Election Prediction Project
Ontario Provincial Election 2003


Last Update:
5:04 PM 07/10/2003

Prediction Changed:
3:31 PM 01/10/2003

Political Profile:

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Liberal Party:
Rob Esselment
Progressive Conservative:
Toby Barrett
New Democratic Party:
Prue Steiner
Green Party:
Graeme Dunn

Toby Barrett

Federal MP:
Bob Speller

1999 Result:
1999 Prediction

23124 51.19%

18304 40.52%

2600 5.76%

584 1.29%

413 0.91%

148 0.33%

2000 Federal Result:
2000 Prediction
Plurality5 451
Bob Speller
20 867 46.8%
Jim Maki
15 416 34.6%
Gary Muntz
5 761 12.9%
Norm Walpole
2 124 4.8%

Demographic Profile:

(1996 census)


Avg Household Income

Labour Participation67.20%

Canadian Citizen

Canadian Born87.59%
Ontario Born82.07%
Visible Minority1.03%

First Language

Avg Dwelling Value$140158

College/Trade School23285

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01/10/03 Valley Bear
Just a feeling that change is in the air. Even Conservatives will desert Barrett. Liberals have a strong candidate. This riding goes the way of the province, at least the last 4 times. Barrett has hung on because he rode Harris' coattails and he's far from a strong candidate. The new voters are in the east which is Liberal territory and the opposition to the PC's is very motivated and organized. A small margin, but a Liberal steal.
01/10/03 The Sauce
Big tobacco still controls a large block of votes in Haldimand and Norfolk counties. This time the tobacco people won't be voting Liberal because McGuinty will increase the tax on a carton of cigarettes by ten dollars. That is going to hurt legal tobacco sales and put some farmers out of business. Toby Barrett will get the tobacco vote and beat Esselment easy.
01/10/03 DB
Email: d_k_l_brown@yahoo.ca
Name recognition and showing up to events is everything in this riding. So the incumbant has a huge advantage. But...the Liberal is from the fastest growing part of this riding; Caledonia has accounted for about 2 000 of the the 3 000 gain in the riding's population. Close, very close.
27/09/03 That's All Folks
People are over looking the major issue in Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant that is going to decide who wins here. The Liberals are committed to closing the Nanicoke plant by 2007. That will put over 900 people out of work and cost this area tens of millions of dollars. There are more than enough people who have their jobs on the line to come out and make sure they re-elect Toby Barrett. Barrett also has the tobacco farmers on his side again. This is why Toby will win his third mandate in a row.
26/09/03 Andrew
While most of the province looks like it will be coloured Liberal red, look for this riding to remain Tory blue. I know the margin last time might seem to indicate a tough fight for Toby Barrett, but issues like gun control, Jean Chretien, and same-sex marriage have not played well and this presents a disadvantage to Rob Esselment. The people here are old-stock and will stick by their guy Toby. Word in Liberal circles is that Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant will probably remain in the Tory fold come October 2.
26/09/03 Dean
Email: deansherratt@rogers.com
Hi Hot Shot...Hmmm, the ISPOS Reid latest poll (pre-debate) has the Liberals at 50%, PCs at 33% and the NDP at 12...When you made your post, the Ispos Reid poll that came out the following day was respectively 49, 35, 12...Remember that Barrett won by 11% last time. Now I think that Barrett will run better than the PC overall trend but I still fear that he is shy by 4-5% from being re-elected...I think the PCs bottomed out at 33% but I don't see much momentum left in the campaign that would get them to 36% and the Liberals down to 46% or so, that would give Barrett a good shot for re-election...
25/09/03 BJC
I think this should go into the "Too close to call" category. Tories won by only about 10% last time out. Liberals are up in the polls provincially. Nobody in this riding really cares about same sex except those who are either Family Coalition or bedrock Tories. Result: no new votes, likely vote splitting between the two right wing parties. Closing the coal plant has a negative impact on jobs but a positive impact on the environment of this riding. If the coal plant closure is that big an issue, those voters have not effectively conveyed their message i.e. it doesn't seem to be an issue. There will be a split between west and east and between town and country. east and the towns have a number of Liberal signs. Country and west, not so much. I predict this will be the closest race in the golden horseshoe (I know not exactly golden horseshoe but close enough)send the camera crews on October 2 - this will be a nail biter!!
23/09/03 BLG
I expect this will be a very close run. The Riding seems to be divided with clusters of PC support, notably in more rural areas, and more Liberal support in city/town areas. NDP, Green and Family Coalition support is scattered. (Note - the FCP is around - irregardless of what was said in 19/09/03 submission) The FCP usually gleens votes from those who would normally not vote PC, Liberal, or NDP because Party policy/principle is not at all pro-life, or pro-family. In this Riding, the PC candidate is in support of traditional family and marriage definition, but this stance is highly restricted in parliamently procedure by the Party Leader and cabinet that take an opposite or "do nothing" approach.
22/09/03 Pelee Island Pete
You have to hand it to Toby Barrett. He hasn't done much at Queen's Park but he knows how to get re-elected over and over again. This election is going to be the easiest one for Toby. The Liberal candidate comes from Caledonia which is at the far east end of the riding. Nobody in the other 90 per cent of the riding has ever heard of Rob Esselment, while everyone knows Toby. Then there's the Nanicoke issue. Dalton McGuinty has sworn to close this plant and put 800 people out of work. That's not a big vote getter for the Liberals and Toby has used this issue to get every Nanicoke family to vote for him. Oh yes, let's not forget the same sex issue that is making life miserable for the Liberals in this part of Ontario. No matter what happens to Ernie Eves, Toby Barrett will still be there after the election is over.
22/09/03 Hot Shot
Dean's numbers are way off according to the Ipsos-Reid poll today that has the Tories at 40% and the Liberals at 45%. There is no landslide for the Liberals in this election and that was the only way a nobody candidate like Esselment could beat Barrett. What will happen is that Toby will take the Tory momentum and run with it to a very easy victory. The Liberals know they can't win this riding and you won't see McGuinty go near it.
22/09/03 RL
Email: rleone@uoguelph.ca
Not really sure how this can legitmately be called too close to call. There aren't too many policies that the Liberals are offering that people actually like in this riding. It seems Toby has enough wind in his sails to carry himself through.
21/09/03 Dean
Email: deansherratt@rogers.com
Hi all...with the PCs dropping like a stone (or maybe bottoming out at 33%), you have to look at ridings that the PCs took by less than 25% or so and say that, by the law of average swings, the are likely going to be Liberal this time...I agree that Barrett has many factors going for him and that may slow or dilute the Liberal tide...but winning by only 11% last time doesn't provide him the margin that he needs to survive this one...I think he is going down and will lose by say, 3,500 votes or so...True, the debate is still left but I fear that a good performance by Eves may just stop the hemmoraging...
21/09/03 Panther
It's time to move this riding from the "too close to call" column to a Tory win. The Liberal promise to put a "closed" sign on the Nanticoke plant would normally be enough to ensure a win for Tory Candidate Barrett. However, there are a plethora of other issues that the Liberals have promised that have rallied the people in this riding to re-elect the Tory MPP. The riding has a strong contingent of tobacco farmers who are furious over the Liberals policy to increase the tobacco tax, there is a large contingent of independent school supporters who support the Tories because of the tax credit and are voting against the Liberals because of the Liberals support of same sex marriage. These issues, plus that fact that the Tories locally have a strong campaign team and a good MPP, will guarantee that this riding will go Tory with a larger majority than in 1999.
20/09/03 lrs
by the polls - should go Liberal if swing predicted is correct- I am guessing will stay Tory- Tory MPP known, liberal policy to raise cigarette taxes wont't help here- perhaps some fall-out on coal plant closing- area is so rural- what big city paper sells well in area?
20/09/03 Gerry Kennedy
This is NOT a die-hard Tory riding. That said, Toby should hold on: 1) This riding is growing increasingly Convervative. Notice the Alliance's strong performance in the federal election. 2) Toby has done nothing to embarrass himself at Queen's Park. 3) Rob Esselment in not a good candidate. Surely the Liberals could have found someone better. 4) The TOries can't lose everywhere and I think this will be one of their holds.
19/09/03 WD
Leopards do not change their spots and die-hard Tory ridings like this one do not swing Liberal. This is another riding where same sex marriage will be THE issue of the election. Without FCP around to split the Tory vote (even then, they'd have to take about 10%) Toby's got this one in the bag. Tory hold.
06/09/03 Buffy the Liberal Slayer
The Liberals are dropping fast in rural, southwest Ontario. Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant should be next up to be called for the Tories. Toby Barrett has this riding nailed down. Toby has petitions all over the riding on hot botton issues like same sex marriage, the gun law and safe Nanicoke from being shut down. Toby is on the right side of all these issues and Esselment is on the wrong side. I can now predict Barrett is on his way to his biggest victory ever. He'll win by 7000 votes. Esselment may not win a poll.
20/08/03 Dean
I wonder if the issue of the future of the Nanticoke coal-fired plant will play here. McGuinty wants to close it by 2007 and given the recent black-outs, this may prove to have been rash as well as taking way from local jobs...I'm not sure how the BLACK-OUT will play, but I think it will make energy security a much bigger issue than it might have been and reshuffle the deck in ways as yet uncertain across the province, though I think that the PC candidate locally will be well-positioned for it...
06/08/03 Mambo King
Email: Everybody Mambo!
Dalton McGuinty was in southwestern Ontario this week pledging to make Ontario smoke free. That kind of announcement is music to Toby Barrett's ears. McGuinty did the same thing in 1999 and it clinched this riding for Toby and Dalton just did the same thing again. The tobacco farmers now have another good reason to go out and re-elect Toby Barrett by a landslide. Liberal candidate, Rob Esselment is in for a roasting at upcoming all candidates meetings where the tobacco farmers will give him a very hot reception.
02/08/03 Frozen Toast
No matter what Liberal candidate, Rob Esselment does, he can't run away from Jean Chretien and the federal Liberals doing all they can to make same sex marriages legal in Canada. Haldimand and Norfolk are part of the southwest bible belt and nothing gets the thousands of church going voters more angry than the same sex marriage issue. They are going to take out that anger on the first Liberal they see on a ballot and that's going to be Esselment. Toby Barrett has of course used this issue to stir up the church going voters and this has given his campaign one more big boost. For Esselment, being tied to an unpopular Prime Minister and the same sex issue is one more nail in the coffin of his failing campaign. Toby Barrett is headed for an even bigger victory than he enjoyed in 1999.
22/07/03 Spindoctor Barbie
Email: barbie@mateltoys, com
The Liberals can dress Rob Esselment up in a suit but he still looks like he's fifteen years old. Toby Barrett may not be cabinet material but he at least looks old enough to vote. The adults in Haldimand and Norfolk counties will re-elect Toby by a landslide.
07/06/03 Sloppy Joe
Toby Barrett is using the Liberal promise to close Nanicoke to his advantage. Toby is telling people that if the Tories get re-elected, they'll never close the power plant. I know that's not what's in the Tory platform but people in Haldiman-Norfolk-Brant are listening to what Barrett is telling them. The Liberal policy of closing Nanicoke made it impossible for any Liberal to win this seat.
06/06/03 Reepo Man
Some MPPs are just the right match for their ridings. That makes them pretty much impossible to beat. Toby Barrett is one of those people. He's now established in Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant and he'll be there for a very long time. The Liberals ran Doug Miller in 1999, the son of long time Liberal MPP Gordie Miller and couldn't beat Toby. Esselment just isn't the right fit for this riding.
06/06/03 Bob's Your Uncle
Farmers still make up the biggest voting block in Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant. You can't win this riding without their support and because of their close knit associations the farmers vote in a block for one candidate. Rob Esselment is a white collar guy who works in Toronto and lives in a Hamilton subdivision in Caledonia. Esselment doesn't know one end of a tobacco plant from the other. The farmers there are just not going to vote for him, end of story. Toby Barrett has a good relationship with the farmers and they'll come out and make sure he get's re-elected.
31/05/03 Toe B. Staffernought
The Liberals, NDP and PC's (yes PC's) have said they want to close Nanticoke. Maybe Toby should have listened to his own party's Throne Speech that said they would start closing coal fired plants immediately. Nobody believes Toby has any influence in Eves' government anyway. He supported Flaherty!!! I am not sure if Toby's people have bothered to check, but the Liberal candidate unlike Toby has spoken about replacing the jobs AT Nanticoke with new jobs as part of the Liberal commitment to build new generation. The tobacco growers (as could be seen in all of the local papers) have asked for help to deal with the decline they are facing today. Despite what Toby will say, it has nothing to do with the provincial Liberals. The PC's raised tobacco taxes last year to speed up the decline. The Tory Minister of Health wants to ban smoking. I wonder if Toby voted for that budget that increased tobacco taxes? Oh yeah, he did. I would be embarrassed too if I were Toby and there was no mention in his party's budget, throne speech, or platform of any help for the tobacco farmers who are going out of business or the communities they support. I suppose those are the only two issues Toby's people think they have in their campaign, since the Liberals are way ahead in supporting schools, health care and importantly, being able to say how they will pay for their promises. The Tories simply can't afford to pay for the promises they are making. Sorry, the province is going Liberal and this swing riding will be one to put into the Liberal column.
02/06/03 Justin
Just a note to Reality Check...Rob beat out 3 or 4 other people running for the Liberal nomination.....when you have that many candidates running, it is usually a sign that people see the riding as winnable. All I said is that Liberals have historical roots there, they had a respectible showing last time and they have an energetic candidate who has been working ver hard. As for the closing of the coal fired plant....Toby's party will close it in 2011 and Rob's in 2007. The major difference is that Rob's party is discussing alternatives....wind power, expansion of Niagara, etc...which will offset the job losses....Toby has no plan. So you can have someone unemployed in 2011 (the Tory Plan) or have someone working in a new industry by 2007 (the Liberal Plan).
Mr. Barrett will get in again because his policies are well received in this area. The Esselments Liberal wish to close down the OPG, which would cease about 600 jobs and leave the province without energy. Thats a lot of good jobs for a small area. Toby would keep it open. The Liberals want to buy out the Tobacco industry while Toby is trying for a long term solution to agriculture - not just a hand out. What happens when the bail out money runs out? Only the Tories have policies that fight against welfare fraud and keep taxes low and lower. Liberals would give more money to welfare recipients because they beleive they are not getting enough and do it by raising taxes. Thats just some. The Liberal local candidate choice is strange as well. . . a young legislative assistant for a Liberal M.P.P. Toby is well. . . Toby. He seems to still be on pulse with common sense issues. Expect Toby back for another term.
27/05/03 Noah Liberal
Esselment has been on the road for months, rain, snow or shine. He has been out there knocking on doors, introducing himself and he has people talking. They like him, they like his energy and they are amazed at his political savy and views. If it is a June election he has done his work and will most likely will reap the opportunity to serve the riding. If the election is put off to the fall, he will blow his oponent away.
27/05/03 IKIA
Sorry E.J., but your hopes have been dashed. On the weekend, in front of about 30 pro-amalgamation residents, Jason came out saying he will vote NO to deamalgamation. Of course, Waffling Ward still has time to change his tune when he's speaking to a group of people who want to deamalgamate. To those who feel the Tories aren't doing anything to address the amalgamation issue, think again. Laurie Scott is in full support of the referendum. She wants residents to get out and have their say and she'll back whatever decision they come up with. On the other hand, Ward said if residents vote to deamalgmate in the coming referendum, he'll have another referendum asking the same question, just to make sure. What a waste of time and taxpayers' money.
26/05/03 Reality Check
Justin and school boy Grizz need a serious reality check in this riding. The Liberals are going to pick up seats in urban, southwest Ontario. That will happen but rural southwest Ontario is just not Liberal territory in this election. If the Liberals were even close to being serious about winning this riding, they would never have left it for a young, party staff member like Esselment. You can say a lot of things about Toby Barrett but he'll still be an MPP after this election is over. This is just Tory country. That's it.
16/05/03 Justin
If there is a rural riding that the Liberals can break into....it is this one. Parts of the riding were represented by the Nixon dynasty (1919-1993)....a pretty long stretch if you ask me (even if Harry Nixon was a UFOer and not a Lib for a few of those years). Esselment has been out there, trying to win this riding the old fashioned way: by canvassing door-to-door. Toby is making a big mistake by dismissing the Liberal candidate. He is not taking the campaign seriously and if he doesn't smarten up, he will lose it. This is a riding where a strong central campaign plus hard work on Esselment's part puts a Liberal win here within grasp.
15/05/03 Grizz
I have to keep this one in the undecided column for now. Toby may be a "Good Ol' Boy" (as one of my fellow pundits put it, quite accuratly) and keeps getting voted in by the "good ol' boys" of the riding, however the Liberals had a very good showing here last time arround (40% or something like that to Toby's 51%). This time the Liberals have a much better showing provincially and the winds of change are blowing. I keep pointing out the recient Quebec election, where many ridings that were "sure-fire PQ wins" went to the Liberals. I think we're going to be equally surprised when its Ontario's turn to vote and this riding might be one of those surprises.
01/04/03 Stelco Steve
I had a job in Caledonia during the last election. All I saw was street after street of blue Toby Barrett signs. People in Caledonia know Toby and like him. Nobody I know has ever heard of Rob Esselment.
26/03/03 THE GAMBLER
The Gambler is putting his money on Toby Barrett to win Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant. PC Toby has the experience and the ring record of a winner. He's been in the ring with some tough LIB's and come out on top. The LIB Esselment just doesn't have what it takes to beat Toby. This one is no contest. Take Toby again.
21/03/03 KJ
Email: kreid@scs.southam.on.ca
I think the Liberals are in tough here. The '99 campaign was trucking along quite nicely until Dalton McGuinty made his Simcoe stop and thought it was a good time to start spouting off about his party's anti-tobacco policy. Maybe a good ploy in most parts of the province; but not in the area where tobacco is an economic cornerstone. Rob Esselment may be a young and energetic go-getter, but this isn't really a young and energetic riding. Toby has been a quiet, but stable MPP, and like 1999 I think the farmers and the growth in Caledonia will carry him to him to a third term.
14/03/03 El Predicto
J.Rooke is right in the last post. Caledonia is filling up fast. In fact it looks just like Mississauga or Newmarket these days. What Caledonia is becoming is another part of the 905 heartland that has elected the Tories twice. They are commuters who have to battle traffic, pay off a big mortgages and like tax cuts. One more note from the 1999 campaign. The Liberals did not win a single rural poll in this riding last time. That was with Doug Miller, the son of the much respected Gord Miller who was the MPP in this area for years. The Miller name wasn't enough for the Liberals to break through in the rural part of this riding last time. Esselment is a Queen's Park staffer who has no appeal to farmers in this riding, especially the tobacco people who back the Tories. For all of these reasons, I stand by my prediction that Toby will hang on to this seat for the Tories. It's time to put this in the Tory column.
12/03/03 J. Rooke
I agree with Richard on the "good ol' boys" comment. HNB actually has more than just good old boys. Caledonia, for one, is filling up with young families who have an interest in public education which Mr. Barrett doesn't care about much since he's allowed his government to run roughshod over his own riding with school closings. Secondly, Esselment is a good worker, he is from the riding, and I like that he will be taking Barrett to town on the disaster that has been his "representation" of the riding. Barrett, like Eves, is old, tired, and totally out of touch with the changing nature of his own riding. Barrett even had the nerve to call Hagersville a "trucker's town" to the Haldimand council! Obviously, Barrett hasn't ventured into the Haldimand side of his riding in the past eight years! Norfolk, too, is full of families as well as an older generation who are discovering that their health care has been totally eroded and they won't be fooled by government cheques to buy their votes.
08/03/03 El Predicto
Sorry to have to explain this to the previous person to post on this site but I know a lot about Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant. I know that Esslement will have some pockets of support in Caledonia where he's from. The problem for the Liberals is that this area is only 20 per cent of the riding. Go west from there and you run right into Haldimand and Norfolk where the Tory support is very strong. The tobacco farmers are on side with the Tories and the people are not happy about Dalton McGuiny promising to close the Nanicoke plant and take 800 jobs out of the riding. The other problem Esslement will have is that the voters in the east end of the riding are for the most part communters who won't be getting home until 7 pm on election day. These people tend to vote in lower numbers than in the westerd part of the riding. In Haldimand and Norfolk, the commute is non existant and they still believe casting a ballot is a civic duty. This is why I stand by my prediction that Toby Barret will hold on to this seat.
03/03/03 Richard Williams
Email: rwilliams_caledonia@hotmail.com
El Predicto is not from the riding and is perhaps out of touch with what is going on here. Firstly, the Liberal candidate is Esselment (sp). Secondly, Toby Barrett supported his young "political hack" assistant Jim Maki as the Alliance candidate in the last federal election as did many HNB provincial PC voters, so I am not sure that is a big issue in most of our minds. What we want is a change in how we are represented and Esselment is working hard to meet voters which is refreshing. Finally, being relatively young myself and living in Caledonia, I know that I am ready for the rest of us to have an MPP representing us and not just the "Good Ol' Boys". I think Average Voter made some good points and when it comes down to the local candidate, I think Esselment is going to win out.
26/02/03 El Predicto
Toby Barrett is a Good Old Boy and the other Good Old Boys in Haldimand-Norfolk keep electing him. Liberal Rob Esslement is not a down home, Good Old Boy. He's in his mid twenties and is a Queen's Park assistant to former Liberal leader, Lyn McLeod. Twenty something, Queen's Park hacks like Esslement, don't win ridings like Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant. Mark this one down for the Tories.
24/02/03 Average Voter
This site seems to be frequented by people working for campaigns. As I see it there are a few key issues that will decide this riding. Leadership- Nobody here likes either McGuinty or Eves so it is a toss-up. Party History- I remember this riding going in every direction and will likely go with the rest of the province. Tobacco- Is there anything new here? McGuinty and the Tory health minister say basically the same things on this. I figure the local candidates will both stand up for the local growers regardless of what the parties say. Nanticoke- All of the parties want to close it so if it is a matter of timing then it will be whoever can replace the jobs here. Education and health care are good for the Liberals and tax cuts and farming seem to be good for the Tories. The difference will probably come down to the local candidate. I have met them both and they are as different as can be. There are no surprises with Toby, he is the same Toby we have elected twice, and Esselment does seem pretty young but he is energetic. I just hope the campaign locally does not degrade to a personal attack by either side, which is what seems to be happening in the last posting. If that is the best either side can do then it would be a good idea to stick to the issues. Too close to call right now despite what each campaign says.
19/02/03 Tory Girl
I believe Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant will once again be won by Tory MPP Toby Barrett. Barrett is a bright guy, but isn't your typical politician. He relates well to the working class and knows an honest day's work from his years growing up on the family farm. Barrett has been a controversial MPP in his eight years in office -- he's stood up for tobacco farmers, which is something other MPPs and the Liberals would never do. In fact, Dalton McGuinty swept through H-N-B in the 1999 election saying he wanted to see a smoke-free Ontario. The new Liberal candidate is too young, holds a junior position at Queen's Park, and hasn't been in the workforce long enough to have the experience needed to become a MPP. Tory Toby all the way!
14/02/03 El Predicto
I have relatives in Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant and they tell me there is a lot of anger towards the Liberals for promising to close the Nanicoke power plant. The area will lose 800 jobs at the plant and another 200 spin off jobs. You can't get rid of 1000 jobs in small town Ontario and expect to win the seat. Toby Barrett has used this issue to drum up support for himself and the Tories as they say they'll keep the plant operating much longer than the Liberals plan to. Add to that, the tobbacco farmers in the riding are fully on side with the Tories and it's another victory for Toby. This is also one of the ridings where the federal Liberal gun registry is a big issue. This will hurt the provincial Liberals. Mark this one down for the Tories.
22/01/03 Jeremy Wittet
Email: jwittet@cablerocket.com
I think Esselment has done his homework. He has a strong and organized campaign plan ready. It's going to be very close but my prediction is Esslement will defeat the incumbant Toby Barett.
25/01/03 M.S.
This is a complicated riding that won't be decided until the last ballot is cast. Like others have said, the Liberals have nominated a young, bright candidate who is out early and has been knocking on doors for weeks. And even the most charitable descriptions of Toby Barrett do not reference him as a rising star by any stretch. Then again, the Liberals will close the coal plant long before the Tories will, putting lots of people out of work. Then again, the slick image of Ernie Eves could turn off a lot of the small town folk in this riding. Too close...
21/01/03 Barry Bottet
As much as I think Mike Harris did some things that were necessary, I can't stand Ernie Eves. Even our local MPP Toby Barrett supported Jim Flaherty during the leadership saying Ernie wasn't a leader that could win and now he has been passed over again for a cabinet spot. I usually vote PC but the Liberal candidate came to my door on a very cold night to introduce himself, and I think some fresh new blood in this riding isn't such a bad idea. I am hearing that sort of thing from a lot of people out here. I think this riding will be an uphill battle for the Tories to hold onto if they don't get their acts together because the local Liberals seem to be moving full ahead and Eves isn't doing anyone any favours in rural Ontario.
14/01/03 MGM
Anticipate this seat changing hands. Recent Tory troubles with hydro and education have alienated a significant group of voters. The incumbent's lack of impact at Queen's Park, and the troubles with amalgamation, could make this race very challenging for him. Look for the hard working Esselment to reach many voters and run a well organized campaign.
16/11/02 A.S.
Email: adma@interlog.com
On the surface, it's the classic southern Ontario rural/small town Tory constituency--Toby Barrett safely won reelection in '99, even though his primary opponent was the son of a former Liberal MPP who benefited from the support of a former NDP MPP. (H-N-B was also part of the Erie-shoreline 30% Alliance belt in 2000, due in no small part to Barrett.) But when political change is in the air, funny populist jolts can happen in terbacky country, whether provincially in 1990 and 1995, or federally in 1988 (*not* 1993). So, not necessarily that slam-dunky for the Eves team...
15/11/02 Andrew Cox
Too Close to Call. Reasons. 1) HNB is part of that old Southwest agarian culture that one generation ago was solid Bob Nixon Liberal. Those roots are still there, if a might brown and withered. 2) Toby Barrett got himself into a heap of trouble during the amalgamation of the local municipalities. Those amalgamation wounds never seem to heal (see Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough or Victoria-Haliburton-Brock for more evidence). 3) Barrett isn't the brightest light in the PC caucus. He hasn't really been able to point to much success locally. 4) The Liberals plan on closing the local Nanticoke coal-fired generating station. Depending on how the local campaigns play it, that one could go either way. 5) The Grit nominee is one of those bright ambitious hard workers in the Michael Bryant mold, born and raised in the riding. Expect Rob Esselment to bang on a lot of doors before election day. 6) This really isn't Ernie Eves country. The "average guy with common sense" appeal of Harris really helped Barrett around here. Eves will be a tougher sell. This one will swing on which local candidate works harder.

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