Vote results means Toronto won't have seat in cabinet

Final results show the Conservatives under Stephen Harper made significant gains in the GTA in Tuesday's election, but failed to crack the Liberal stronghold in the city of Toronto.

Final results show the Conservatives under Stephen Harper made significant gains in the GTA in Tuesday's election, but failed to crack the Liberal stronghold in the city of Toronto.

By Wednesday morning all the votes had been counted in the close ridings and the final numbers had emerged: Liberals 32, Conservatives 10 and NDP two.

For the Conservatives it means they doubled their seats from 2006 — going from five to 10.  But all of the Tory wins were in the so-called 905 region, the ridings that surround the country's biggest city.

The electoral map has Toronto coloured Liberal red, with two slashes of NDP orange, surrounded by Conservative blue.

It also means Canada's largest city will not have a minister in the new Conservative cabinet. 

"I think the Conservatives wound up doing a little better than the polls suggested they would, in terms of popular vote," said Robert Drummond, a professor of political science at York University.  

But it also points something else, said Drummond. 

"This is a city [Toronto] that hasn't been very supportive of the Conservatives for the past little while.… I'm guessing that inside Toronto there isn't very much sympathy for them," he said.

Toronto Mayor David Miller told reporters that if the prime minister wants to invest in the economy, then he should start by investing in cities.

Miller got involved in the campaign in a minor way, pushing his pet issue of a ban on handguns and exhorting people to vote based on urban issues.

But the election of another Conservative minority had Miller trying to put the best spin on the outcome.

"It's obviously hard to read," he said. "But we've done quite well in the past two minority Parliaments and I think there's some reasons — if the opposition parties live up to their mandates — some reasons to believe we can do well in this one."

But Drummond said with no voice in government, Toronto's priorities such as public transit, affordable housing and infrastructure renewal won't get much attention with the Conservatives.

"I don't think the cities will have the same weight with this government as they would have had with the Liberals," he said. 

Toronto-Centre Liberal MP Bob Rae admitted the result was disappointing. "I think it was a less than ringing endorsement for just about everybody," said Rae.

For the NDP there was little joy in the GTA vote.  The party started the campaign with three seats and ended with just two.

Party leader Jack Layton and his wife Olivia Chow were re-elected, but the hope of holding on to Parkdale-High Park, or resurrecting the old NDP bastion of Beaches-East York, were dashed. In both ridings capturing the Green vote would have won the ridings for the NDP.

But in the wake of the election, won by the Tories with 143 seats, followed by the Liberals with 76, 50 for the Bloc Québécois and 37 for the NDP with two Independents, political analysts are certain to spend much time over the next few weeks trying to figure out the future leadership of the Liberals.

Stéphane Dion said Tuesday night he has no intention of stepping down, but his new caucus will be overflowing with old leadership rivals: Rae, Michael Ignatieff, Ken Dryden, Martha Hall Findlay, Joe Volpe and Gerard Kennedy.

But less than 24 hours after the vote, the former leadership candidates were supporting Dion.

"There's no question that this result is disappointing. There's no hiding it and I want to be one of the people that helps the party rebuild," Ignatieff said.

"But we have a leader, so the leadership issue isn't open and I'm not going to discuss it."