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Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006

Key ridings

By MARTIN MITTELSTAEDT
Globe and Mail
Monday, Sep. 15, 2003


Nipissing
Hamilton West
London West
London North Centre
Thornhill

Here are some of the ridings that will be crucial in determining the election result.

Nipissing
Progressive Conservative: Al McDonald
Liberal: Monique Smith
New Democrat: Terry O'Connor

This riding centring on North Bay is the old stamping ground of former Premier Mike Harris, who had a hammerlock on the seat for the Conservatives election after election. But during last year's contest to replace Mr. Harris after his resignation as MPP, Conservative Al McDonald managed to hold the seat by a mere 19 votes over his Liberal challenger.

In this rematch, Mr. McDonald will have to fight off a strong push by Liberal Monique Smith, a lawyer with deep roots in the riding. Her father was a MPP for the area, and she has served as Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty's chief of staff. Liberal insiders say that if the province goes their way, Nipissing will help lead the change.

Click here for full results from Nipissing.

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Hamilton West
Progressive Conservative: Doug Brown
Liberal: Judy Marsales
New Democrat: Roy Adams

This will be another closely watched race. The NDP has held this riding comfortably due to vote splits between the Tories and Liberals and the personal popularity of MPP David Christopherson. But with Mr. Christopherson retiring, it's an open contest. NDP newcomer Roy Adams, a professor emeritus of business at McMaster University, will have to work hard to keep it safe New Democrat territory. Consider the race a tossup with all three parties competitive.

Prince Edward-Hastings. This Eastern Ontario seat, where the major community is Belleville, held the distinction in the 1999 election of having the tightest race. Liberal Ernie Parsons won by a slim 56 votes, or only 0.1 per cent, over the Tory. It's a must-win seat for the Liberals and Conservatives alike.

Click here for complete results from Hamilton West.

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London West
Progressive Conservative: Robert Wood
Liberal: Chris Bentley
NDP: Patti Dalton
The riding was a seesaw Tory-Liberal battle in 1999, with Conservative Bob Wood barely holding it by fewer than 300 votes out of nearly 50,000 cast. This urban riding is a high priority for the Liberals, who are hoping to unseat Mr. Wood, a backbencher who has held a string of parliamentary assistant posts but has never managed to land in cabinet since riding to power on Mr. Harris's coattails in 1995.

Click here for complete results from London West.

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London North Centre
Progressive Conservative: Dianne Cunningham
Liberal: Deb Matthews
NDP: Rebecca Coulter
This is the home turf of moderate Conservative Dianne Cunningham, who faced a strong challenge from the NDP in 1999, in the person of former provincial attorney-general Marion Boyd.

The seat is one of only a handful where the NDP came second last time and had a decent shot at winning. The party has put forward one of its star candidates in Rebecca Coulter, an education professor at the University of Western Ontario.

The London seat is one the NDP will have to win to increase the odds of producing a minority government, probably the best possible outcome for the third party in this election.

Clich here for complete results from London North Centre.

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Thornhill
Progressive Conservative: Tina Molinari
Liberal: Mario Racco
NDP: Laurie Orrett
This 905 riding north of Toronto will be a race to watch as a Liberal-Tory slugfest. In 1999, Conservative Tina Molinari won it in a squeaker, the tightest race in the Toronto suburbs.

The Conservatives have owned ridings in the 905 telephone area-code zone around Toronto since the 1995 election, and the Liberals would have to make breakthroughs in Thornhill and at least a few of the other seats to win power.

Thornhill could be a riding where the Tory promise of tax credits for private schools is a deciding issue. The riding has a high percentage of Jewish voters who may be swayed by the credits for tuition at private religious schools. The Liberals are running Mario Racco, a long-serving Vaughan councillor with high name recognition in the riding.

Private schools a topic of concern to the voters in Thornhill

Click here for complete results from Thornhill.

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Election Results
Party L E T
Liberal 0 72 72
PC 0 24 24
NDP 0 7 7
Indep. 0 0 0
Total 0 103 103
Updated regularly
Majority=52
(L)Leading
(E)Elected
(T)Total
Full election results

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