MPP Michael Gravelle.
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Two by-elections set in southern Ontario could promote the Liberal-led government to majority status, or leave it with a slightly weaker minority.
The Liberals formed government after the 2011 general election but missed out on claiming another majority by a few seats. From the 107 seats at Queen’s Park, the Liberals took 53, the Progressive Conservatives 37 and the NDP 17.
But two Sept. 6 by-elections in ridings lost by the Liberals during the general election means the political landscape and Queen’s Park could change. The Liberals hold one of the two ridings up for grabs. If the party can win the Kitchener-Waterloo riding while maintaining MPP Greg Sarbara’s former Vaughan riding, then majority status is theirs.
If the NDP or PCs snag both the by-election ridings, then the balance of power will lean one seat closer to the opposition at Queen’s Park.
MPP Michael Gravelle (Lib, Thunder Bay – Superior North) said if they are able to secure Kitchener-Waterloo then the government would become far more stable than what it is now.
“Our candidates are working hard in both ridings,” Gravelle said. “The by-elections are less than two weeks away and we would very much like to be successful in both of those ridings. By-elections are always tough but we’re all working hard. I have been through many elections and the people will decide and the people are always right.”
Gravelle paid a visit to Vaughan and helped by canvassing the area for the Liberal candidate. He said Premier Dalton McGuinty is still advocating the success the government has had in health care, education and other areas such as public transit.
But if the government loses both by-elections, Gravelle said they will continue to work with the other parties.
“People of the province do expect us to work together,” he said. “It has been less than a year since the general election.”
With a minority government there’s always a chance of Ontarians heading back to the polls and if the government were to fall, Gravelle said he would seek reelection.
But the opposition parties aren't giong to watch these by-elections without putting up a fight.
Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak said in a release meant to campaign on his website that the government has wasted billions of dollars through organizations such as Ornge and e-Health.
At a media conference in Vaughan, he said his party’s commitment to fixing Ontario’s economy will have it growing again.
“Important projects like the Vaughan hospital will never happen if we don’t get a grip on the province’s finances so that we can once again afford them,” Hudak said in a media release.
“The only way to get this hospital back on the go is to elect PC Candidate Tony Genco on September 6th, to stop overspending and focus on job creation.”
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