from 19 - 20% of the electorate. The only issue has been with Liberal votes getting complacent and taking the last campaign for granted. All of the Conservative attacks on Holland have certainly taken care of that. With a much higher profile and Alexander having no roots here - this won't be close. |
| ||11 04 08
|Well, if the person alluding to Alexander's comments on poverty reads the full story, Holland comes out looking a lot worse. Refuses to publicly comment that he laughed at the woman in the video, or deny that the incident occurred.|
| ||11 04 08
|I have to rebut the recent writers who fall for the politically correct line on Canadian poverty. Chris Alexander's comments contrasting Canadian and Afghan levels of poverty are really quite true, although obviously making himself vulnerable to a ‘gotcha’ come-back. As a candidate Alexander is head over heels better than Holland and however the Conservatives end up doing in Ontario (45% right now according to NANOS), I predict they will get a bit more umphh in the GTA...enough to deliver Ajax-Pickering. |
| ||11 04 08
|Liberal support is up in ONtario(Nanos) and with the no poverty in Canada mistake by the Tory candidate this is a Liberal hold..|
| ||11 04 07
|There is a YouToube video being circulated where Chris Alexander says poverty has been eliminated in Canada, where he received a rather hostile response from the crowd. Any hope the Tories have to unseat Mark Holland has went up in smoke because of it. This stays Liberal.|
| ||11 04 06
|The Conservatives want to win this one so badly because they hate Mark Holland so much. They even found a star carpetbagger to run against him. Unfortunately, they have drawn too much attention to Mark and his fierce opposition to the Harper government. |
The Tories came within 7% last time because the Liberals considered the riding safe. (It was the same mistake that nearly cost Ujjal Dosanjh his seat.) Last time, the Liberals spent $34,700 less than the Tories. They will spend the limit this time. They may also win a few votes from the NDP, Greens and people who stayed home who don't want to have a Conservative MP.
Unless the Liberals have a meltdown in Ontario, I just don't see the Conservatives winning this.
| ||11 04 07
|ALEXANDER, Christopher made a comment about poverty which indicates he is out of touch with Canada and his own riding..He cannot and will not recover from this|
| ||11 04 06
|Holland is a hard working MP who sticks up for his constituents. Yes, the Cons will target this riding, but the candidate is a former diplomat who hasn't lived in the riding that long. holland was born and raised in this riding and is a fierce political competitor. when the dust settles he'll be returned to Ottawa.|
| ||11 04 05
|I live in this riding, and spend a fair amount of my time driving around this and adjacent ridings when I am travelling to meet with clients, etc. After the first week, it appears that incumbent Liberal candidate Mark Holland had his team out to post the largest signs on open/public land. Conservative Chris Alexander was several days slower off the mark with these signs. I would estimate 3 to 2 in favour of Mr. Holland's large signs. Only yesterday did I finally see (two) signs from the Green Party.|
Private property signs are, I think, a more accurate reflection of voter intentions. Only in the far north of Ajax and the Pickering part of the riding is there equality in signage between the Liberals and Conservatives. In the rest of Ajax, especially in the northwest and all along the lake shore, Conservative signs outnumber Liberal signs by about 3 to 1.
I haven't seen any public appearances, heard, nor read anything from either of the frontrunners. This riding is going to be close, definitely Mark Holland's biggest challenge yet, but the impression that I have so far is that the riding will go Conservative on May 2.
| ||11 04 05
|Think this is going to be close but with the polls are pointing to a CPC win I think this goes Conservative on May 2.|
| ||11 04 02
|As a largely suburban riding in the west part of the Durham regional municipality this will be a battle between the Tories trying to move in towards Toronto and the Liberals trying to push them back. Chris Alexander is a strong candidate, but I am not sure about his campaigning skills, while as much as the Tories hate Mark Holland, he is probably one of the stronger MPs in the 905 belt. In fact it is quite possible that this would gave Tory last time around had it not been for him. At this point I would say too close to call but with a very slight edge to the Liberals. If the Liberals can close the gap in Ontario they should hold this, but if the Tories maintain a strong lead in Ontario they should take this albeit not by very much.|
| ||11 03 31
|Ajax residents have among the highest municipal taxes in the GTA, and yet stand idly by and vote the same mayor and council in year after year...election after election. That apathy and willingness to be taxed is good news for Holland...so I am predicting a win there. I, on the other hand, will likely be voting Conservative unless there is a local issue that swings my opinion between now and May 2.|
| ||11 03 31
|I looked up the event in question three years ago - it was when John Baird was being looked at for involvement into the former Mayor of Ottawa's problems. John Baird's chief of staff called the police at the same time there was talk of him being investigated. Holland challenged the telephone call and how appropriate it was. The Chief of Staff said the phone call was innocent and Holland apologized. This was three years ago... and this is the big shocking news? Things must be getting pretty desperate to try and blow this into something. Oh, I forgot - he also once 'wore casual cloths'. How on earth was he not arrested for that.|
| ||11 03 30
||Dr Bear & Prof Ape|
|Poor memories are common amongst the voting public. Something that happened 3 years ago (or even one year ago) is such ancient history that no one will remember it (expect the chattering class who frequent sites like this). The bit with the veterans...that one I'm sure they will recall but highly doubt anyone else will. Honestly ask any shmuck on the street and they will have never heard of such events. Much in the same way most voters will have never known who was Canada's ambassador to Afghanistan.|
| ||11 03 28
|Seems some people on here have poor memories. Holland had a small apology three years ago? Did you miss the one this year where he had to apologize for accusing someone of criminal acts that turned out were false. Remember Holland's faux-pas attending a vets ceremony at the Ajax Legion in casual attire? The vets don't. Ajax and Pickering are prime examples of week kneed Liberal policies on crime. This region has the highest number of police recognized gangs in Ontario. Alexander's class will carry him past Holland, who's margin of victory took quite a drop in 2008 despite the Conservative candidate being appointed late and not even having a campaign office running for over a week.|
| ||11 03 28
|Mark Holland may obnoxious and disliked by Conservatives but don't underestimate him. He's a street fighter and won't take it easy on Chris Alexander. I think the result will ultimately depend on voter psychology. Will voters appreciate having a 'bulldog' as an MP or will they be turned off by his aggressive approach?|
| ||11 03 27
|Mark Holland easily has this one. He is well known in the riding for his stance against the Pickering airport, which aligns with the local residents. The demographic composition of the riding also favours the Liberals. Mr. Alexander is barely known in the area. Even in 2008, Rick Johnson, who was pretty well known in the riding, could not win it for the Tories. I'd say this is a very easy Liberal save.|
| ||11 03 27
|Chris Alexander is an excellent candidate in terms of quality and potential as well as attractive to voters. Fresh off the mark, two polls show a very substantial Conservative lead in Ontario (Ipsos-Reid and Decima both show the Tories up by 15%, 46-31). I anticipate that the GTA is shifting even better than Ontario as a whole so I would predict that Alexander will take teh riding on May 2.|
| ||11 03 21
|WE WILL NOW HAVE THE CHANCE TO FIND OUT THE TRUTH IN AFGHANISTAN THAT CANDIANS COULD NOT FIND OUT IN OUR HOUSE OF COMMONS. THAT IS IF THE CONSERVATIVE CANADIATE TELLS THE TRUTH.|
| ||11 03 12
|I don't know what to make out of Mark Holland I somehow wonder if he's turned into a bigger thing politically than he really is. He's also stuck with the less than admirable task of defending bizarre liberal justice policy such as trying to justify why the courts should not send people who sell drugs near schools and marijuana growers to jail. Most conservatives view mark Holland as being the stereotypical out of touch Toronto liberal, he's in some way the perfect representative of that and cost the liberals a lot more votes outside of Toronto than they realise . It’s guaranteed the conservatives will throw all they have at trying to win this riding and try to send Chris Alexander to Ottawa. If they could win Vaughan which I'd view as less demographically favourable than Ajax Pickering they most definitely have a chance here but I anticipate Mark Holland to do everything possible to try and hold it. So it could turn into a real battle and definitely a riding to watch.|
| ||11 02 22
|This is how Conservatives work - smears without facts. First, the poster who says there have been 'various retractions' - there was one - 3 years ago on a minor point to avoid years of litigation.|
Two, the attack that Holland isn't respected - both the National Post and the Sun Media Chained named him one of the top MPs to watch in 2012. Hardly left wing papers. Also check out the 1500+ comments in the Globe profile on him being Public Enemy #1 for the Conservatives - its overwhelmingly positive.
Three, I think he's been elected in the area as an MP or a councilor for about 15 years - the idea that he isn't liked locally is more than a little thin.
Four, on the swing - look at the deviation in the riding in 2006 vs 2008 against the provincial numbers. In 2006 it was 11.7 and in 2008 it was 11.8. Since the last election, Holland has become one of the highest profile Liberals in the country - I don't see that deviation shrinking.
Five, on the Conservative candidate - he isn't known and his big issue is Afghanistan. Not exactly a local winner.
Conclusion, on election night look for Hollands percentage to be 12 - 14% higher than the Liberal #s in Ontario and the Conservatives to be -2% for a deviation of 14 - 16. Even take the old deviation and the Conservatives would have to win Ontario by more than 12% to win here...that just isn't happening. Time to change the Too Close to Call.
| ||11 02 09
||Dr Bear & Prof Ape|
|A couple of points made by Johnny No-Name below that we feel need to be addressed. If Mark Holland is guilty of, ‘obnoxious partisanship and lack of class in Parliament’, are Conservatives such as John Baird (to name the obvious one of several) equally in danger because of their big mouths? Not necessarily disagreeing but the point is what's good for a Grit is good for a Tory. Where we do disagree is with the comment, ‘In 2008, there was a swing of 5% from the Liberal to the Conservative candidate’. On the surface it may seem so, but look at the voting numbers from 2000 onward. Take the non-voters into account and the CPC (or PC + CA in 2000) have ALWAYS got 20 - 22 % of the vote in this riding. Hardly any movement at all despite them rising in Ontario throughout that decade. The Liberals were also static in that decade getting between 30 and 33%...until 2008 when their vote dropped. The reason, an increase in Liberal voters not turning out. We saw this all over Ontario (and elsewhere) as a protest to Dion's Greenshift. Some CPC posters have argued that Conservative voters sat out too but to say that a comparable number of Liberal and CPC voters sat out defies logic. Bottom line, it's likely these Liberal sit-outs will either keep sitting out or return to the Liberals and allow Mark Holland to retain his seat.|
| ||11 02 01
|Chris Alexander is a strong candidate for the Tories and in some alternate universe, I could see him sitting in cabinet someday. That said, Ajax-Pickering is a bizarre choice of riding for him. I know the Tories want a big name against their nemesis Mark Holland but I don't know that his academic appeal and favourable articles in the Globe will translate into as many votes as they might hope. Whatever his faults, Holland's a hard worker and the increasing Scarboroughization of Pickering should let him hold on. I could even imagine the Liberals trying to recruit Alexander as a kind of crossover appeal star candidate for a Toronto seat someday.|
| ||10 12 01
|Chris Alexander will win. While he may not be a household name per se, his heavy portfolio and experience furthering Canadian values in Afghanistan will go a long way with voters and in the media. Also, Mark Holland is not as well-respect and liked as some of the previous posters make him out to be. His obnoxious partisanship and lack of class in Parliament has raised eyebrows, including the various times he's had to retract some totally unfounded allegations about his opponents. In 2008, there was a swing of 5% from the Liberal to the Conservative candidate, narrowing the margin of victory to less than 7% which makes this a vulnerable seat. Combined with Alexander's star power, I am putting this one in the CPC column.|
| ||10 12 01
|What was already a riding in jeopardy will end up being a Tory pickup with Chris Alexander running here. Mark Holland has been less than impressive in the last Parliament, and this is exactly where the Tories will look to make gains.|
| ||09 10 13
|want to update my original post for this one as Chris Alexander has been nominated as the conservative candidate for the riding. he is without a doubt a high profile candidate as he was Canadian ambassador for Afghanistan and considered to be a high profile diplomat on the world stage. but of course he's not known in the riding of ajax pickering itself for doing anything locally and that could be a problem and something he might want to work on during the lead up to an election. of course its not the first time a high profile Canadian on the world stage has ran for the conservatives in ontario as if you remember Major General Lewis Mackenzie ran for the then pc's in the 97 election. he would of no doubt been a huge asset for canada to have in the house of commons had he got elected. but back to ajax pickering its one of those seats that was close enough last time to make for another close race. and well Mark Hollands 3000 vote margin of victory in 08 may seem comfortable to some such a margin has been overcome in other 905 ridings held by liberals by the conservatives such as mississauga erindale , thornhill , oak ridges markham and newmarket aurora to name just a few and others if you look back at 06 election as well . like Judi Longfield as a liberal won whitby oshawa by 5000 votes in 04 yet we all know what happened in 06 there.|
| ||09 10 06
||Top Can Inc.|
|Sorry to burst the bubble for all those Chris Alexander fans, but Mark Holland if nothing else is a seasoned campaigner who knows how to win. Even if the Tories swamp the 905, Mark is one of the last Liberals I expect to not remain standing, especially from a parachuted outsider from Kabul.|
| ||09 09 28
||Dr Bear & Prof Ape|
|Not to belittle Chris Alexander accomplishment as ambassador to Afghanistan but ask the average shmuck on the street who he is and they'll have no idea. So certainly not star power. Mark Holland has made a name for himself and in the '08 Dion-disaster he held his own very well. Would suggest to us that he has a good handle on things here. We're not saying he's a shoe-in, just we don't see him being defeated with things as they are. That could change (as A.S. said, ?when it comes to any marginal Liberal seat in the 905 in the present climate, nothing is automatically eternal?) and we reserve the right to change our prediction in a heart beat.|
| ||09 09 24
|Now, here's A-1 Harper-majority-cinch strategy in practice: take someone who once might have been a perfect ?Martin Liberal? star candidate and dress him in blue. And presto, voters will (hopefully) forget the name ?Rondo Thomas?. Though Holland's star enough among Liberal incumbents, and even domestic unrest hasn't upset his electoral wagon thus far--but when it comes to any marginal Liberal seat in the 905 in the present climate, nothing is automatically eternal. At least he isn't as anonymous as Judi Longfield...|
| ||09 09 20
|MP Mark Holland has a tough challenger cut out for him. Chris Alexander, the former ambassador to Afghanistan is seeking the Conservative nomination here. This changes the whole game. He's young, articulate, smart, and very well regarded and respected on the Afghanistan file. Ignatieff tried to recruit Alexander to the Liberal side, but he went to seek the Tory nomination instead. The Conservatives will target this seat with heavy resources because getting someone with such a strong profile will boost Conservative foreign policy credentials.|
| ||09 09 18
|Chris Alexander could be a rising star for the Conservatives. He may not have the same visibility in Durham region that he has in the Kabul diplomatic corps, but he'd make a strong campaigner, and if he gets the nomination the national party is likely to direct a lot of resources to this riding. Enough to swing a 3000 vote deficit? Admittedly his pet issue isn't a major vote-swinger, but for now I'm betting he can pull it off. It'll be an interesting race to watch.|
| ||09 09 17
|This one was a fairly close race last time and much tighter than some of the previous elections in ajax pickering. Mark Hollands has now been mp for over 5 years i believe so he has some profile in the riding. but for whatever reasons i don't see it as a solid liberal riding and its one that likely would of went conservative last time if not for his strong liberal effort in the riding and the incumbent advantage he had. conservative candidate Rick Johnson made a good run here last time and if he returns as a candidate could do that again so well have to see who runs here and the parties standings polling wise in the GTA before the race here becomes clear. but if the conservatives are able to keep there lead in ontario that they have in some polls this riding remains competitive.|
| ||09 09 17
|Very odd choice for the Conservatives - Chris Alexander. I had never heard of him before but I can't see how Afghanistan is a winning issue in general let alone in Ajax-Pickering. For a community where local matters and matters a lot, a guy who has never lived in the region let alone the riding has no shot. I guess they couldn't get anyone local with a big name to run. If an 18 year Regional and local councillor couldn't get inside of 3,000 votes of Holland last time when Dion was leader, it certainly isn't happening this time. |
| ||08 06 15
|With an election probable who will be running in this riding? MP Holland is still strong here and has a huge community presence so the Conservatives need to pull out a good candidate if they want any shot at winning this Riding. Former Candidate Rick Johnson is still their best and maybe only option but will he run again? I guess only time will tell in this riding. Although it seems to be liberal strong this riding is Conservative minded.|