Sunday, November 25, 2012

Federal by-elections (Part 2: Durham)

Guide map

Durham is an exurban riding located east of Toronto, consisting of the municipalities of Clarington, Uxbridge, Scugog and the tiny Mississaugas of Scugog First Nation. Major communities include Bowmanville, Courtice, Newcastle, Uxbridge and Port Perry.

The riding is 95% White, with Blacks being the largest visible minority at just 2%. Aboriginals make up 1% of the population, despite their being a reserve in the riding. 92% of the riding has English as their mother tongue, while just 2% have their native language as French. 52% of the riding is Protestant and 24% is Catholic. 20% of residents have no religion at all.. In 2005, the median income of the riding was $32,869, making it the 22ndth richest riding in Ontario.

The riding under its current boundaries has only existed since the last redistribution 10 years ago. The three municipalities were first united in 1988, but Uxbridge would be removed from 1997 to 2004. Historically, what is now the riding of Durham spanned two counties, Durham and Ontario. Ontario County was dissolved in 1972, and included Uxbridge and the western half of what is today Scugog (Reach and Scugog Townships). Clarington and the eastern half of Scugog (Cartwright Twp) would be found in Durham County. Today, they are all in the Durham Regional Municipality.

Today, Durham is a safe Conservative seat, but has historically switched back and forth between the Liberals and Tories. The CCF (predecessor to the NDP) briefly held the riding of Ontario, which included part of today's Scugog Twp from 1948 to 1949. The United Farmers of Ontario also briefly held part of the riding (today's Uxbridge and western Scugog), as they held the riding of Ontario North from 1919 to 1925.

Since the three municipalities were first united in 1988, the area has been dominated by right wing parties. While the Liberals won the seat in 1993, 1997 and 2000, the combined Reform/Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative vote in each of those elections was higher than the Liberals. It was only natural that when the Conservatives were united that they would win this seat back in 2004, although it was a close race that year. Ever since then, the Tories have been adding to their margins.

List of MPs (Durham County part):

Durham West
* D.E. Blake, Liberal (1867-1873)
* E.B. Wood, Liberal (1873-1874)
* H.W. Burk, Liberal (1874-1879)
* D.E. Blake, Liberal (1879-1891)
2nd time
* Rbt. Beith, Liberal (1891-1900)

* C.J. Thornton, Cons. (1900-1901)
* Rbt. Beith, Liberal (1902-1904)


* H.A. Ward, Cons. (1904-1908)
* C.J. Thornton, Cons. (1908-1917)
2nd time 

* N.W. Rowell, Unionist (1917-1921)
* F.W. Bowen, Cons. (1921-1935)

* W.F. Rickard, Liberal (1935-1945)
* C.E. Stephenson, Prog. Cons. (1945-1949)
* J.M. James, Liberal (1949-1957)
* R.P. Vivian, Prog. Cons. (1957-1962)
* R.C. Honey, Liberal (1962-1968)


* R.C. Honey, Liberal (1968-1972) contd. 
* A.F. Lawrence, Prog. Cons. (1972-1979)


Note: Ontario County abolished and Reach and Scugog Twps (formerly in Ontario County) have been amalgamated into the new Township of Scugog along with Cartwright (formerly in Durham County). The entirety of the new Scugog Township would be in this riding.

 * A.F. Lawrence, Prog. Cons. (1979-1988) contd.

 List of MPs (Ontario County part)

Ontario North (1867-1882)

* J.A. Thompson, Liberal (1867-1872)
* W.H. Gibbs, Cons. (1872-1874)
* Adam Gordon, Liberal (1874-1876)
* W.H. Gibbs, Cons. (1876-1878) 2nd time 

* Geo. Wheeler, Liberal (1878-1882)

In 1882, the area would be split into 3 different ridings. Scugog (the peninsular part of today's Scugog Township) and Scott Twps (north half of today's Uxbridge) remain in Ontario North while Uxbridge Twp (south half of today's Uxbridge) would be transferred to the new riding of Ontario West. Reach Twp (west half of today's Scugog Twp, excluding the peninsula) was added to the new riding of Ontario South. 

Ontario West (1882-1904) [Uxbridge]

* Geo. Wheeler, Liberal (1882-1884) contd. 

* J.D. Edgar, Liberal (1884-1899)
* I.J. Gould, Liberal (1900-1904)

In 1904, Uxbridge Twp. is transferred to Ontario North.

Ontario North (1882-1925) [Scugog & Scott]

* A.P. Cockburn, Liberal (1882-1887)
* Frank Madill, Cons. (1887-1895)

Note: In 1896, Scugog Twp is removed from the riding and added to Ontario South.

* J.A. McGillivray, Lib.-Cons. (1895-1896)

* Duncan Graham, Ind. Lib. (1897-1900)
* Angus McLeod, Cons. (1900-1902)
* G.D. Grant, Liberal (1903-1904)

Note: In 1904, Uxbridge Township is added 

 * G.D. Grant, Liberal (1904-1908) contd.
* S.S. Sharpe, Cons. (1908-1918)

* R.H. Halbert, Ind./U.F.O. (1919-1925)

Muskoka—Ontario (1925-1949) [Uxbridge & Scott]

* Peter McGibbon, Cons. (1925-1935)
* S.J. Furniss, Liberal (1935-1945)
* J.M. MacDonnell, Prog. Cons. (1945-1949)

In 1949, the riding is abolished, and Uxbridge and Scott are transferred to the Ontario riding.

Ontario South (1882-1925) [Reach]

 * F.W. Glen, Liberal (1882-1887)
* Wm. Smith, Cons. (1887-1891)
* J.I. Davidson, Liberal (1891-1892)
* Wm. Smith, Cons. (1892-1896) 2nd time

Note: In 1896, Scugog Twp is added to the riding.  

* Leonard Burnett, Liberal (1896-1900)
* Wm. Ross, Liberal (1900-1904)
* Peter Christie, Cons. (1904-1908)
* F.L. Fowke, Liberal (1908-1911)
* Wm. Smith, Cons. (1911-1921) 3rd time 

* L.O. Clifford, Liberal (1921-1925)

Ontario (1925-1988) [Reach & Scugog] 
* T.E. Kaiser, Cons. (1925-1930)
* W.H. Moore, Liberal (1930-1945)
* W.E.N. Sinclair, Liberal (1945-1947)

* A.H. Williams, C.C.F. (1948-1949)

Note: Uxbridge and Scott Twps added to the riding

* W.C. Thomson, Liberal (1949-1951)

* Michael Starr, Prog. Cons. (1952-1968)
* N.A. Cafik, Liberal (1968-1979)

Note: The new Scugog Twp (Scugog and Reach Twps) removed from riding and added to Durham.
* T.S. Fennell, Prog. Cons. (1979-1988)

List of MPs since 1988

Durham (1988-present)
The Municipalities of Clarington (then called Newcastle), Scugog and Uxbridge would first be united in one riding 1988. Uxbridge was removed from the riding between 1997 and 2004. The riding would briefly be named “Clarington—Scugog—Uxbridge” for the 2004 election.  

* K.R. Stevenson, Prog. Cons. (1988-1993)
* A.J. Shepherd, Liberal (1993-2004)
* Ms. B.J. Oda, Cons. (2004-2012)

Pickering—Ajax--Uxbridge (1997-2004) [Uxbridge]
Uxbridge would be briefly in this riding.
* D.P. McTeague, Liberal (1997-2004)

Poll maps

2004 election

In 2004, the Tories targeted this riding because the combined Canadian Alliance-Progressive Conservative vote from the 2000 election was higher than the Liberals. The result would have been close though, with the Liberals losing by 2,000 votes in a hypothetical match up. The 2004 elected featured Orono journalist Bev Oda for the Conservatives against Uxbridge executive Tim Lang of the Liberals. The race would be very close, with Oda edging out Lang by 1,300 votes. Oda won the race by carrying her home turf in rural Clarington, rural Scugog Twp as well as Newcastle. Lang would win his home territory of Uxbridge, as well as Port Perry. Bowmanville and Courtice, the two largest communities in the riding would be split between the two candidates. Oda's best poll would be 59, in rural Scugog Township where she got 52% of the vote. This poll is located on the shores of Lake Scugog, and is centered on the community of Aldreds Beach. The Liberals' best poll would be 49 which is located in Port Perry. The Liberals scored 59% of the vote there. Interestingly, the area, which is known as Highland Beach appears to be quite an upscale part of town, and is located on the western shores of Lake Scugog.

2006 election

By 2006, the popularity of the Tories in exurban Ontario would increase dramatically, and Oda would find little trouble winning her second election. Her main opponent was former NDP MPP and Scugog mayor Doug Moffatt, who was running for the Liberals. Oda beat Moffatt by nearly 10,000 votes. Oda won nearly every poll in the riding, including sweeping Uxbridge (where she had lost in 2004), and the rural parts of Scugog and Clarington. The Liberals would be relegated to a few urban polls in Clarington and Port Perry. Moffatt being mayor of Scugog didn't help him much in the township where he won just two polls, and tied in another. Oda's best area was once again her home base of rural Clarington. Her best poll however was 66 in Scugog where she won 58% of the vote. This poll is in the rural southern part of Scugog and is adjacent to Clarington. The area is mostly rural farm land and is centered on the community of Purple Hill. The Liberals' best poll was once again 49 in Port Perry where they actually tied the Conservatives at 45%. The Liberals won a number of other polls, but with less share of the vote.

2008 election

By 2008, the Liberals had totally written of the riding and Oda won an easy election. The Liberals with candidate Bryan Ransom still finished 2nd however, but lost the seat by a margin of 16,000 votes. This time Oda did win every single poll in the riding, and getting large majorities in much of the rural areas. Her weakest areas continued to be urban areas, and her worst part of the riding was central Bowmanville. Her best poll was 164 this time, in Wilmot Creek, a subdivision on Lake Ontario near Newcastle. Oda won 68% of the vote there, a symbol of finally winning over many Liberals in the riding, as her previous best poll from 2006 was just 58%. Oda's worst poll, which she still happened to win was 95 in central Courtice right at the main intersection of Courtice Rd and King St. In this poll, she won just 37% of the vote, but benefited from vote splitting between the Liberals, NDP and Greens who won 33%, 18% and 12% of the vote respectively in that poll.

2011 election

In 2011, the riding was firmly considered a safe seat for the Tories, and Oda went on to win the election with only a slight increase in her vote share. This time her main opponent was the NDP's Tammy Schoep, whom she defeated by nearly 20,000 votes. The Liberals were relegated to 3rd place for the first time in the riding's short history. Oda once again won every poll in the riding, and dominated the rural areas. Once again, her weakest parts of the riding were in the urban areas, specifically Courtice and Bowmanville. This time, Oda's best poll was 27-1 in rural Uxbridge where she won 77% of the vote. This poll includes a new subdivision next to the Wyndance Golf Club at Coppins Corners on Goodwood Rd. Oda's worst poll was also in Uxbridge Twp, but this time in the town. This was poll 22 where she won 42% of the vote. This poll is located near the centre of the town, and is centered on Victoria Dr. The NDP came in a distant 2nd in the poll with 27% of the vote. The Liberals won 21% and the Greens 8% in that poll.

The by-election
Tomorrow's by-election was spurred upon the resignation of Bev Oda back in July amidst a scandal involving her spending habits. Nonetheless, the seat is still considered a safe Tory seat. Running for the Conservatives is lawyer and pilot Erin O'Toole, who lives in Courtice. The NDP is running former MPP and Brock Twp mayor Larry O'Connor. The Liberal candidate is Grant Humes, an executive from Bowmanville. And the Green candidate is field technician and previous candidate (2004 and 2006) Virginia Ervin, who resides in Hampton. The most recent Forum Research poll in this riding showed O'Toole well in the lead with 42%. O'Connor was in 2nd place with 26%, Humes had 22% and Ervin was at 7%. This would be good news for the New Democrats, who won 21% of the vote here in 2011. This result would also be an increase for the Liberals who received 18% in 2011. I don't expect the Tories to lose, but it will be interesting to see who finished 2nd, and whoever does will have bragging rights for sure.

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