Toronto Centre by-election continued

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No I didn't see a single Green sign. This contrasts with the federal byelection a couple years back where there was substantial Green signage.

Lord Palmerston

I think Cathy Crowe is the kind of candidate who can appeal to people with progressive values but fed up with "politics as usual."

social democrat

I walked through one part of Toronto Centre (south of Bloor) earlier this week. And I did see one Green Party sign. But it was generic and didn't include the local candidate's name. They're toast in this byelection.


aka Mycroft wrote:

ottawaobserver wrote:
Nor should Andy Barrie have been asking those kinds of ad hominem questions.

How, exactly, is it ad hominem to ask "Can you think of a single openly gay Conservative politician, either provincially or federally, who is gay?" Particularly when Taylor is running in the riding that has the largest proportion of LGBT voters in Canada and has been claiming that her party is not homophobic?

Not exactly an answer to the question (as he wasn't "out" as an elected politician), but was there any RIP-ish mention of Keith Norton--who, as the PC candidate here in 1990, might have been the first "out" Tory candidate anywhere in Canada?  (I may be wrong--or maybe I'm not.)


Nice guy though he is, Premdas is going to get flattened on February 4. Combine an ultra-active and aggressive NDP campaign with a limp Green effort, and the Greens are going to struggle to even remain relevant (5% is the maximum they can probably expect). As the guy says, they're toast.

I don't think Pamela Taylor's little whoops! moment is going to actually make that much of a difference, spectacular a mistake as it was. But any hopes of any measurable PC vote south of Bloor are gone. Her campaign is a write-off, and I'd be amazed if she was able to run a third time. The PCs can generally feel comfortable with anything over 20%. Below that, their relevancy will be in question, and Hudak's attempt to break through into Fortress Toronto will be in tatters.


1990 *is* pretty early, and pretty much near the dawn of time for an out Tory/PC candidate. I'm doing some research in the area, and I think that Mr. Norton was the first. Sad that his passing hasn't attracted wider comment.


For those of you interested in such things, here is a breakdown of Toronto Centre by neighbourhood (according to the City of Toronto neighbourhood map).  The population figures are from the 2006 Census and the election results are from 2007.

  • 6,621 (5%) -- Yorkville -- LIB 41%, PC 34%, NDP 11%, GRN 9%
  • 11,120 (9%) -- Cabbagetown-South St. James Town -- LIB 50%, PC 13%, NDP 22%, GRN 12%
  • 24,379 (20%) -- Church-Yonge Corridor -- LIB 49%, PC 15%, NDP 22%, GRN 11%
  • 477 (0%) -- Governors Bridge -- LIB 35%, PC 46%, NDP 2%, GRN 14%
  • 15,481 (13%) -- Moss Park -- LIB 46%, PC 16%, NDP 21%, GRN 11%
  • 17,114 (14%) -- North St. James Town -- LIB 50%, PC 12%, NDP 23%, GRN 7%
  • 10,158 (8%) -- Queen's Park -- LIB 46%, PC 23%, NDP 18%, GRN 9%
  • 10,387 (9%) -- Regent Park -- LIB 52%, PC 8%, NDP 28%, GRN 5%
  • 16,927 (14%) -- Rosedale-Moore Park -- LIB 43%, PC 39%, NDP 7%, GRN 9%
  • 8,743 (7%) -- Waterfront Communities -- LIB 45%, PC 15%, NDP 25%, GRN 10%


Lord Palmerston

That's awesome Krago, thanks for this.



Thanks for your observations about the signs. It's quite helpful for folks who are unable to visit the riding during the campaign. 


Wow, I'd never heard of Governors Bridge before. From the maps, it looks absolutely tiny. Tiny population, too. Learn something every day. It appears to be a small adjunct to Rosedale, but more Rosedale than Rosedale.

As Krago (tip o' the hat) so ably shows, Rosedale is only one neighbourhood. Even if Rosedale (and Yorkville, too, for that matter), votes solidly for Taylor, it won't matter a jot if the other neighbourhoods choose someone else.

The percentages are interesting. I have to wonder how much of Smitherman's vote was for him, and how much for being a Liberal. It's always difficult to parse these things, but given what's happening on the ground right now, I have to guess he built up a large personal following. When he went, it went, too.

Thanks, LP too. I rarely go into or near Rosedale, so it's nice to hear what's happening over there.

social democrat

Jim Coyle's provincial affairs column in the Star today basically tells Toronto Centre voters to vote NDP. I am amazed!

Bookish Agrarian

He doesn't actually come out and say it, which might be all he can get away with.  Amazing how buried it is on the Tor Star website though.  Not in the front-page list of columns, not on the opinion page - had to find it by calling up all of Coyle's recent columns. 

I am sure that is just some kind of technical glitchWink

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

Here's the link


[url= Microphone-hound oddly too shy for TV debate[/url]



Up against Murray however, in the person of New Democrat candidate and Toronto street nurse Cathy Crowe, is someone who may not talk in paragraphs but has lived in gospels. (And who was willing to do some talking on Paikin's show.)

So, anyone looking to support public broadcasting need not wait until the next telethon.

On Thursday, those living in Toronto Centre have an opportunity to punish presumption and defend TVO.

In fact, voters there have an almost risk-free (Mr. Murray might like that) chance to teach some lessons about not being taken for granted.


In [url=]this article in The Toronto Sun[/url], Crowe indicates that she is sensing that victory is within reach, while Murray calls the NDP "desperate" and claims against all evidence that his real challenge will come from Taylor.




aka Mycroft

Hm, that's a rather desperate attempt by Murray to scare NDP-Liberal switchers into voting for him in order to head off a Tory vicotry. Problem is this is a by-election so even if anyone believed his claim that Taylor is the real threat it doesn't really matter since a Tory victory wouldn't make a difference since McGuinty will still be in power on Friday regardless and since Taylor herself isn't a scary individual.

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

It's also less likely to work in a by-election. People who vote in a by-election tend to be more motivated (afterall, they take the time to vote) and are much more likely to be informed about the individual candidates and their chances of winning. Saying that Taylor is a threat to Murray lacks any credibility.


Jim Coyle doesn't tell readers to vote NDP. He walks them to a certain point, and then invites them to take the next step. Great writing, but my, he is sailing close to the wind.

So Taylor is your nearest threat, Glen? Dream on, buddy. That noise you're hearing is full-scale panic from the Murray campaign. If he manages to lose this, he'll never run for the Liberals again (federally or provincially). If he thinks scare tactics will work on TC voters, he is sadly mistaken.



Cathy Crowe's party is going to take place at the ABC Ballroom, Ramada Plaza hotel, 300 Jarvis Street (just south of Carlton). The party starts at 9:00 p.m. (February 4). You might want to get there early.

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

No one should arrive at the party until they've pulled every possible vote that they can.


Oh dear, I guess I've been called out on my assertion as to what Andy Barrie should and should not have asked. And of course while I do believe that a wide diversity of candidates should run, and parties should try to have folks of all backgrounds in their caucuses, I just think it matters more what those people stand for and what their voting records are, than certain physical or genetic attributes they might happen to have. It wouldn't be an issue as much for the Conservatives if they had a good record on those issues, but I still maintain it's not up members of the media to judge anyone's record or worthiness according to traits they have no control over, and I don't think they should be in the business of outing people.

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

Barrie wasn't asking her to out anyone. She did that on her own (and he apparently didn't even realize that she had done so).

In other by-election news, [url= in Winnipeg are watching the pending Murray train wreck with amusement[/url].


We at the factory discussed the possibilities that Murray was a bit older, perhaps a bit wiser and maybe not so full of himself. Unfortunately, it seems that Murray still has some growing up to do.

In a recent interview with the Toronto Star, Murray got some great ink suggesting that he has, in fact, successfully shunned his tag as an outsider and now has a very good shot at making a mark in the world of high-level party politics. The story also continues speculation that he is going directly into cabinet.

Then things get weird. In the interview, the reporter asks Murray about the help he has received from Liberal MP and former Ontario Premier Bob Rae, whose federal seat encompasses Murray's prospective provincial riding. Rae has lent Murray the entire weight of his election machine. He has appeared at Murray fundraisers, spun gold about Murray's candidacy in the Toronto media, and is widely quoted and photographed on Murray's website.

But when he was asked if he was following in Rae's footsteps - a politician who got out of the game only to make a high-profile comeback - Murray turned on Rae.

"I'm not like Bob Rae," Murray said. "I cut taxes every year I was mayor."

Rae, who was in Winnipeg Tuesday on the Liberal anti-prorogation national tour, is furious about the comments, according to sources. And rightly so. Murray had a reputation in Winnipeg for biting the hands that tried to feed him and get him elected. Both John Harvard, the MP who stepped aside for Murray to run in Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia and Lloyd Axworthy, the dean of former Liberal MPs, lavished Murray with their best people and support. Murray eventually spurned those offers, and installed his own people. And got whipped by now Tory MP and Minister of Democratic Renewal Steven Fletcher.

Exploiting Rae's high-profile and political machine, and then trying to distance yourself from his somewhat ambiguous legacy in Ontario, is pretty cynical stuff. And although Murray is the odds-on favourite to win this by-election, it's hard to imagine Rae's people working really hard to get out the vote on E-day, February 4.

Could this be a tragic mistake, a stumble in the final stages of a sure thing? Hard to say. But there will be a lot of Liberals watching with interest Thursday when the votes are counted.

We warned the good people of Toronto Centre to prepare for a Gong Show. The Sausage Factory makes no apologies for being right on this one.

Offending Rae could be a big deal. Rae is notoriously tempermental with those who cross him and the failure of his machine to make its expected appearance on E-Day could be the final nail in Murray's political coffin.

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

From today's Inside Queen's Park (no link available):


The Economist reports that Scott Brown's Jan. 19 Massachusetts victory was powerfully advanced when he slammed a media reference to "Ted Kennedy's seat", instead insisting he was running for "the people's seat".

So what does IQP suppose is happening in tomorrow's Toronto Centre by-election? In 'street nurse' Cathy Crowe the NDP is surely running the closest thing to a super-hero ever seen on the hustings in Ontario. A very prominent LIB heavyweight began by asking Crowe's prospects and then told us that his household's votes had already been cast for her in the advance poll. However, Tory sources note they led the third party by several hundred votes in both 2003 and 2007, and deny sensing any strong movement for Crowe. Yet Murray's refusal to take part in the TVO all-candidates' debate surely signifies nervousness, even cowardice. Not what you would expect from a hot-shot.

Having steered Glen Murray into running for his riding instead of entering the mayoralty march, George Smitherman has worked hard to elect the talkative ex-Winnipegger. Crowe's push to keep faith with the poor can't be expected to sweep Rosedale, and there's some visible rallying round the same-sex redoubt (Murray being the third consecutive Gay LIB to run here). But Crowe will be boosted strongly by the crusade to preserve Grace Hospital.

Even so, one seasoned NDP activist fails to decry the signs of upset which were present when NDPer Paul Ferreira snatched Joe Cordiano's former York South-Weston LIB seat three years ago. Yet If Crowe were to make it, or even hold Murray to a narrow margin, the shock to the McGuinty government would be severe. Having celebrated him so smugly at the outset, promoting a new but battered MPP right into cabinet would be chastening.

social democrat

The odds against Toronto Centre going NDP are very high.  But, on the other hand, I am hearing vibes from non-partisan Queen's Park civil servants that the Libs are terrified and think they are in trouble there.  We'll see tomorrow night, I guess.

Sunday Hat

Dumping $15 million into a hospital the day before an election indicates a certain amount of panic.


"The Salvation Army has saved Toronto Grace hospital.... After the Star revealed the uncertainty swirling around the Grace last week, the Liberal government, wary of Thursday's by-election in Toronto Centre, sprang into action.

Matthews, whose office had been aware of the possible closure of the facility since March 2009, scrambled to get a deal to keep the hospital in its historic location.

The hospital needs nearly $15 million in infrastructure upgrades and that was a key issue for the Army and whether or not it would stay at the Grace..."


The IQP article contains some amusing half-truths. The Tories not detecting any swing behind Crowe evidently haven't been listening, or even stepped south of Bloor. Or they're lying through their teeth and hoping against hope they can somewhere close to 2nd.

The mood I'm detecting is that the Liberals are severely rattled. Murray calling the NDP "desperate" is proof of that, oddly enough. Why shoot at a dead duck?

If Crowe wins, or even if Murray squeaks in, expect blood on the carpet at Liberal headquarters. There will be recriminations galore, not least between Murray's and Rae's camps. After all, if the NDP manages to shake loose one of the jewels in the Liberal firmament, won't they be enboldened to give Bob's seat a good rattling at the next federal election? If Toronto Centre can fall, would there even be such a thing as a safe Liberal seat? Aaaah, a good old Liberal fratricidal quarrel. I've missed them.

If the NDP gets the blocks out, then the impossible (as thought by everyone else) could happen. History could very well be made tomorrow.


I happen to think the saving of Toronto Grace hospital, wonderful as it is, will be too little, too late for the Liberals. People will see this as the last desperate act of a party to stop what they see as a highly regrettable incident: them losing Toronto Centre.


FWIW I spotted a honking big Crowe sign looking down Roxborough E from Yonge, and another looking down Rowanwood.  Yes, that's right, in the heart of Chestnut Park.  Rosedale, that is.


Scott Piatkowski wrote:

From today's Inside Queen's Park (no link available):

... Crowe's push to keep faith with the poor can't be expected to sweep Rosedale, and there's some visible rallying round the same-sex redoubt (Murray being the third consecutive Gay LIB to run here). ...

Tim Murphy was gay?  Who knew?  Wink


So, is anyone here willing to bet on a Crowe victory tomorrow night?

I think the Tories will win North of Bloor, the NDP will win South of Bloor and Glen Murray will eke out a narrow win.

Lord Palmerston

Here's my prediction:

Liberals, 41%

NDP, 31%

Conservatives, 22%

Greens, 5%

Murray wins by about 2500 votes.


I'm going to put this in the Too Close to Call column, but to indulge myself, here are my guesstimates (all numbers rounded up/down):

Greens: 4%

Liberals: c.34%

NDP: c. 36%

PCs: 24%

Although I have Crowe taking it, it's within 2%, so definite margin of error territory. If Rae's machine stays home and plays canasta out of pique, and if the NDP shake every friendly poll up and down to get every last supporter out, I'm going to pin this on Crowe by a margin of 500-1,000 votes (maybe a little more).

LP is being a little too generous with the Greens. They going to go down to absolute baseline vote who would vote Green no matter what. The Crowe campaign has played an extremely strong ground game, and any NDP/Green flips will go NDP, as they know Crowe is a better bet for their values to get heard.

If Taylor picks up any steam south of Bloor (and I mean *any*), then she will eat into Murray's vote, and big things could happen.


Star and Globe articles. The Star article makes a good point about turnout being depressed. I'm going to guess around 25-30% turnout. While it's not likely to snow today, there's still plenty of slush around and it's staying in minus territory all day.

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture


Turmoil around the Salvation Army's plans to withdraw and the facility's future quickly became a headache for Glen Murray - the Liberal candidate in Toronto-Centre - and he has lashed out at opponents for raising what he called a red herring.

"Perhaps today, the only thing redder than herring, might be Glen Murray's face," New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath said, crediting her party's candidate Cathy Crowe with forcing the government to deal with the issue. "It's unfortunate the McGuinty government was playing politics with these patient's lives."



Sorry, just delivered Cathy her Kiss of Death - I voted for her. Tongue out People I vote for tend to lose.


I really think Murray will win, but not by the margin that Hoskins' won by in St. Paul's.  Liberals always whip themselves up into frenzies in the last few days of a by-election, particularly those where the outcome is practically pre-determined.  I think Palmerston's prediction is closest, although with the NDP and Conservatives totals closer to each other's.


But this being a by-election, I always think there's room for surprises and for the received wisdom to be confounded. After all, no-one (outside the NDP and his supporters) thought Paul Ferreira could win, until he did.

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

I predict that Crowe will win by one vote and that it will be Doug's.


Wouldn't that be wonderful?!


Good luck to you all, and Bob Rae should be ashamed of himself, but then that's hardly an original or new thought.


I couldn't get Scott's link to open.

It's found here:


Move to my riding, Doug.  You'll love it. :)  (I can brag now that I'm no longer in Davenport.)

I work in Cathy Crowe's riding - wish I could vote here!  She's amazing.  Wouldn't it be fabulous if she won?


This was posted as news on Glen Murray's website:

Toronto Mayoral candidate George Smitherman, the Hon. Bob Rae, MP Toronto Centre and the Hon. Pierre Pettigrew were among the first to vote for Glen Murray in the Toronto Centre by-election.

Pierre Pettigrew! What a blast from the past. I wonder if he's going to be at the Liberal party tonight, or else in Paris getting his mane trimmed. Wink

El-Farouk Khaki

For those questioning LGBT support for Cathy, I was one of her nominators at her Nomination Meeting, and have canvassed with her in thsi campaign.  


Pierre Pettigrew? If that's the best he can do, Glen must surely be in trouble! I jest, really.

I have to agree with El-Farouk; I haven't seen any groundswell of "Cathy Crowe hasn't made LGBT issues the centrepiece of her campaign, so I'm voting for Glen Murray even though I'd normally vote NDP" sentiment in the gay village. The neighbourhood's always been kind of divided between the red and orange teams, so it's always been a bit of a tussle -- but I haven't seen any evidence to suggest that Crowe's campaign has been bleeding gay NDPers.

I mean, come on. Does anybody seriously think Crowe hasn't already demonstrated her bona fides on LGBT issues a million times over?


That. and the gay vote probably isn't what it once was in the riding.


61 out of 292 polls:

Murray 44.4

Crowe 36.0

Taylor 15.6

Premdas 2.9

Maysie Maysie's picture

99 polls in:

Murray 46.8

Crowe 34.0

Taylor 15.1

Premdas 2.8

Maysie Maysie's picture

204 polls in:

Murray: 45.8

Crowe: 32.7

Taylor 16.7

Premdas 3.2

Maysie Maysie's picture

I've started a new thread here.

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

A quick look at the past provincial and federal results for this riding show that (by a mile) this is going to be the best showing for the NDP in this area in some time, possibly the best ever.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Okay trying again: continue here.


P.S. to Banjo: not fast enough apparently. Cool


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