Election Prediction Project
Ontario Provincial Election 2003

Ottawa Centre

Last Update:
2:05 PM 29/09/2003

Prediction Changed:
11:42 AM 01/08/2003

Political Profile:

(Links? See sponsorship details.)
Liberal Party:
Richard Patten
Progressive Conservative:
Joe Varner
New Democratic Party:
Jeff Atkinson
Green Party:
Chris Bradshaw

Richard Patten

Federal MP:
Mac Harb

1999 Result:
1999 Prediction

17956 38.17%

15403 32.74%

11977 25.46%

1231 2.62%

174 0.37%

170 0.36%

2000 Federal Result:
2000 Prediction
Plurality9 200
Mac Harb
22 716 40%
Heather-jane Robertson
13 516 23.8%
David Brown
10 167 17.9%
Beverley Mitchell
7 505 13.2%

Demographic Profile:

(1996 census)


Avg Household Income

Labour Participation69.00%

Canadian Citizen

Canadian Born74.15%
Ontario Born52.22%
Visible Minority16.64%

First Language

Avg Dwelling Value$191241

College/Trade School17960

Authorized by the CFO for the Ottawa Centre Provincial NDP Association
29/09/03 JL
The NDP may have a slim chance here, but more than likely this riding will go to the Liberals as it usually does. Some PC people can dream, but that's all it is. I've done campaign work in this riding - and it is a Liberal one. There are pockets of strong support for the NDP, and a scattering of conservative supporters, but it's overwhelmingly Liberal everywhere else.
23/09/03 TPM
Email: tpm1245@aol.com
Got to call this one for Richard Patten. This man has worked hard on every file that crossed his desk. The Citizen while not endorsing states that he would make a hard working knowlegable MPP or more likely Cabinet Minister in a Liberal Government. The only thing negative they can find in Richard is that he has a lot of experience and work really hard so hemay be a little unhappy with the state of politics under a Tory goverment. Joe has been booed off the stage at all Candidates meetings and been rude and agressive to anyone who dares to disagree with him. While Jeff has been polite and respectful. Since the race between the tories and Richard is a dead heat in Ottawa Centre, I think that the NDP knowing they can't win here will vote for Richard Patten to insure a centre left influence in the Ontario Cabinet.
22/09/03 Daniel G.
The common-sense feeling is that the Liberals will win this riding; however, the surprise in this riding is the dedication and organization of the Joe Varner Conservative team. For a riding that appears to have been written off by the PCs originally, Eves has made several stops in the City and riding, Varner seems to have teams door-knocking in all parts of Ottawa, and the current MPP is a no-show at most events. As an urban riding of students, transients and other urbanites, the riding tends to lean left - yet these types also have no specific allegiance to any one party, and a rift between a revitalized Green/NDP will split enough votes off the Liberals to let a Tory win. I think Varner may well get this one.
20/09/03 Rabbit
I listened to some card carrying PC party members today talking about how bad Ernie was. One was seriously talking about voting green this time. He couldn't stomach voting for the Liberals or NDP, and didn't want to vote PC ("it would only encourage Eves to stay on"). They seemed to conceed the election to the Liberals, and were hoping that enough PCs won to keep the party alive. My call for the Ottawa area ridings is liberal sweep except for Norm Sterling in Lanark Carleton (Kanata).
Joe Varner and the Tories won't be taking very many votes away from the Liberals in this election. The vote is going to be split several ways between the NDP (who I think are going to come in second), the Liberals and the Greens. I've heard rumours that Mr. Varner is polling very well, even in areas of the city that are primarily renters. The population of Ottawa-Centre is very transient, considering how many students, government and political workers are here. None of the candidates can count on past name recognition. Most people in the riding don't even know who the current MPP is! The winner will be the one who knocks on the most doors
16/09/03 Jay
Email: 9jae1@qlink.queensu.ca
Here's how I see it. The boundary shift in the riding will likely work against the Liberals and to the New Democrats' favour, because it means an increase in Tory support. This Tory support is carved out of Liberal support. I would be willing to bet that Lowell Green has convinced enough of the west end of the riding to vote Tory for the Tories to be a legitimate force. By the same token, the Liberals cannnot recoup that support from the New Democrats, because the NDP has a solid 20-25% base in the rididng that will remain unchanged. In fact, I'm willing to predict that the Liberals could lose up to 5% percent to each of the other two parties--which makes Ottawa Centre a really tight three-way race. Factors that may contribute to erosion of support for the Liberals are: 1. Dalton is not well liked in Ottawa in general. (Advantage neutral.) 2. Jack Layton may have captured the imagination of many erstwhile listless former/current New Democrats--he got me to join the party. (Advantage New Democrats). 3. The Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Sun pay special attention to the Tories, at the expense of the Liberals--trying to spin their candidates as having a shot at getting elected. This will motivate the usually cynical Ottawa Centre Tory voters to actually get out to the polls, instead of just calling in to CFRA every day. 4. The Carleton students are back, and they are swayed by a young candidate. Plus, they're ticked-off about higher rents (especially!), and higher tuition. As an example, I know a friend of a friend who, along with his four roomates, intend to vote NDP because they are so mad that their rent (which is already really high) goes up by 3-4% every year. These guys are not university armchair socialists either, but rather hard-drinkin', farm raised, southwestern Ontario lads. (Advantage NDP) 5. The Liberals are in hot water because civil service hiring (virtually the entire riding is civil service employees) has dried up in the last 6 months. And, in fact, some government departments and agencies are laying people off (eg. CCRA's Ottawa Technology Centre) (Advantage NDP) Long story short, the NDP is coming right up the centre here. No fooling this time.
10/09/03 Craig
I still believe the NDP will pick this riding up. Rent control is a major issue here along with post-secondary education, and this is the only riding in Eastern Ontario that the NDP has any realistic chance in, so they will be throwing a lot of resources here. With the gains the Tories are making, it could also set up a vote split on the right among soft Tories/Liberals on the fence. Howard Hampton is expected to have a large crowd in downtown Ottawa this week and that will also help move the campaign, with Patten virtually silent right now. Current prediction: Atkinson 35%, Patten 29%, Varner 26%, Bradshaw 8%, others 2%.
05/09/03 Stuck in the middle with me
Well here we go again. Mr Patten is off and running this time with Dalton M's new and improved image to help him along. The other parties are scrambling to catch up and have a long way to go. Mr Varner's rude and ungentlemanly actions during the CFRA debate yesterday only served to alienate the mostly Tory audience of that station. It looks like he misunderstands Patten's personal popularity. Atikinson though well meaning and earnest is just not really in the game because the his party has not understood the lesson of the past Federal and Provincial elections that the Demogaphics of our riding have changed.
02/09/03 J.S
Email: jarrow_crusade1936@hotmail.com
I have to disagree with my namesake on this one. The NDP are not going to steal this one from the grits. This riding just ain't blue collar enough for the Howie Machine, with it's populist message, to take. Also Patten's recovery from cancer is surely worth a few votes. Cynical? Moi? They[the NDP] certainly have an outside shot, but thats all it is, an outside shot. As far as Ottawa Centre being the NDP's best shot in eastern Ontario goes, I personally reckon they have a better change in Haliburton-Victoria-Brock.
18/08/03 AC
Even the previous writer seems to admit that the Liberals will win this in a walk but then refuses to make an actual prediction. He writes that "this is the NDP's best chance in Eastern Ontario" well, yes, it probably is. I guess it always is, and the NDP always believe it. But if they could not make a dent last time with a higher profile municipal councillor (Elisabeth Arnold) there is no way they will do so this time. It can be conceded that the Tories ran well here in 1999, but a whole lot of that has to go to the strength of Harris and the then relative weakness of McGuinty. This mismatch factor is eliminated. The current Tory candidate is potentially a bit better, however, I don't think his experience as a researcher for the federal Tory rump of a caucus and a bunch of Senators will be at all significant; also, he has only come to Ottawa in the past few years. Atkinson, meanwhile, is also a young candidate for the NDP. His media angle so far is that he used to be a federal Liberal but became disgusted after the 1995 Paul Martin cut Budget. I think right now he makes his living working for a national union organization of some sort (don't know which) and I have seen some of his literature referring to his experience as a union organizer for security guards at Carleton University. Not the intellectual stuff of champions, sorry folks. Sidenote: another one of his pieces of literature referred to the importance of the pubic power platform. Which brings us back to Richard Patten. Patten is the incumbent. He is experienced. He was a Minister in the Peterson years, then was out of politics from 1990-1995, during which time he worked on fundraising for... CHEO, still an important local election issue following the Tories' boneheaded move to try to close the CHEO cardiac unit in 2002. This was a big motivator for Patten, who had just come off of fighting and beating cancer. Personally, I perceive Patten as a decent constituency man with lots of experience in both government and opposition, ready to be in government again. There is a knock on Patten that he is not that visible in the riding. Let's just say that your visibility might decline, too, if you had been under chemotherapy during the term. I believe since then there have been charity auctions of celebrity photos in Richard Patten's name. The bottom line is this: there is no way that two inexperienced, disposable candidates for the NDP and Tories will defeat a decent and recognizable incumbent NDP in Richard Patten. Mark this one for the Liberals, give up hope, NDP and send your resources to Sid Ryan in Oshawa to give him a hope in hell. The main reason I wrote this is to get a Liberal marker above the blank that was left. Come on, people.
17/08/03 AddieLefty
I think that it might have been premature to put this riding into the Grit catagory!!! only Because all three parties have a good chance of wining this riding. It does favour the Grits mainly b/c of the fact that the premier in waiting is from Ottawa and the Grits have a sitting MPP. But the NDP have a solid base and with no strategic voting "strategy" in use this will drain form the Grits. Also I think that the Tories have a base here, not as strong but still pretty solid. I think more votes from working class tories will come over to the NDP making this a tough NDP/Grit race. it will be fun to watch, and this is the NDP's best chance of a win in all of Eastern Ontario, they will be throwing a lot of money here to try and win it!!!
01/08/03 Bob MacDonald
More than 60% of Ottawa Centre is comprised of tenants and a strong turnout by them on election day could make a big difference.
31/07/03 Dean
Email: deansherratt@rogers.com
Looking at this realistically, redistribution has extended the riding further west into pretty suburban areas. NDP strength is diluted as a result and I have difficulties seeing the PCs running as well as they did in 1999 (actually they ran very well indeed). Hence, I expect a Liberal victory, probably in the 6,000 vote range or more.
16/07/03 Happy Camper
I always was impressed by Richard Patton and I believe his strength in overcoming a potentially deadly attack of cancer, earned him a new level of respect in the community. Patton is going to win this election because he deserves another term in office more than the other candidates deserve to go to Queen's Park.
11/07/03 Monkey
The Liberals are likely to have more seats in Ottawa after this election than they have now. One reason that's possible is that Richard Patton is not in any danger of losing to a couple of unknowns like Joe Varner and Jeff Atkinson. Patton never wins this riding by as big a spread as in other Ottawa ridings the Liberal hold, but he wins it.
03/07/03 Nomad
Ottawa Tories are only fooling themselves if they think that their candidate Joe Who? can beat Richard Patton in this riding. If I were the Ottawa Tories, I'd be trying to save Gary Guzzo from a life and death battle rather than wasting my time is a doomed attempt to beat Patton.
11/06/03 SRG
The PC candidates have the most experience and the most integrity. The candidate for Ottawa-Centre, Joe Varner, has far more public policy experience than the competition.
08/06/03 JS
Prediction Change: The NDP might be able to steal this riding from the Grits. This is because they are concentrating a lot of resources here, The "flip-flop" accusations are starting to stick(again), Layton's coat-tails, good poll ratings and general momentum. The Grits, however won here last time and are trying to be seen as the "only" opposition to Eves.
29/05/03 JR Villemaire
If Jeff Atkinson and the New Democrats do a strong showing once again in Ottawa Centre, they would split the centre-left vote with the Liberals and the Conservatives could then win the riding. I predict a Progressive Conservative victory.
23/05/03 Harinder Singh
Email: Harindersingh1973@hotmail.com
I must admit, I was pretty shocked to see the webmaster putting this as a Liberal-NDP fight. I mean, maybe the PCs have an outside shot of a pickup here if McGuinty implodes. But the NDP? They got 25% here last time around and finished 6000 votes or 13% behind the Liberals. For the NDP to win, you would need to see significant defections to the NDP from Patten's 1999 showing PLUS very, very little movement from the PCs to the Liberals. If anything, I expect to see the Liberals gain votes significantly from the PCs and the NDP vote to stay about the same. I mean, polls show Eves and McGuinty tied on leadership with Hampton way back. The PCs are trailing the Liberals on every measure (best on health, education, economy, environment) except tax cuts. The NDP seem nowhere in this campaign. Locally, where is the NDP's room to grow? Pissed-off JDS Uniphase engineers who lost their jobs? Civil servants living in big houses with big mortgages? Political staffers? The rent control vote some dipper on hear mentioned is hilarious. It called for a rent "roll-back", a pledge the NDP have broken themselves, now calling just for a "freeze." I can't help but think the webmaster is throwing a bone to the NDP activists on this site. Good luck in the election, brothas and sistas, you'll be needing it.
23/05/03 Crystal Ball
At no time did I ever believe that Richard Patton would be challenged in any way in Ottawa Centre. Looking at the National Post today and finding the NDP dead last with only 11 per cent of the vote, it's obvious I was right thinking Patton would be re-elected. The real race here will be to see who comes in second. The Tories do seem to have some momentum right now so I would think Joe Varner will be second and a very young looking Jeff Atkinson coming in with the same level of support his NDP have these days.
21/05/03 Grizz
With the Liberals appearing to be ahead in what looks like a close race, you would have to be on crack to vote out a sitting liberal. Unless the NDP swell in the polls this will stay red.
21/05/03 Reality Check
According to Craig, Ottawa Centre is a "bellweather riding". Craig needs to brush up on his political lingo and get a reality check. A "bellweather riding" is one that goes with the party who wins the election. Ottawa Centre elected Richard Patton in 1999 and the Tories won the general election. This is not a "bellweather riding" The voters in Ottawa Centre elected Patton even though it was clear the Tories would form another government. Now that it looks like the Liberals are coming to power, the people in this riding are not going to vote Patton out when his party could be running the province. Makes no sense. Patton will win this riding by a bigger spread this time. His party is up in the polls and his profile is up thanks to his public battle with cancer. This race is over. Patton wins easily.
21/05/03 A.Lefty
Ottawa Centre, like other urban ridings where there has been an NDP base (London, Toronto, Windsor) we will see some big two-way and three-way races. I just want to point out the in the case of the Grits, before elections people tend to park there vote with the Grits b/c they are seen to be a safe party. I tend to see them as a stagnent one but whatever. In any case, thats why the Grits were predicted to win back in 90,95 & 99 but lost all three!!!!! Another point, from what i know about young Torries, Grits and Dippers is that the one thing that unites Tories an Dippers is our loathing for the Grits. thats why i see more Tory votes going to the NDP (let me clariey on which ones, those of the middle-class who have voted NDP in 90 and who aren't Tory memebers)this is evident in a couple of ridings like Cambridge & Guelph. This is still gona be a tough two way race but i think that the NDP can pull it off going up against the Grits.
16/05/03 Craig
A bellweather riding that will flip between Liberal and NDP, and right now it appears to be too close to call. This riding should be a classic battle between personality (main reason the Liberals could hold with Patten) and policies (which would have otherwise made this an NDP stronghold). The collapse of the Tory vote should mean the Liberals will pick up votes, which would get them even again with the NDP. It will be a classic! Predicted results: LIB 38%, NDP 36%, PC 15%, Green 8% - but too close to call, as the plurality is within the margin of error.
16/05/03 JS
Email: unclejoesayshello@yahoo.co.uk
Although this was close in 1999, it will not be this time round. The Grits are on 50% in the polls. A province-wide swing of over 15% could happen. When there is a swing of that size a small Liberal lead will(in theory) turn into a large one.
06/05/03 Number Cruncher
Ottawa Centre is listed as a two way contest between the NDP and the Liberals. The numbers clearly give the advantage to Richard Patton even though he won the seat last time with only 38 per cent of the vote. Looking at the current downward trend the Conservatives are on in the recent polls, it would seem clear that there percentage of the vote would decline from the 32 per cent they received in 1999. The question is whether the lost Conservative vote would choose not to cast a ballot or move to another party. Current polling data indicates that a growing number of Conservative voters are switching to the Liberals. That would indicate Patton's percentage of the vote would rise this time. The NDP had their best result in this region in Ottawa Centre with 25 per cent of the vote. However, with the NDP still holding down a distant third place postion in the province wide polls, the numbers don't lead to a conclusion that the NDP percentage of the vote would rise enough to overtake the Liberals. In conclusion, the numbers point to Richard Patton winning again.
19/04/03 Nathan Hauch
Email: nathan.hauch@sympatico.ca
If anyone wants to know why the NDP stands a chance of winning this riding, keep in mind that recently, Richard Patten voted AGAINST a rent control bill put forth by the NDP. Considering that Ottawa has one of the lowest vancancy rates in the country, and that rents are sky high, the soft Liberal vote is about to turn orange. Also, as for the polls, let's not forget that a) the government is now planning to use the far more expensive and pollutive deisel over hydro, which will upset voters when they actually do this -- especially considering that the Liberals voted for the privitization of hydro and b) let's not forget that during election time, the Liberals' provincewide share tends to dwindle; considering that the NDP has its platform out first befoer the other parties, there's a real possibility that the NDP could move up there.
18/04/03 Michael Ensley
Email: mensley@yahoo.com
This one of the targeted ridings by the ONDP. The most recent New Democrat features the candidate along with candidates in Windsor West, Davenport, Algoma-Manitoulin. Not even Michael Cassidy the former ONDP leader take this seat back for the ONDP in the upcoming election. However, Jeff Atkinson will at least save his deposit and make a respectable showing
17/04/03 Reality Check
Ottawa Centre is listed as a two way race between the NDP and the Liberals. Time for a little reality here for the NDP. Your party is running at 11 per cent. That means you won't be picking up any new seats in 2003. Ottawa Centre has a well known sitting MPP in a party running at 53 per cent. Patton won't be beaten by an unknown running for a fringe party that's at 11 per cent.
15/04/03 Scotty
April 5 EKOS poll results. Liberals 53, Tories 34, NDP 11. The NDP are falling fast to 11%. That means Jeff Atkinson is finished. Richard Patton will keep this riding.
15/04/03 Rabbit
Ottawa Center seems to be a Richard Patten riding rather than a Liberal riding. People I know in the riding (including me) know him and have a favorable opinion of him. Until I saw the list on your site I didn't know who the other candidates were. Patten also has his campaign office already, but I don't know how active it is. My prediction is an easy victory for Patten.
08/04/03 James Murphy
Email: jamesrsmurphy@hotmail.com
Last time the PC candidate got 32% compared to the Liberals 36%- its very winnable. The difference is this time the PC riding team is much more organized than last. The candidate is intelligent and articulate, the party has targetted this as a winnable riding and several thousand dollars worth of polling has been donated. Close to 100 people came out to Joe Varner's nomination meeting- he has successfully fulled together a conservative coalition that is very talanted and ready to win.
06/03/03 RaphaŽl Thierrin
In Ottawa Centre, GPO Candidate Chris Bradshaw runs a successful business in the riding, Vrtucar. This is a business which exemplifies Chris' ecological and social justice concerns. Aside from this, Chris has been interim leader of the Green Party of Canada until recently. This local and national visibility might make Chris win the Ottawa Centre seat.
01/04/03 Stuck in the middle with you
I have watched this riding through many elections and yes the NDP was once a force here. These day how ever they are mired in third place with a lackluster leader and no prize candidate. Their main strength is good organization and the one of the largest associationsin the country but they still could'nt win with Elizabeth Arnold or federally with Heather Jane Robinson two candidates any party would be proud to have. The Tories a strong second the last time with a no name candidate could not find a contender willing to take on Richard Patten. Patten is highly popular with the education communtity and is seen as a conciliator who is interested in the overall good of the community. It seems that his support is broad based and crosses party lines. The fact that he fought and beat Cancer with out nmissing a days work and his involvement with Ottawa sacred cows like CHEO only serves to enhance his reputation. This one stays Liberal with an increased margin.
31/03/03 James
What everyone on this message board seems to have forgotten is that the NDP ran a relatively distant third in 1999. After a much bally-hooed campaign in which Elizabeth Arnold was supposed to give Patten a run for his money, it was the PC Ray Kostuch who came within three thousand votes. The NDP has never done well in eastern Ontario. Even in 1990 when they won all sorts of unlikely ridings (like Oxford and Whitby), they only won Ottawa Centre in the entire region. For all the talk about this being a Liberal strong-hold it is important to note that the Liberals have not topped 40% in either 1999 or 2000. If the NDP does better than 1999 (and that seems likely) a tight three-way race is inevitable, with the PCs as the likely winner.
30/03/03 Mike White
As a former resident of the riding I have seen Ottawa Centre swing back and forth between the Liberals and the New Democrats. The simple fact of the matter is that Richard Patten is facing his stiffest challenge since he lost to Evelyn Gigantes in 1990.
Jeff Atkinson is the furthest thing from being a political lightweight, as some other posters to this web site would believe. He has been active politically in Ottawa Centre for more than 15 years. Indeed, Richard Patten knows full well what a strong challenge Atkinson is because Atkinson used to serve on Patten's Liberal riding executive. Jeff Atkinson has become well known in the communities of Ottawa Centre over the years as a community activist, labour organiser and campaigner in more than 10 elections.
Atkinson is no political lightweight as some Liberals would like to believe. He serves on the NDP's national executive and has the backing of key players from workers from more than one of the recent NDP federal leadership candidates, including those of Federal Leader Jack Layton. Jeff Atkinson's position with the Canadian Labour Congress is sure to bring him considerable support from the labour movement across Ottawa Carelton.
Now, no candidate runs in a vacuum so Jeff Atkinson's prospects must be weighed against those of the other two contenders. From what I understand the Conservative candidate hasn't even campaigned in Ottawa Centre because he has been too busy working for the Tories from Nova Scotia. If ever there was a case of divided loyalties this is it. Mr. Varner needs to decide what his priorities are -- the residents of Ottawa Centre or the likes of disgraced Tory Senator John Buchanan, and Tory Leadership wannabes like Scott Brison and Peter McKay.? Ernie Eves and the Ontario Conservatives know they don't stand a chance in Ottawa Centre, if they did they should have been able to attract a real candidate.
Richard Patten has been the MPP for Ottawa Centre since 1987, except for a 5 year stint when the seat was held by New Democrat Evelyn Gigantes. Patten's biggest claim to fame is that he was a minister in the huburistic government of David Peterson (remember him and Patty Starr?). Once the Golden Star of the Liberal Party in Eastern Ontario, Patten's career has been characterised by more of a Medusa Touch rather than a Midas Touch. Patten's tenure at the cabinet table was completely unmemorable. Did he establish any enduring policies while at Management Board? What were his bold initiatives while Corrections Minister? The answer is that there were none.
Since his return to active politics in 1995, Richard Patten has been a lack lustre MPP on the back benches of the Liberal party, and to be a back bencher among that group is no mean accomplishment. Patten's biggest claim to fame since 1995 has been his, thankfully,successful fight against cancer, I wish him and his family many years of health. But this tragic episode just serves to underline how unregarded Patten is within the Liberal Party.
Back when Lyn McLeod resigned as party leader Richard Patten tried to organise a campaign for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party. Even within the friendly confines of Ottawa-Carleton, Patten found he did not have the organisational, delegate or monetary support to mount a credible campaign, having been out-hustled on all three counts by Dalton McGuinty. Patten's aborted campaign only served to fuel animosity between himself and McGuinty. An animosity that has not dimmed since 1996 when Dalton became leader. Indeed McGuinty didn't even bother to come to Patten's recent nomination, depite living in the riding next door!
Editor Note: Partisan text edited.
28/03/03 El Predicto
Ottawa Downtown Lad sounds a little off his rocker on the last post. You'd have to be to think that Joe Varner has a prayer in Ottawa Centre. Richard Patton is just too strong and too high profile to give up this riding. I stand by my prediction that the Liberals will keep Ottawa Centre.
24/03/03 Ottawa downtown lad
Don't look now, but the PC's have just won this seat with the placement of Joe Varner. The NDP's are unaware of what awaits them in Ottawa-Centre's PC camp. Joe Varner, next MPP for Ottawa-Centre. And Dick P (Richard Patten-pending), you know this to be true.
18/03/03 Poll Junkie
This would have been a competitive seat between the NDP and Libs normally, but the low-profile NDP candidate, Patten's courageous battle with cancer and the collapsing Tory vote will allow Patten to coast to an easy win. With a better-known NDP candidate (i.e. Elisabeth Arnold, Evelyn Gigantes), this one could have been a lot closer.
If the NDP are hoping that Ottawa Centre is a pickup for them, I think their chances in the upcoming provincial election are worse than I originally thought. If their strategists are telling them to target Richard Patton, they'd better be ready to again have to petition the Speaker at Queen's Park for official party status, because they won't win it on their own. Ottawa Centre is possibly the safest Liberal seat in Eastern Ontario. Richard Patton has been an effective representative for his constituents, and continued to work on their behalf, while battling cancer, without missing a single day of work. If that's the kind of MPP the NDP would like to target, then this is going to be a long election cycle for the boys on the left.
10/03/03 A Cameron
Richard Patten will hold here safely. He has the strongest background of any of the pretenders. The NDP candidate is a rookie opportunist with no real profile other than a story about his past life as a federal-provincial Liberal. The Tories ran second here in 1999 somehow, with a guy named Ray Kostuch. I think it had to do with the strength of the Harris reputation and some demographic targeting of the affluent areas of Ottawa Centre by the PCs and their strong central campaign and $$$$$$$$$$ phone banking. I also wanted to point out that one of the predictions you can read in the Ottawa-Centre file is pure spin from one J Maclaren. Go over to Ottawa South and have a look at the 1999 candidates list. I think Maclaren ran for the NDP against McGuinty in 1999 in Ottawa South. So don't buy any of that. Richard Patten with an increase.
05/03/03 THE GAMBLER
The Gambler is putting his money on Richard Patton to win Ottawa Centre. The Gambler likes to put his money on a fighter and Patton showed he has the right stuff battling cancer and coming out the winner. After beating cancer, taking on the PC's and the NDP will be easey for Patton. Bet on Patton and you'll laugh all the way to the bank.
26/02/03 El Predicto
Even though the NDP will do everything they can to take this seat, Richard Patton will hang on and keep it Liberal. Patton won a lot of respect when he worked through his illness and came back strong. This is still a safe Ottawa riding for the Liberals and this won't change. Mark this one down for the Liberals.
25/02/03 J McLaren
McGuinty's decision to appoint a candidate in next-door Ottawa-Vanier is going to haunt him badly in Ottawa-Vanier and in the neighbouring ridings of Ottawa Centre and Ottawa South (McGuinty's own riding). Many local Liberals are angry about this, and they might vote NDP in protest. Although I think the Liberal majorities will be diminished in O-S and O-V, only in Ottawa Centre is the NDP strong enough to take the seat.
02/02/03 A.S.
Email: adma@interlog.com
Although it may appear a little by desperate default that this is the NDP's top Eastern Ontario target and the long-term electoral (and redistribution) trajectory's hitherto worked against them, and they're working against a next-door Liberal "favourite son", I wouldn't be so dismissive of the NDP's chances, or at least of their "misplaced" positive energy. With its civil servants and a demographic profile that, of all non-Toronto ridings, most resembles Toronto's deep-urban-yuppie New Democrat strongholds, Ottawa Centre's stealthily morphed into hallowed ground among NDP targets, federally as well as provincially. (Even in the federal party's annus horribilis of 1993, they saw fit to run ex-mayor Marion Dewar and got a credible 20%+ for their efforts.) In an eerie way, Grit incumbent or not, it's not quite the same hapless scenario as the typical '99 strategic-NDP-gone-awry (let alone the strategic-second-choice-to-Grits-gone-awry situation in, say, Kingston & The Islands). But most of all, now, there's the potential "Jack Layton" coattail factor--not only that he rode an Ottawa Centre-type demographic to the federal NDP leadership, but that it was even suggested that OC itself be opened up to allow Layton a seat in Parliament! And add the fact that, with two consecutive minus-40% mandates, Richard Patten is a bit of a Grit John Hastings, and that in both 1987 and 1990 he was but the default anti-NDP choice against token/desultory PC efforts. If a McGuinty landslide were positively in the cards, yes, Patten's a cinch--but a landslide's still far from guaranteed, PC isn't likely to sink to 1987/90 depths so quickly, and the Grits paradoxically lost more ground to PCs in Dalton's home turf than anyplace else in '99, so go figure. Dalton vs Layton: there's the dynamic in utero...
21/01/03 Andrew Cox
Liberal hold. Reasons. 1) The margin was just 2500 in 1999, but there is little reason to see the Liberal vote going down. 2) I assume that A.D. simply didn't know about Patten's two year fight with cancer that limited his political activity recently. This Ottawa Citizen story explains: "The surprise at yesterday's news conference was not that Ottawa Centre MPP Richard Patten will run for re-election, but that he was there at all.
About two years ago, stricken with lymphoma, bald from chemotherapy, weak and shaken, Mr. Patten was fighting for his life. Some had written his political obituary, while many feared another, more tragic one, was on the way. 'I was on the edge for about six months,' the MPP admits. Yesterday, he was the picture of health with a full head of newly trimmed grey hair, a rich tan and crisp casual wear. Tests revealed he has been free of cancer for more than a year. 'I'm healthy. I'm strong. I'm ready to go,' he said. 'All my tests show everything is fine.'" 3) That's a pretty compelling story in the background of this campaign. Veteran politican fights back from cancer; now he's ready to fight for you. It also gives Patten instant credibility on health issues, particularly the sorry state of cancer treatment in Ottawa. 4) The CHEO issue is another big one. The PC plan to shut down the regional children's heart surgury program struck a nerve in Patten, a former chair of the hospital board. Patten says he is running again because of his out-rage over the Toronto-Centric Tory mentality. (Same Citizen article.) You only need to have seen the lawn signs dotted around Ottawa to know Tory vote is going down locally. 5) What was once a traditional Liberal-NDP fight, with Patten and Evelyn Gigantes switching back and forth in every election between 1985 and 1995, saw the NDP fall to well-back third place last election. Actually, if you omit 1990, the NDP voted has fallen sharply every election. 1985 - 43. 1987 - 39. 1995 - 33. 1999 - 25. Even in 1990, the NDP won by just 2800 votes. The larger riding takes in more middle-class neighbourhoods that traditionally vote Liberal. So the question is: Can the NDP catch Patten? 6) The areas Lebanese community is traditionally Liberal. The NDP's anti-Isreal, pro-Palestine approach to foreign affairs could make some in-roads here, but the community is much less hetrogenously mobile than in the past. There! are some possible vote there, but nowhere near the 6,000 or more needed. 7) Anti-federal Liberal anger from people who have to watch them all the time. There is some room there, certainly. But the new Ottawa Centre is more high tech workers and fewer unionize public sector workers than at any time in the past. CUPE is less of a factor now than NASDAQ. Don't expect "traditional NDP public sector support" to be a wave that swamps an anti-Tory incumbent away. 8) Throughout the election, this will be one of those seats NDP partisans push as "a sure NDP win." They will do the same thing in Davenport and Hamilton Mountain and Windsor-St Clair, etc. The problem is that these are all Liberal held seats, not PC held seats. Voters who went Liberal last time, to beat the Tories, aren't going to suddenly massively swing NDP to beat the Tories. Not this election. If the Liberals were the government, I'd be calling those seats as races. But right now, there isn't a good issue to push votes to the NDP. Unfortunately for Hampton, the Hydro issue peaked in the fall and is basically irrelevant now. The ballot question will be a referendum on the government, and unless the riding has an NDP incumbent, the choices will be more of the same (Tory) or change (Grit). As I see it, the NDP is stuck with a diffused base vote that doesn't translate into seats anymore. Races like Ottawa Centre will reflect that reality. 9) Last but not least, don't underestimate the "Leader next door" factor in urban markets like Ottawa. Why did Shelia Copps win in Hamilton in 1981? Because Grit leader Stuart Smith was next door and in the media mix all the time. This is McGuinty's home town and he's in the local papers almost as much as Eves and three times as much as Hampton. And unlike 1999, the coverage lately has been good.
16/12/02 Craig
Reading the latest polls, I will change my opinion. The Liberals have fallen badly over the past 3 months due to constant flip-flopping as both the Tories and NDP have accused them of. This riding becomes a huge opportunity for the NDP, and despite the fact Eastern Ontario is a long way from any current candidate, I can see them opening up ground in this generally left of centre riding. My prediction, therefore, is changed from Liberals ---> NDP.
05/12/02 SM
This will be another of the few NDP gains this election. The local organization is very strong and committed, the present MPP isn't very popular, and the NDP have been performing tremendously well the last couple years, while the Liberals seem to be tumbling over their feet. Overall, I'd expect a minority Liberal or Conservative government. There's no way the NDP will form a coalition with either because there's too big a gap on policy, while it's unlikely the Libs or tories will come together because of sour politics between the two.
26/11/02 ATGS
Don't know why this is listed as a Liberal win, except that the site indicates the re-election of incumbents far too often. With six months to go, the Tories 10 to 15 % below their 1999 level and the NDP up 6 points in the last 6 months there is a significant amount of movement in the polls. That means alot of uncertainty -- and alot of room for incumbents in ridings like Ottawa Centre to lose ground. I wish there was somewhere to comment on the race as a whole, though. I'd like to point out that it is way too early to predict 37 Tories and 28 Liberals being re-elected in specific seats -- it would be risky to predict even half that number of "safe seats" for each at this point.
11/11/02 James
The NDP machine is very strong in this riding. Hydro deregulation disaster will hit the Tories and Libs hard, making this riding winnable for the NDP if they find a strong candidate.
26/10/02 A.D.
Richard who?!!!!! this is a riding that might, once again, be a tight three way but probably a two way race between the NDP and the Grits. This MPP is barely recognizable anywhere let alone Ottawa. I think that the NDP has the only credible platform that deals with Urban issues. It is not only fiscaly workable but will definetly improve our cities. That kind of platform will fly well in this urban and progressive ottawa riding. If the NDP runs a strong candidate like they did in 99 then this will be close. But i still put my money on the NDP, i think that Ottawa is sick of the do nothing Grits.
22/10/02 Craig
This was a classic three-way race in 1999. However, this time, I think it will be a Liberal cakewalk. Tory support in the Ottawa area has fallen due to health and education cuts, and the NDP probably will not have a strong candidate like in 1999 (too busy doing a good job at city council). Richard Patten should breeze to re-election this time, as the red Liberal wave sweeps across Eastern Ontario.

Information Submission

Return to Eastern Regional Index
Ontario Provincial Election Prediction
© 1999-2002 Election Prediction Project - www.electionprediction.com - Email Webmaster