Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas: NDP win not a guarantee due to conflicted voters, experts say
What voters in Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas need to know for Thursday's Ontario election
This is the fifth and final Hamilton riding profile ahead of the provincial election on June 2. Read all of CBC Hamilton's election coverage here.
An incumbent, a university professor and the vice-chair of Hamilton's police board are among those fighting to be MPP for Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas.
It's a long-time Liberal riding that turned orange last provincial election and while pundits say it's likely to stay an NDP riding, it's not a guarantee.
Here's a profile of the riding:
Sandy Shaw (NDP) — incumbent
Shubha Sandill (Liberals)
Fred Bennink (Progressive Conservatives)
Syam Chandra (Green Party)
Lee Weiss (New Blue Ontario)
Frank Thiessen (Ontario Party)
The riding's boundaries run just north of Governors Road and along the Niagara Escarpment, Highway 403, Garth Street and West 5th Street.
It also runs along Highway 52 and just south of Garner Road.
McMaster University and Cootes Paradise are within the riding's boundaries. The riding spans 105 kilometres.
Shaw, of the NDP, unseated long-time Liberal incumbent Ted McMeekin in 2018 by just over 6,700 votes. McMeekin was MPP of the former ridings Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale and Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot.
Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas had 89,782 eligible voters in 2018 according to Elections Ontario data. Of those, some 62 per cent voted.
According to the 2016 census, the average size of a family in the riding is between two and three people. Nearly half of the people living in the riding are married and the median age is 43.
Most listed English as their mother tongue, but there were also thousands of Arabic, German and Mandarin speakers too.
What to watch
Experts say the NDP are likely to keep the seat, but it's not necessarily a lock.
Wayne Petrozzi, a professor emeritus in the department of politics and public administration at Toronto Metropolitan University, said voters impressed by the Green party's performance this election could offer the PCs an advantage.
"They'll leak votes from the NDP," Petrozzi said.
Then there's the Liberal party, which held the former riding for years before Shaw was elected.
While it could pose problems for Shaw, Graefe said provincial Liberal campaigns have been weak compared to the recent federal campaigns.
"You would've thought they'd say … 'Sandy Shaw is in a riding which we dominated federally, let's put in a real campaign but I'm just not seeing that,'" he said.
What have voters told us?
Readers from this riding who responded to CBC Hamilton's election survey said their top concerns were affordability, housing, healthcare and the environment.
"We need to make the climate emergency front and centre, as it overrides all other concerns in the long run," wrote one respondent.
Another person wrote: "People can't even survive in the rental market."
About the candidates
Sandy Shaw — NDP
The NDP's Sandy Shaw is the incumbent for Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas after being elected in 2018.
She was the party's critic for Environment, Conservation and Parks.
She was also previously the Finance and Treasury Board critic.
Shubha Sandill — Liberal
Shubha Sandill is a York University professor in the faculty of liberal arts and professional studies.
Sandill was also the vice president of fundraising for MP Filomena Tassi and McMeekin.
Fred Bennink — PC
Fred Bennink is the Hamilton police board vice-chair.
Bennink was also the owner and president of Zip Signs in Burlington for 35 years.
Syam Chandra is running for the Greens. He has worked in the education sector, was the Hamilton Car Share Coop director and has taken part in activism for the environment and homelessness.
Lee Weiss is running for New Blue Ontario. Weiss' Facebook states she is a manager of rail corridor planning at Metrolinx and was the former manager of the Metrolinx team responsible for Hamilton's Light Rail Transit (LRT).
Frank Thiessen is running for the Ontario Party. His section on his party's website states he was a former pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force.