Wannabe Federal Liberal MP Tony Van Bynen is neck and neck with his Conservative rival, the listless and invisible Lois Brown.  

Tony Van Bynen

In its latest prediction (18 August 2019) the election website 338canada.com says it’s a toss-up between the 69 year old retired banker and the former MP for Newmarket-Aurora, Lois Brown.

Popular Vote too close to call

338canada.com forecasts the popular vote giving 39.5% to the Conservatives and 38.4% to the Liberals. The projections include a very wide margin of error of 7% either way. (As you look at the graphs check out the methodology here.)

The CBC nationwide poll tracker is here.

The old banker emailed supporters last Thursday inviting them to a “day of action” with food and celebrations to mark the opening of his campaign office. He tells them he has been working hard 

“speaking to members of our community” 

and the response has been:

“overwhelmingly positive.”

That’s terrific news. I know what it is like to knock on doors. But what has he been speaking to them about? His pensions? 

Sizzling contributions

With this latest election projection, Tony will now be thinking about Ottawa from the comfort of his rocking chair, dreaming about the sizzling contributions he will soon be making to the national debate. 

Newmarket – Aurora is a wealthy riding with median household incomes (mid-way between the highest and lowest incomes) far above the figures for Ontario and Canada as a whole.

If income is a major determinant of voting behaviour then the Conservatives should have this riding in the bag. But, of course, other factors come into play. Getting out the vote is just one.

Tony’s track record will inevitably be scrutinised. There are one or two downsides but nothing insurmountable. But he will have to get his answers ready for the big election debates.

We have it on the authority of Dave Kerwin, the longest serving councillor in Canada (until he retired from Newmarket Council last October) that Tony never shows any leadership

Tony sees merit in “followership”

Demolition in Main Street. 

The old banker was close to the developer Bob Forrest who wanted to demolish the historic commercial buildings on Main Street to make way for a new condo which would disfigure the entire downtown heritage district, ruining panoramas and vistas. Tony backed Bob but couldn’t persuade any of his Council colleagues to support the development and he was outvoted 8:1.

The Clock Tower and the old historic commercial buildings to the south are currently being done up before being sold. Had Tony had his way the old buildings on Main would by now be a pile of rubble.

Tony's way: "Never explain. Never complain."

The massive Glenway development –  directly affecting hundreds of local people - showed Tony as his most soothing and emollient best. A packed meeting called to discuss “lessons learned” from the debacle had him thanking people for their contributions while keeping his own thoughts to himself. Anyway, that’s all water under the bridge. Tony is hard at work reinventing himself as a tribune of the people.

The Greens and NDP

But what about the Greens and the NDP in Newmarket-Aurora?

I suspect the Greens will increase their vote on the back of the climate crisis that is staring us in the face. They have an affable and engaging candidate in Walter Bauer. 338canada.com puts them on 9.7% of the popular vote (+ or – 3.6%). Global heating is happening twice as fast in Canada than elsewhere. The tundra is thawing. The ice is melting. And people are beginning to wake up to the implications. Even the somnolent Tony Van Bynen.

The NDP, projected here to take 9.1% of the vote (+ or – 3.2%), are fielding a strong and experienced candidate, Yvonne Kelly. Despite her sterling qualities, the jury is out on how well the NDP will perform under their newish leader Jagmeet Singh.

The Manitoba election

As it happens I was over in Manitoba last week - once an NDP stronghold - and had a chance to speak to people on the ground about the upcoming Provincial election on 10 September 2019. The Conservative Premier, Brian Pallister, called the election a year early on the grounds he didn’t want it to clash with Manitoba’s 150thanniversary celebrations in 2020. 

In the last election in 2016 the Conservatives ended a run of 17 years of NDP Governments and it will be fascinating to see if the NDP can claw its way back into contention. The pundits and pollsters say it can’t be done but the soothsayers frequently get it wrong

Provincial Pointers to Federal Election results

Are Provincial election results a good predictor of Federal elections? 

Not necessarily.

But in Manitoba if the NDP can erode the Conservative majority that will be for them an encouraging sign. The Provincial and Federal election campaigns will overlap to a great extent.

Wandering through downtown Winnipeg, I see a giant public information notice in a bus shelter reminding everyone that two Accident and Emergency Departments in the city are being rebranded (and downgraded) as Urgent Care Centres. 

The NDP oppose the change.

It is unlikely to affect me as I am only in Town for a few days. But as I stroll by it reminds me that elections have consequences.

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The People's Party of Canada has selected Andrew McCaughtrie as its candidate for Newmarket-Aurora.

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