London·Analysis

3 London ridings to watch in the 2018 Ontario election

While the leaders and candidates of Ontario's political parties began campaigning weeks ago, the provincial election officially begins today when Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell signs the election writs. Here are three London ridings to watch.

London West, London North Centre and London-Fanshawe are shaping up to be interesting contests

While Ontario's three main party leaders may have been campaigning for weeks, the official start gets off on Wednesday. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

While the leaders and candidates of Ontario's political parties began campaigning weeks ago, the provincial election officially begins today when Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell signs the election writs. 

Here are three London ridings to watch once the official race begins:

One to remember in London West

NDP MPP Peggy Sattler currently holds the riding of London West. (Peggy Sattler)

It might be one to remember in London West.

In one corner is the colourful and controversial former media personality-turned politico Andrew Lawton. In the other is long time school board trustee and chair Peggy Sattler. 
Progressive Conservative candidate Andrew Lawton holds up a political pamphlet as he canvasses a neighbourhood in the London West riding. (Andrew Lawton/Twitter)

Lawton is Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford's controversial pick to win London West, an appointment that rubbed some local party loyalists the wrong way.

Recent headlines about Lawton's past remarks about women, Islam and the LGBTQ community have also ruffled a few feathers. Lawton asked voters for their "compassion and trust," for his antagonizing words from the past, which he blames on his struggle with mental illness. 
Jonathan Hughes gets the Liberal nod as the party's candidate in London West. (Ontario Liberal Party)

Lawton must unseat New Democrat incumbent Peggy Sattler and while she's only held the riding since 2013, she brings with her 13 years experience campaigning and community organizing as a local trustee and former chair of the Thames Valley District School Board. 

Meanwhile, the Liberals have an uphill battle on their hands. While they do enjoy strong support in this riding, first-time candidate for the party Jonathan Hughes likely faces a tough fight against his two better-known rivals. 

QUICK FACTS ON LONDON WEST:

2016 census population: 126,110 

Number of people who voted in 2014: 52,046

Top industries where people work:

  • Healthcare and social assistance
  • Retail 
  • Manufacturing
  • Professional and scientific services

Wide open race in London North Centre

Liberal candidate Kate Graham might have a PhD in political science and 10 years working as a city hall insider, but this is her first high profile political fight. (Kate Graham/votekate.ca)
This riding has been solidly Liberal red since 2003 and with the retirement of political heavyweight Deb Matthews – it's anyone's game. 
Progressive Conservative Susan Truppe is vying for the seat in the riding of London North Centre. (Susan Truppe/Twitter)
Filling Matthews' political shoes is Liberal Kate Graham, a city hall bureaucrat with 10 years in local government and a PhD in political science. This is Graham's first time in the political ring and her highest profile rival in what could be a wide open race is a woman who already has some experience in the political arena. 
Terence Kernaghan, Ontario NDP Candidate in London North Centre says he is an equity and social justice advocate. (Terence Kernaghan/Twitter)

Progressive Conservative candidate Susan Truppe was a one-term parliamentarian, winning the riding in the 2011 federal election against then Liberal incumbent Glen Pearson before being unseated in the 2015 federal race that saw Justin Trudeau's Liberals form a majority. 

With two politically formidable women to contend with, London teacher and union steward Terence Kernaghan likely has a tough fight on his hands as the New Democrat candidate in the riding, which has never elected an NDP candidate in its entire 67 year history. 

QUICK FACTS ABOUT LONDON NORTH CENTRE

2016 census population: 125,362

Number of people who voted in 2014: 45,746

Top industries where people work:

  • Healthcare and social assistance
  • Educational services
  • Retail 
  • Manufacturing
  • Accommodation and food services

The incumbent versus the insider in London-Fanshawe

Lawvin Hadisi is a Liberal party insider who was elected as the candidate for London Fanshawe on Saturday. (Lawvin Hadisi/Twitter)
London-Fanshawe has been NDP orange since 2011, when New Democrat Theresa Armstrong unseated Liberal Khalil Ramal.
Teresa Armstrong is the incumbent New Democrat candidate in London-Fanshawe. (Ontario NDP)
Armstrong has held fast in her riding, defeating her nearest rival Progressive Conservative Chris Robson in 2014 by nearly 10,000 votes. Now she looks to do it again in 2018, except this time she's up against some brand new challengers.
Eric Weniger shaking PC leader Doug Ford's hand. (Eric Weniger/Facebook)

They include Liberal insider and London-born Lawvin Hadisi.

Hadisi worked for the minister responsible for early years and child care before she served as a communications advisor and press secretary to the president of the Ontario Treasury Board.

The Western-educated Hadisi, whose parents once owned a business at Argyle Mall, is a late addition to the race. She won her party's nomination on Saturday. 

Rounding out the big three parties is insurance man and and Halifax-educated Eric Weniger, who is running as the Progressive Conservative candidate. 

QUICK FACTS ABOUT LONDON-FANSHAWE

2016 census population: 119,467

Number of people who voted in 2014: 40,324

Top industries where people work:

  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Healthcare and social assistance
  • Accommodation and food services

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Colin Butler

Video Journalist

Colin Butler is a veteran CBC reporter who's worked in Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and London, Ont. Email: colin.butler@cbc.ca

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