Ridings we watched
Last month, we reported on five ridings to watch.
Here is what happened in those five races.
Pro-life cabinet minister Gary Lunn was beaten by pro-abortion Green Party leader Elizabeth May, the first time the party of radical environmentalists has elected an MP to the House of Commons. May beat Lunn easily, 31,900 to 24,541, and was aided in the collapse of the combined Liberal and NDP vote, who among them garnered just over 12,500 votes. In 2008, Briony Penn, the Liberal candidate, had more than 25,000 votes.
Pro-life challenger Marty Burke was unable to unseat pro-abortion Liberal incumbent Frank Valeriote. In 2008, Valeriote beat Conservative candidate Gloria Kovach 18,977 to 17,185. Although Burke was able to build on the base Tory vote and garner 19,252 votes – an increase of 2,000 votes for the party – the collapse of the Green vote from nearly 12,500 to under 4,000 helped the Liberals maintain the seat as Valeriote received nearly 25,600 votes. As in Saanich-Gulf Islands on the west coast, the coalescing of the Liberal-NDP-Green vote around a single candidate sank the pro-life Conservative.
In 2008, pro-life school board trustee and Conservative candidate Stephen Woodworth edged past Liberal MP and radical feminist Karen Redman by 339 votes and was thought to be a in tight rematch in 2011. Woodworth was not only re-elected but grew his margin of victory to nearly 6,000 votes or more than 10 per cent.
In another rematch from 2008, incumbent pro-life Conservative Kelly Block was thought to vulnerable to Nettie Wiebe, whom she beat three years ago by 253 votes, or less than 1 per cent of the votes cast. With the nation-wide NDP surge, Block’s slim margin of victory from 2008 seemed perilously thin. With every polling station, it seemed, the lead would change hands, and despite the near total-collapse of the Liberal and Green votes to a combined 1300 votes, Block grew her margin of victory ever so slightly to 538, defeating Wiebe 14,652 to 14,114.
It is no surprise that with the Liberal seat count in Toronto and adjacent cities falling from 31 to 7, that a number of pro-life Grits were among the casualties. While little is known about Tory Corneliu Chisu, who defeated pro-life stalwart Dan McTeague in Pickering-Scarborough, in Mississauga South, Liberal MP Paul Szabo was defeated by a pro-life Conservative, Stella Ambler. In recent years, Szabo has won with margins of only a few thousand votes as the Conservatives offered up challengers who would not stand up for life and family. In 2011, the Conservatives swept Mississauga and Brampton, and Ambler, who was qualified by Campaign Life Coalition as pro-life after she signed their questionnaire, won by nearly 5,000 votes.