Ontario Liberals to call five byelections for August 1: report

Summer isn't the ideal time for an election — voters and volunteers invariably have better things to do.

But it looks like that's what it's going to happen in Ontario for five ridings that currently don't have MPPs.

The Canadian Press is reporting that on Wednesday Premier Kathleen Wynne will announce byelections in Etobicoke, Scarborough, Ottawa, London and Windsor for August 1.

While all five ridings were Liberal strongholds, calling the byelections now is a bit risky for a governing party marred with a gas plant closure boondoggle — which cost taxpayers over half a billion dollars — and the associated email deletion scandal.

Here's a breakdown of each of the ridings:

1. Etobicoke-Lakeshore:

- Incumbent: Laurel Broten (Lib)

- Results from last election: Lib: 50.8 per cent; PC: 29.2 per cent; NDP: 15.6 per cent

2. Scarborough-Guildwood

Incumbent: Margarett Best (Lib)

Results from last election: Lib: 48.9 per cent; PC: 28.6 per cent; NDP: 19.4 per cent

3. Ottawa South

Incumbent: Dalton McGuinty (Lib)

Results from last election: Lib: 48.9 per cent; PC: 33.4 per cent; NDP: 13.4 per cent

4. London West

Incumbent: Chris Bentley (Lib)

Results from last election: Lib: 45.7 per cent; PC: 29.5 per cent; NDP: 21.7 per cent

5. Windsor-Tecumseh

Incumbent: Dwight Duncan (Lib)

Results from last election: Lib: 42.8 per cent; NDP: 32.8 per cent; PC: 20.8 per cent

[ Related: Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s ‘giddy, girly’ makeover gets attention ]

According to a Forum Research poll published in Tuesday's Toronto Star, the Liberals are heavily favoured in Etobicoke South-West.

They might, however, be in trouble in a couple of the other ridings.

Another Forum poll from June 12 suggests they could lose former premier Dalton McGuinty's riding in Ottawa. That poll — again released exclusively to the Toronto Star — claimed that the Tories have 37 per cent of popular support to the Liberals' 34 per cent.

Their other tough test will be be in Windsor-Tecumseh, where the NDP has recruited a high-profile and popular candidate in Percy Hatfield, the Windsor councillor and former journalist.

[ More Politics: Ontario cuts costs by eliminating $150M payout to Toronto ]

These five byelections will be the first for the Liberals with Premier Kathleen Wynne at the helm.

Currently the Liberals have 48 out of the 107 seats at Queen's Park, the Tories have 36 and the New Democrats have 18.

(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)

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