Ontario Election

Etobicoke Centre Electors may
decide it is time for change

TORONTO – Etobicoke Centre electoral district is one of three ridings in Etobicoke. It is also the constituency with the largest concentration of Italians among all three districts. Statistics Canada says 17,565 constituents self-identify as Italian Canadian. That represents 15% of the district’s population and the largest ethnic group to originate from Europe.

Created in 1999, the district is situated along Mississauga’s eastern border, north of Etobicoke-Lakeshore. It spans an area of about 36 square km and includes neighbourhoods like, Humber Heights-Westmount, Kingsway Village-The Westway and Markland Woods.

Historically, Etobicoke Centre has been represented by two political parties, the Liberals and the PC. Kinga Surma, the incumbent seeks her second term in office and to retain the seat for the PC.

When contacted, she acknowledged the “wonderful group of neighbours” in Etobicoke Centre. “We come from all around the world and work hard to support our families and each other”, she added. With no intention of being a one-term MPP, she said: “If re-elected, I will continue to advocate for our community to bring new and exciting investments” to the area. These would include “highway capacity, new transit and revitalized and new hospitals”, she added.

In 2018, she took the riding from the Liberals (who dominated the political landscape between 2003 and 2018). She won with 43% support of the electorate (24,432 votes). The Liberals took 34%, but the PC’s margin of victory was 4,724 votes. That year, the NDP only managed 18%.

With less than two weeks to go until election day, things are shaping up for a close match between the PC’s and the Liberals. Surma’s closest competitor is candidate Noel Semple. In his first attempt at running for office, he aims to strengthen support for the Liberals. He did not respond to our request for input as at the time of going to print.

Meanwhile, NDP candidate Heather Vickers-Wong is also vying for the post. Focused on improving the quality of life for residents in the community, she said, “we need to bring back healthcare supports to our community and our schools”. She pointed to transit infrastructure as another central issue for local constituents. She expressed “the need of improvements for environmentally sustainable public transit” to help better connect residents to school, work and their community.

With advance polling stations open until May 28, decided voters have an early opportunity to cast their ballot. According to the most recent projections by 338Canada.com (May 18), the Liberals are in the lead at 41%. The prediction model uses algorithms and considers all major polls. It shows the PC’s, at 40%, trailing by one-point followed by the NDP at 12%.

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P. Pajdo is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

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