Ontario Election

No candidate has a base
in the Italian west end
of Eglinton-Lawrence

TORONTO – Created in 1999, Eglinton-Lawrence in situated in the heart of central Toronto. The district is bordered by roads like Highway 401, Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue West. The residents are predominately middle class, and many small businesses are integral to the area’s local economy.

Eglinton-Lawrence is home to a diverse population and reflects a variety of cultural groups such as Italian, Filipino and Jewish communities. Statistics Canada says 10,740 residents self-identify as Italian Canadian (as per the 2016 Census). That represents 9% of the district’s population. They have a culture of voting.

Robin Martin, the incumbent, seeks her second term in office and to hold the seat for the PC. In 2018, she took the riding from the Liberals when she won with 40.4% support of the electorate (19,999 votes). She beat the Liberal incumbent by 957 votes. That year, the Liberals took 38.5% of the vote, followed by the NDP at 18.1%.

This year, things appear to be shaping up for a tough competition between the Liberals and the PC.

When contacted, Martin shared her Party’s message: “to build a stronger economy that will create good jobs for all Ontarians”. On the topic of senior care, she highlighted parts of the PC party’s plan to invest in home care and “upgrade 256 beds at Villa Colombo”.

Her close contender, Arlena Hebert, aims to reclaim the district for the Liberals. She acknowledged the riding’s diversity, the “strong Italian community” and the small businesses that form the constituency. “We need to ensure these communities and local businesses are supported”, Hebert added. She pointed to her Party’s platform to support middle-class families by reducing transit fares, introducing new worker benefits and boosting seniors’ pensions.

The NDP candidate Natasha Doyle-Merrick is also vying for the post. She said, “affordability and access to health care, childcare and education are crucial issues”, for constituents in the riding. She backs her Party’s plan to reform, “stronger institutions that reflect the needs of all Ontarians”.

The political landscape in Eglinton-Lawrence is poised for change. According to the most recent projections by 338Canada.com (May 15), the Liberals are in the lead at 40%. The prediction model uses algorithms and considers all major polls. It indicates that the PC, at 39%, trail by 1-point, followed by the NDP at 13%.

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P. Pajdo is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

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