OTTAWA — The Liberal Party rode to an election majority winning 184 seats in the Oct. 19 federal election, including some new wins in rural Ontario. The Liberal Party won 39.5 per cent of the popular vote.
In Ontario, not including the new ridings set up for this election, the Liberals picked up two new rural ridings and the NDP picked up one. All three were at the expense of the Conservatives who lost three ridings but still won the majority of rural ridings in Eastern Ontario, Western Ontario and Southern Ontario.
Farmers Forum identified 25 rural ridings in farm country in Eastern Ontario, Western Ontario and Southern Ontario, by stopping at Lake Simcoe and at Pembroke going north. We excluded all ridings with a population density of 100 people or more per square kilometre. That excludes the riding of Essex (NDP won), surrounding Windsor, with a population density of 102.
Of the 25 rural ridings, the Conservatives won in 20 ridings; the Liberals won in 5. That’s a Conservative sweep in farm country of 80 per cent of ridings. But that does not mean that farm country voters are gung-ho for the Conservatives, as the Conservative Party only captured 50 % or more of the vote in three of the 25 rural ridings. That means more people in rural Ontario south of North Bay still preferred another party. The election is more indicative of a country that has a huge swing vote but also a solid Conservative and Liberal base in rural Ontario south of North Bay.
In all 25 rural ridings tracked by Farmers Forum, in each case of a Conservative win, the Liberals finished second. In each case of a Liberal win, the Conservative finished second.
Here are a few upsets, tight races and notable challenges:
RURAL EASTERN ONTARIO
Glengarry-Prescott-Russell goes Liberal: Conservative Pierre Lemieux was defeated by Liberal Francis Drouin in Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, who capture 53 % of the vote. Lemieux, who captured 36.3 % had been popular among farmers. Some farmers were critical of a $4-million grant to the Skotidakis dairy processing company when it was learned that the company imported U.S. milk. Despite that, the Lemieux team was shocked the loss by more than 10,000 votes.
Prior to Lemieux, the riding was considered a Liberal stronghold held by former cabinet minister Don Boudria. But Lemieux, a former armed forces officer, stole the riding in 2006 winning by 203 votes. By 2011, his popularity peaked and he won by more than 10,000 votes. This is now considered a swing riding.
Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes stays Conservative: Liberal candidate Mary McFall, lawyer and president of Burnbrae Farms, one of the largest egg processors in Canada where McFall is daughter of owner Joe Hudson, hoped to steal this seat but didn’t. Conservative Gord Brown won again, this time with 47 % of the vote; McFall got 41 %.
Hastings-Lennox and Addington goes Liberal: Conservative Daryl Kramp (42 % of votes) got bumped in a tight race that saw Liberal Mike Bossio (43 %) win this nail-biter by 373 votes.
Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry stays Conservative: Conservative Guy Lauzon can do no wrong, winning 51 % of the votes and leading by 6,591 votes, he was easily re-elected. Liberal Bernadette Clement came second with 38 % of votes.
Northumberland-Peterborough South picks Liberal: In this new riding, Liberal Kim Rudd won 43 % of votes to Conservative Adam Moulton’s 40 %.
Bay of Quinte picks Liberal: In this new riding where some thought the criticism of the provincial Liberal green energy plan would spill over into federal politics, there was a big surprise. Liberal candidate Neil Ellis won easily with 51 % of votes. Second was Conservative Jodie Jenkins with 34 %.
Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock picks Conservative: In this new riding, Conservative Jamie Schmale won 45 % of votes. Second was Liberal David Marquis with 32 5.
Peterbough-Kawartha goes Liberal: Liberal Maryam Monsef took 43.1 % of the vote, winning it was the Conservative riding of Dean Del Mastro, who was convicted of three counts of breaking the elections acts, including exceeding the election spending limit. Conservative Michael Skinner finished second with 35.2 %.
RURAL WESTERN AND SOUTHERN ONTARIO
Lambton-Kent-Middlesex stays Conservative: Voters love Conservative Bev Shipley re-elected with 50 % of votes. Second best was Liberal Ken Filson with 30 %.
Essex goes NDP: NDP Tracey Ramsey wins a surprising upset victory with 41 % of votes and 3,478 votes more than incumbent Conservative Jeff Waston.
Wellington-Halton Hills stays Conserative: Conservative incumbent Michael Chong won easily with 51 % of the vote. Second best was Liberal Don Trant who won 37 %.