Ontario by-elections come amid low ratings for Wynne Liberals

Nov 17, 2016 | News

By: Sargon Jajjo

Desire for change may play a critical factor in two provincial by-elections being held Thursday in Ontario

The by-elections will be held in Ottawa-Vanier, traditionally a seat the Liberal government controls.

The second by-election will be held in the Niagara-West Glanbrook region, which has been held by the Progressive Conservatives and where Sam Oosterhoff, 19 years old, has made headlines as the party’s candidate.

Polls are open from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. ET, Elections Ontario says on its website.

Robert Williams, a University of Waterloo political science professor, says the rising rate of electricity is one of the reason why Ontario votes might want change.

“This has become an ongoing concern,” said Williams.

“Electricity arrangement in Ontario have been a bit of shambles, it seems to me.”

With many households coping with rising hydro rates, Williams isn’t confident any political party in Ontario has the remedy voters may be looking for.

“There is no easy answer,” he said.

“The Liberals might try to throw some money at it, which kind of seems to be the standard response,” Williams told Humber News.

With former PC leader Tim Hudak’s resignation in September, the Niagara-West Glanbrook riding became vacant. The riding has been controlled by the PCs since it was created.

Ottawa-Vanier became vacant last June when Madeleine Meilleur, a long time Liberal MPP and attorney general, resigned.

PC Leader Patrick Brown called the Ottawa-Vanier riding a Liberal fortress that is Premier Kathleen Wynne’s to lose.

Brown said this by-election is a chance for voters to voice their displeasure at the Liberal government.

He also raised the issue of hydro rates in the legislature on Wednesday.

“No one believes for a second that hydro bills are going down under this government. Years of Liberal scandal, waste and mismanagement have created a hydro crisis in our province,” he said in Question Period.

Wynne’s popularity has made headlines lately.

A Forum Research poll in September said Wynne’s approval rating was 16 per cent and her disapproval rating was 74 per cent of voters surveyed.

In terms of party support, Forum’s polling in October found that the PCs were at 43 per cent support, the Liberals at 24, the NDP had 23 and the Green Party was at 8 per cent.

The next Ontario general election will be held in June 2018.