Canada 2019: Ontario – City of Toronto

Don Valley East

MP at Dissolution: Yasmin Ratansi, Liberal

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: Don Valley East is a Toronto riding which contains suburban areas like Don Mills and Sloane, providing high-density residential areas which voted Liberal in large numbers. Incumbent MP and Liberal candidate Yasmin Ratansi is a longtime Liberal politician, and although she lost in 2011, on the current boundaries, the Liberals would have won in that disaster year too. She can be seen as a strong fit for the diverse community of the riding; there is a sizeable Asian and Eastern European population. These voters powered the victory for Michael Coteau in 2018 against a popular city councillor; the provincial riding shares the exact same boundaries and was one of seven Liberal holds in that disaster year. Whilst that is not a direct comparison, it is indicative of the makeup and direction of the riding. Ratansi won with 57.8% of votes last time, with a nearly 30% margin of victory. She faces Michael Ma for the Conservatives.
This leads us to believe the riding should be rated as Solidly Liberal. A combination of diverse and affluent populations has proven to be increasingly tough for Conservatives here, and with the poor polling for the Conservatives in Ontario, this is wildly out of reach for them. It seems unlikely to have been on any reasonable target list at all regardless. The NDP, PPC and Greens are a non-factor as well – there is no ‘progressive split’ We expect Ratansi to win convincingly again, whether the Liberals form government again or not.

Humber River-Black Creek

MP at Dissolution: Judy Sgro, Liberal

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: Humber River-Black Creek, formerly York West, is a suburban, but less affluent riding in the North York part of Toronto. It has been consistently one of the strongest ridings for the Liberals in Ontario. The NDP win provincially reveals little about the riding’s true political colours – it gave longtime Liberal incumbent Judy Sgro a 67% vote share, the highest for any MP in Ontario. She is running for re-election against strong but ultimately token opposition, including former city councillor (not representing part of the riding) Maria Augimeri, and Conservative community member Iftikhar Chaudhry. The riding, like many others in the area, contains a sizeable Italian-Canadian community.

We rate this as Solidly Liberal. The demographics are conducive to a Liberal win, but no matter how well the Liberals do in Toronto, this will not be any bellwether. They simply aren’t reaching a point like they did provincially, with only seven Liberal MPPs, and unlike then this isn’t on any party’s target list. Sgro might not be as popular as she is long-serving, but she is popular enough, and more importantly, she’s on the right team for this riding.

Scarborough-Guildwood

MP at Dissolution: John McKay, Liberal

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: One of six Scarborough ridings, Guildwood has been the most Liberal in recent history, going big for the very popular John McKay. The riding went for him with 60% of votes last time, and was Liberal enough to re-elect another, Mitzie Hunter, one of only seven in their 2018 disaster. Guildwood has some of the highest Muslim and black populations for any riding, and they have supported McKay in large numbers over the years. Now, he’s trying to cross the 20 year mark with a seventh term. That seventh term should be an easy win for McKay. The Liberal strength here was enough (when combined with his own popularity and local presence) to see him through the 2011 disaster, and to re-elect him by a big margin. With token opposition, he should cruise to victory, likely close to 60% again. 

Toronto Centre

MP at Dissolution: Bill Morneau, Liberal

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: Toronto Centre, currently the smallest sized riding in Canada, covers the downtown core of Toronto to the east of Yonge Street. Having been Liberal since 1993, it went for the now-Minister of Finance Bill Morneau who held the seat with 57.9% of votes. It combines the wealthy residences of the downtown core with social housing on the edge of the riding, but there is a sizeable Liberal presence amongst both of these demographics here. 

Our rating is Solidly Liberal. The Liberal base here is substantial – and there’s no other party that can truly penetrate it, not even the NDP, whose provincial performance here in 2018 should not carry over in these different circumstances. Morneau isn’t really a constituency MP, and will probably not want to be a backbencher – but he is a Liberal, which should be good enough to win in this solidly Liberal riding.

Toronto-Danforth

MP at Dissolution: Julie Dabrusin, Liberal

Our Rating: Likely Liberal

Our Take: Toronto-Danforth is best known as the riding of Jack Layton, the NDP’s most successful leader – who gained this from Dennis Mills in 2004 and held it until his death. It is one of the most diverse ridings in Canada, with significant South Asian, East Asian and Greek communities. In 2015, the NDP incumbent Craig Scott, who succeeded Layton, was unseated by Liberal Julie Dabrusin. She won with 42.3% to Scott’s 40.1% – the victory was considered a major upset given the strength of the NDP here. She is running for re-election against the NDP candidate, filmmaker Min Sook Lee, as well as Zia Choudhary for the Conservatives. 

We rate this seat as Likely Liberal. Polls of the 416 (City of Toronto) show that things aren’t looking up for the NDP – and here, there is a bit of a climb down. Min Sook Lee may be a decent fit for the riding – but she simply isn’t Craig Scott, let alone anything like Layton at his peak. Dabrusin is doing well as an incumbent – and she has a clear edge as a candidate and as a Liberal, but we can’t discount some challenge from the NDP. If they want to get anything near their 44 seats from last time, they will need to win this. We don’t see that happening, but we do see the dynamics of a potentially competitive race – this is the sort of riding Jagmeet Singh should do well in. That isn’t happening, but we still believe the NDP will put up a decent challenge, and so we rate this as Likely Liberal.