|May 1st, 2012 by Student Vote||Leave Comments »|
On Friday in Kitchener-Waterloo, PC MPP Elizabeth Witmer resigned her seat to become the Chair of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Representing Waterloo since 1990, Witmer’s resignation led MPPs from all parties to speak highly of her in the Legislature on Monday.
Because of Witmer’s exit, a by-election will now be needed to fill her seat. The Liberals have a minority government with 53 of the provinces 107 seats, but the loss of a PC seat in Kitchener-Waterloo draws them even with their PC and NDP opposition. Should they win the by-election, the Liberals would have a majority government and the ability to pass any legislation they chose.
Despite being a traditionally PC riding, it looks as though this by-election could feature a tight race. In the adult election, Witmer only defeated Davis by 7 percentage points. In last fall’s Ontario Student Vote, Witmer won her seat– but only by 17 votes over Liberal challenger Eric Davis. For the complete Student Vote results, click here.
Two ridings in BC held provincial by-elections last month, and the federal riding of Toronto-Danforth held a by-election to replace Jack Layton in March. There is no word yet on who will be running in the by-election, or when it will take place, but it will be very interesting to see its impact on the Ontario Legislature.
The Liberals had been under criticism from the PC for the provinces’ downgraded credit rating, but agreed to NDP surtax on high-income Ontarians to ensure the budget would pass. A majority government would ensure that Ontario would not head to the polls again until 2015 as confidence motions, like last week’s budget vote, would be ensured to pass. Until last October, Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals had held a majority government since coming to power in 2003.
A Liberal victory would give the Liberals a majority government, but technically there would still be some limitations. As noted by TVO’s Steve Paikin, Speaker Dave Levac would still be unable side with the Liberals on some motion as his role requires him to vote against new laws. Levac would however be able to vote on the Liberal side for motions of confidence.
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