Election Prediction Project
Ontario Provincial Election 2003

Thunder Bay-Atikokan

Last Update:
6:17 PM 23/07/2003

Prediction Changed:
6:17 PM 23/07/2003

Political Profile:

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Liberal Party:
Bill Mauro
Progressive Conservative:
Brian McKinnon
New Democratic Party:
John Rafferty
Green Party:
Kristin Boyer

Lyn McLeod

Federal MP:
Stan Dromisky

1999 Result:
1999 Prediction

20268 64.03%

6081 19.21%

5304 16.76%

2000 Federal Result:
2000 Prediction
Plurality2 382
Stan Dromisky
11 449 37%
David Richard Leskowski
9 067 29.3%
Rick Baker
6 023 19.5%
Ian M. Sinclair
3 652 11.8%

Demographic Profile:

(1996 census)


Avg Household Income

Labour Participation66.10%

Canadian Citizen

Canadian Born89.21%
Ontario Born78.71%
Visible Minority1.82%

First Language

Avg Dwelling Value$132945

College/Trade School19365

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19/07/03 Teen Spirit
I don't know what it takes to move a riding from (to close) to giving it to a particular candidate. If there's one riding that should be marked for the Liberals it's this one. Bill Mauro is unbeatable in Thunder Bay. He's so popular, he could have been mayor if he wanted to but instead decided to got to the Ontario Legislature instead.
06/07/03 Christopher J. Currie
Email: 8cjc1@qlink.queensu.ca
In response to GM: I know that the Federal CA and the Provincial Tories tend to draw from the same voting base -- I just don't think that the latter will be able to net *all* of the 30% support that the Federal CA candidate received last time. The people who voted for the CA last time were voting in *opposition* to the government, and it's a good bet that some of them voted CA *only* because they were the opposition. You can't simply transfer the voice of right-wing populist dissent to a party of the right-wing establishment -- especially when it applies to the Provincial Tories in Northern Ontario. (Beyond which, some of this right-wing populist dissent can shift to parties of *left-wing* populist dissent -- and vice versa -- with surprising ease. In 1990, the CoR party took a fair number of votes from the NDP in some northern ridings; the NDP won them back (against strong odds) in 1995. Look for this pattern to repeat itself again, as some of *CA* vote goes to the Provincial NDP this time around. The Liberal vote, by contrast, should transfer fairly easily.)
28/06/03 The Hulk
Lyn McLeod is an icon in Thunder Bay. Lyn knows how important it is for her party to hold this seat so she's been working all out to make sure Bill Mauro takes her place as the MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan. The other two parties can't compete with the McLeod/Mauro ticket and if they haven't given up, should do so.
24/06/03 Political Hack
As much as Lyn McLeod is loved in Thunder Bay, Bill Mauro is going to be even tougher to beat. Any detached person could see that the fire in Lyn McLeod went out after she lost the 1995 election. Lyn coasted after that. Bill Mauro brings renewed energy and a brand new team into this election and he will win this seat with the same kind of numbers McLeod did.
09/06/03 Piggly Wiggly
Whoever GM is they should go into stand up comedy. That was the funniest thing I've ever read. The Tories have done nothing for northern Ontario for the last 8 years and now that it looks like time is up for Ernie and the Tories, the people of Thunder Bay are going to elect Brian McKinnon? That is too funny. Let's get serious. McKinnon will end up third and Bill Mauro will win with a landslide.
07/06/03 GM
From one who has lived and participated in this riding's politics a number of times, I think this race is going to be a lot closer than everyone thinks. First of all, Mauro is no Lyn McLeod. He might be regarded as a good politician, but mostly because he stood up to the "clique". (Santa, Roy, Shchepanik, etc) As this campaign goes on, Mauro is going to have to stand on his own policies, and pretty much the only time we heard of Mauro taking the initiative was when he ranted on about planting more trees in people's yards and on city property. (read: boring!) Secondly, I think that the suggestion by Christopher Currie is totally false. ("The odds of the CA vote translating to the Ontario Tories is quite minimal") If he knew the political scene, then he would know that the CA vote IS the Provincial Tories. If anything, last election's poor showing was because of a sub-par campaign by Henderson. A better candidate could have easily amassed 25-30% against Lyn McLeod, and that translates into an even bigger amount against Mauro. Combine all this with the fact that McKinnon is more likeable the more you know him, and I could see some people changing their vote from elections past. I don't know if it's enough to dethrone the Liberals, but the Liberals will definitely take some hits from the NDP. (Rafferty will get solid-left-wingers and members of the Fort William First Nation)
06/06/03 Scoop Jackson
My Tory contacts tell me that their candidate Brian McKinnon has no chance of beating the Liberal candidate Bill Mauro. The Tories have moved people out of this riding and won't be putting up much of a fight. The Liberals tell me that Mauro is one of their best new candidates and will be in a McGuinty cabinet should they win the election.
23/05/03 Christopher J. Currie
Email: 8cjc1@qlink.queensu.ca
As of May 23, Milton still has this riding called as a Liberal/Tory tossup -- rather to the befuddlement of most people reading this site, I'm sure. For my part, I can recognize two factors which might lead to this conclusion. First, the Canadian Alliance polled surprisingly well here in 2000, giving backbencher-for-life Stan Dromisky a bit of a scare. Second, a credible campaign by the NDP here could give the Tories some hope of an upset victory through an opposition split. I suspect, however, that neither of these factors will be enough to derail Liberal support here. The odds of the CA vote translating to the Ontario Tories is quite minimal - and, if the NDP do run a strong campaign, this will likely have the result of polarizing the electorate between the Liberal and NDP options (in which case the Liberals should still be strong enough to win). The "toss-up" call might not be a complete non-sequiteur, but I really can't see the Tories making any gains here (or anywhere else in the north).
19/05/03 Neil J.
I too feel that Thunder Bay - Atikokan will stay Liberal. The Conservatives don't stand a chance here. Please change it to a safe Liberal seat as it is in Northern Ontario and does not show any sign in any way of voting for any other party's candidate.
15/05/03 Grizz
Sure the incumbent isn't running again, however the PC's are disliked in the north and last time the Liberals won with over 64%. Don't expect the NDP to come storming in and taking this one unless something drastic happens somewhere along in the campaign.
12/05/03 Scott "the truth"
This riding will stay will the Liberals for sure. I can't believe it's still shows as being a toss up. The PCs are not even going to come close. Please change this riding to Liberal victory! The Liberals are going to sweep in this election almost like 1987 percentage-wise. Bill Mauro will receive as much support as Lyn McLeod did in 1999.
25/04/03 El Predicto
Rob D is another NDP dreamer who actually thinks because John Rafferty ran a bad third in a neighboring riding, he has a chance to take Thunder Bay-Atikokan away from the Liberals. Let's see. The Liberals got 64% of the vote here last time. They're running at over 50% in the polls this spring and they have a high profile and very popular city councillor who actually lives in the riding as their candidate. This is as safe a Liberal riding as there is in Ontario. Rob D can just keep on dreaming.
11/04/03 Rob D.
The NDP have nominated John Rafferty, a college professor, professional mediator and high-profile volunteer for various charitable causes in Thunder Bay. He ran third as the federal candidate in neighboring TB-Superior North in the last federal election, well behind federal Lib MP Joe Comuzzi but barely a hundred votes out of second place with a respectable 19.5% support (compared to 19.8% for the Alliance candidate). With Lynn McLeod gone, I think TB-Atikokan becomes a three-way race and John stands just as good a chance as the other two. The NDP always does well in the North and I expect that this riding and Algoma-Manitoulin will be its top two targets for expanding representation up there.
25/03/03 RWA
The Tories will have to concentrate on holding their areas of strength. Given the poor standing they have in polls in this area of the province, I can't see them committing much to winning it. It will be reduced, but the Liberals will hold this easily.
14/03/03 El Predicto
I can't believe this one hasn't been called yet. The Liberals got 64% of the vote here last time. Even without Lyn McLeod,the Liberals have Bill mauro who is the best member of city council as their candidate this time. Mauro is more than strong enough to keep this seat Liberal. Time to move this one over to the Liberal column.
11/03/03 Patrick
Andrew: you wanted to know about how McKinnon agrees with Lyn and Michael - but then tried to obscure the issue by talking about tax cuts and closing the coal-fired plants. Fair enough - but are those issues really what he's going to be running on? If so, it'll be an interesting campaign. That said, so far he's been playing up the "we need someone on the government side" argument, and has been talking about other issues like roads (I can't find specific examples for you right now - he has no web presence, and the neither the Chronicle-Journal nor the TBSource have run any stories on him for a while) that Lyn and Michael have far more credibility on right now. Anyway, I know perfectly well that Brian's running against Bill Mauro, not Lyn and Michael - but it would be naive to think that the Lyn's history and Michael's current reputation won't be factors. In any case, you just keep believing it. I think that it's very funny that this is even being considered a too-close-to-call - Bill Mauro has this one in the bag. I'm predicting that he'll take it with at least 55% of the vote. Not 62%, but it'll get the job done.
05/03/03 Andrew
Patrick: I would like to know where you got your information suggesting that Brian McKinnon "actually agrees with Lyn McLeod and Michael Gravelle on just about every issue of import - and they're issues that the Liberals own in the Northwest". First of all, Brian McKinnon supports tax cuts; Michael Gravelle and Lyn McLeod have opposed all tax cuts. Second, Brian McKinnon opposes the Liberal plan to close all coal-fired plants by 2007 because there are at present no options available to replace such capacity.
28/02/03 Andrew Cox
Liberal Hold. Reasons. 1) The Conservatives have faired poorly in Northern Ontario since the realignment in the 1980's pushed the Tories to the right. Ernie Eves makes the breach worse. If "average Joe" Mike Harris from North Bay couldn't grab a single Northern seat in 1995, its less likely "Bay Street" Ernie Eves could. 2) The latest Ipsos-Reid poll puts Northern Ontario like this: Liberal (53%), NDP (23%), PC (20%). (You can find the regional breakdowns at http://www.ipsos-reid.com/pdf/media/mr030227-1tb.pdf.) If anything, weaker NDP seats are under threat from the Grits, not Grit seats from the PCs. 3) Bill Mauro is a solid candidate for the Liberals. A city councilor with good name recognition and a strong relationship with the media, he doesn't presage a Liberal migration as a bad candidate might. 4) John Henderson ran last time and has strong ties to Boshkoff's political machine as his campaign manager. He probably would have been a marginally better candidate than McKinnon, but it really doesn't matter that much. 5) 64%.
27/02/03 THE GAMBLER
The Gambler is putting his money on Bill Mauro to win Thunder Bay-Atikokan. Northern ridings are as close as you can get to a sure thing in this game. Even without Lyn McLeod, people here are so used to voting Liberal they'll do it again. Nothing ever changes in the north.
27/02/03 PMK
This may be the breakthrough the Tories have been looking for in the north. In Brian McKinnon they have a strong candidate with a deep local roots. The loss of Lyn McLeod will be a huge blow to the Liberals and with their chronic ability to screw up provincial election campaigns, look for this riing to slip away from the Libs.
07/02/03 Patrick
JJ and Panther: your opinions are interesting, but your enthusiasm is misplaced. JJ asks us to "follow the talent" - but I haven't heard of any big names contemplating running for the NDP in TB-A, and you will need more than a "full time organizer" to take this riding - you'll need a really good candidate, which you're unlikely to find. As for Panther, your candidate is indeed strong - but only compared to the people that the Tories have run in the past. The thing is, McKinnon actually agrees with Lyn McLeod and Michael Gravelle on just about every issue of import - and they're issues that the Liberals own in the Northwest. His whole campaign in based on the "we really should have someone in government to look out for our best interests". It's a pretty weak argument at the best of times, and with the very real possibility that the Liberals will form a government this time, it's even less effective than usual. It's pretty hard to run for the governing party while disagreeing with most of what they've done, and agreeing with your opponents about what the government should have done and should do in the future. McKinnon wants it both ways, and that's going to come back and bite him. I agree that this race will likely be the closest in the Northwest, with Gravelle sailing back with a huge majority, and Howie hanging on to win in K-RR, but I still see it as a Liberal win in the end.
04/02/03 Neil J.
Why is this NORTHERN ONTARIO riding all of a sudden going to turn to the conservatives according to some of the previous postings??? Give me some serious reasons please!! I hope these people are not just southerners thinking they know everything about Northern Ontario. Who is "Marto" anyway?!? Who is "Panther"? Lyn McLeod won last time with 64%, almost 2/3 of the votes!! What makes you think that the PCs (very unpopular in the North) will pick this one up???
03/02/03 Panther
Oh my God!! The NDP have committed their top organizer in the riding "Full Time".....well, that changes everything. Please!! Admittedly this riding is clearly up for grabs, yes including for the NDP. However, I predict the Tories will come up the middle in this one, while the NDP and Liberals fight it out over McLeod's old votes. Besides, the local Tories have a strong organization and a strong candidate.
30/01/03 JJ
Patrick has found one columnist who personally seems to think well of a Liberal candidate in one race. As our fellow Northerner doth sing, "that don't impress me much..." On Marto's point: Doesn't a doubled Heritage Fund prove Northern ridings can get economic support *without* sending a trained seal to the government bench? All this is part of why the next great MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan will be the New Democrat. Follow the talent: Team Lightbulb has already committed their very best staff organizer here - *full-time* through the campaign.
19/12/02 Marto
I think the Tories have great chance of stealing this riding. A combination of Lynn McLeod leaving and the investments the Tories have made in the north though the doubled NOHFC fund give the PC party hope here.
05/12/02 SM
Results like 64% of the vote don't evaporate just after one parliament. Provided the Liberals re-nominate Lyn Mcleod, they'll win by a reduced margin.
04/12/02 Neil J.
Liberal for sure unless the candidate does something really bad to turn away voters. I'm betting it will be somewhat closer than when Mrs. McLeod ran. Somebody actually thinks the PCs have a chance?!?! I think they will be shut out of Northern Ontario yet again with the exception of Nipissing. (I consider only the North Bay and Mattawa portion of Nipissing riding to be in Northern Ontario)
13/11/02 Shaw
Lyn McLeod took 64% of the vote last time. This is a bedrock Liberal Riding.
12/11/02 Geneva
This riding will undoubtably stay Liberal. Lyn McLeod built a strong following here and it is very unlikly it will simply fall apart because she is leaving. If Bill Mauro wins the nomination like the previous poster mentioned, it will be a Liberal Landslide!
31/10/02 Patrick
It's hilarious to see the NDP deluding themselves into thinking that they can take this riding just because Lyn McLeod is retiring. But heck, don't take my word for it - read Rick Smith's editorial: (http://www.tbsource.com/Editorials/index.asp?cid=47328)
It was one of those 'good news – bad news' stories when we reported that Thunder Bay city councilor, Bill Mauro, was seeking the Liberal nomination for Thunder Bay – Atikokan riding. Bad news because Bill Mauro is seen as one of the good guys on a city council that is tragically short of good guys. He’s been widely perceived as Mayoralty material, but the good-news-flip-side of the story, of course, lies in his ability to take those same outstanding qualities that make him shine in the realm of municipal politics into the provincial arena. This city is in the enviable position of having two provincial representing who have earned and extraordinary amount of respect from people of all political stripes. Lyn McLeod shoes will be very difficult to fill. Mauro, a supervisor for a property management company, has been on council for 5 years. He is 46 years old and if all of the pundits are right and the Liberals are in a position to win the next provincial election – Messers Gravelle and Mauro are poised to provide us with just what the Tories have been telling us to acquire – two members on the governments side.
This is Rick Smith and That’s One Man’s Opinion
27/10/02 IanB
With Lyn McLeod gone, this is one riding in the province that could actually be pretty interesting. All three parties have strengths -- just look at the 2000 federal results -- and all three have been trying somewhat to court the northern vote -- the announcement of the northern medical school, for example. This has potential to be a marquee race.
27/10/02 Craig
The most recent poll suggests the Tories dropped 9 percentage points. That should eliminate them here. It all depends on who the Liberals and NDP nominate - whichever is the more credible candidate should come through with the seat. However, the NDP appear to have the advantage of holding many seats in the area.
27/10/02 A.D.
I'm an eternal optimist and the best thing that could have happened for the NDP in this riding is the fact that Lyn WON'T run again. Seeing that Howie is right next door and that just around the block are three other NDP bastians. Not to mention the NDP's very strong showing in Algoma-Manitoulin last election, This will play very well for the NDP. The NDP is the only party that has fought very hard for the North and being the only one with the leader from the north will play very well for the NDP. If they can find a strong candidate that is locally known and liked then this might well be an upset victory for the NDP. Count on it!!! as the NDP sweeps the North and maybe Gov't!!!!
With Lyn McLeod stepping down, I think this will be one of the races to watch next spring when the election will likely be held. In fact, I think this will become a three way free-for-all! The Tories and NDP will both want this, and both will place a star candidate on the line, forcing the Liberals to play defense here. I think the winner will poll under 40%, and all three parties will be advertising here heavily. This should be a classic race, and could go to any of them!
20/10/02 A.S.
Email: adma@interlog.com
Lyn McLeod's retirement turns a sure Liberal thing into a sure opposition target, even if only nominally (assuming that there's still a solid provincial Grit machine in place). It is interesting to note that it's a particularly weak zone for the Liberals federally, and in light of the 2000 Alliance result as well as memories of Mickey Hennessy's provincial tenure, the PCs may look here longingly. But given how the Tories weren't able to gain any seats past Nipissing under that unwashed Northern bubba Mike Harris, why expect more from Greasy Ernie with his city-slicker pretensions? In fact, remember that TB-A is next to Howard Hampton's turf (and Atikokan once *was* part of his turf), so the NDP may be coveting this opportunity even more than the Tories...
20/10/02 Dave
With the popular local Liberal Lyn McLeod stepping down, this riding should prove to be a tight race. The Tories have a good chance with Ernie Eves more moderate policies, and a strong Tory nomination meeting up and coming. Beatrice Metsler, a Tory nomination candidate has already begun campaigning actively in the riding. This along with the new Northern Medical school confirmed by Premier Eves should make this Northern riding a more interesting race.

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