This largely rural southwestern riding is located just north of London,
and has some of the most productive farm land in the province.
The riding runs from Komoka in the south to beyond Listowel in the
north. The main centre is the city of Stratford, a tourist destination
for its world-famous Shakespearean theatre festival.
Despite the rich farm land, the major source of employment is in the
manufacturing industry, with the auto parts industry concentrated in
Stratford and St. Marys.
As a result of the 1999 redistribution, the new Perth-Middlesex riding
added more than 25 per cent of Middlesex to the whole of the former
The old riding of Perth elected Liberal W.A. Dickson in 1934, 1937 and
1943. Tory Fred Edwards, who was defeated in 1943, won a string of elections
beginning in 1945 and ending with a loss to Liberal Hugh Edighoffer
in 1967. Edighoffer represented the riding until 1990, when NDP candidate
Karen Haslam was elected. Haslam resigned from the cabinet of then-premier
Bob Rae in 1993 to protest the government's so-called "social contract"
program of spending cuts. In 1995, she was defeated by Tory Bert Johnson.
In the old riding of Middlesex, Conservative Bob Eaton won the seat
in 1975, 1977 and 1981. Liberal Doug Reycraft was victorious in 1985
and 1987, but lost to the NDP's Irene Mathyssen in 1990 by just 520
votes. In 1995, the seat went to PC candidate Bruce Smith.