Jeff Green | Oct 11, 2007
Feature Article - October11, 2007
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Hillier prevails over Wilson in LFL&Aby Jeff Green
As the Liberal machine rolled across Ontario it ran into a roadblock in the Conservative stronghold of Eastern Ontario. Conservative politicians prevailed in Leeds Grenville (Bob Runciman), Carleton - Mississippi Mills (Norm Sterling), Nepean - Carleton (Lyn MacLeod), and Renfrew Nippissing Pembroke (John Yakabuski - the singing MPP).
Towards Kingston the situation was rosier for the Liberals, with cabinet member John Gerretsen winning handily, and Leona Dombrowsky, who at dissolution was the MPP for Hastings Frontenac Lennox and Addington, winning the new riding of Prince Edward-Hastings.
That leaves Lanark Frontenac Lennox and Addington, which turned out to be the closest race in the region, and one of the last in the province to be resolved. Conservative Randy Hiller established a comfortable lead early on, but as votes kept coming in, Ian Wilson of the Liberals began closing the gap. Wilson briefly took the lead after over 200 of 274 polls were reporting, but after 256 polls had reported, Randy Hiller had pulled ahead with a slim 124-vote lead. The final 20 or so polls must have been in Hillier strongholds, however, and the outspoken advocate for rural rights pulled away, finally winning the riding by 976 votes.
The final tally in LFL&A was Randy Hillier (Conservative), 18,213 (40.7%), Ian Wilson (Liberal) 17,289 (38.6%), Ross Sutherland (NDP) 5,673 (12.6%), Rolly Montpellier (Green) 3,187 (7.1%), and Stella Postma (Family Coalition) 462 (1.0%).
Hillier's victory was aided by voting splitting, since the third and fourth place finishers received 20% of the vote in a an election where the second place finisher was only 2% behind the winner.
Randy Hillier did not win LFL&A as handily as his federal Conservative counterpart, Scott Reid, did in the most recent federal election. Reid polled 51% of the vote, more than doubling his nearest opponent, Liberal candidate Geoff Turner.
Ross Sutherland, who ran a strong campaign, told the Whig Standard on election night that he felt he had been squeezed out the race when it became focused on the two front-runners. He received almost 4% less of the popular vote than Helen Forsey received for the NDP in the most recent federal election.
The results for Rolly Montpellier of the Green Party, mirrored the gains the party has made throughout the province. The Green vote in the riding was up from 5% in the most recent federal election, to Montpellier's 7%. The Greens received 8% of the vote provincially.
The Greens are still destined to wait their turn before entering the legislature, however, because the referendum on proportional representation was soundly defeated. Under the new system the Greens would have been looking at 9 seats in a 129-seat legislature with the results they received this time around, instead of their current status: 0 of 107 seats.
Randy Hillier wasted no time in expressing his opinion about the victorious Liberal party.
"I feel sorry for the people of Ontario, who will face four more years of Liberal bureaucracy and impediments," he said as it became clear the governing party had been brought back to power with a solid majority. The Liberals won 71 seats, the Conservatives 26, and the NDP 10.