October By-Elections: Toronto Centre and York Centre

October By-Elections: Toronto Centre and York Centre

Voters in Canada’s largest city elected two new Liberal Members of Parliament on Oct. 26, replacing former finance minister Bill Morneau in Toronto Centre and former Liberal MP Michael Levitt in York Centre.

By Andrew Thomson | Updated October 27, 2020 10:10amET



 

TORONTO CENTRE

When Bill Morneau announced his resignation as finance minister in mid-August, he also signalled plans to step down as the MP for Toronto Centre — Canada’s smallest and most densely-populated federal riding.

Toronto Centre’s 5.8 square kilometres stretch east from Yonge Street and the Financial District to the Don River, taking in landmarks like the Eaton Centre, Yonge-Dundas Square, Massey Hall, Ryerson University, and the St. Lawrence Market. Voters live in high-rise condo developments and apartment buildings, in the Victorian row houses of Cabbagetown, and in the social housing of Regent Park.

The Liberals have appointed CTV News journalist Marci Ien as the party’s candidate to replace Morneau.

Brian Chang, a labour union official and performing artist, is again running for the NDP.

Benjamin Sharma, who ran in the 2014 Trinity–Spadina by-election just west of Toronto Centre, is the Conservative candidate.

Six other candidates are also running, including new Green Leader Annamie Paul, who was also on the ballot in 2019.

But Paul is calling for both by-elections to be postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The prime minister, though, said Oct. 9 that voters deserve to have representation in the House of Commons, that it remains important for democratic institutions to continue functioning during the pandemic, and that holding the elections closer to February’s legal deadline would be a risk if COVID-19 becomes more severe.


VOTE 2019

  • Bill Morneau (Liberal) won with 57.4% support — and a 35.1% margin of victory over NDP runner-up Brian Chang.
  • Toronto Centre was the 61st closest race out of all 338 ridings.
  • Voter turnout was 66.1%.

Liberal and Conservative support changed little between 2015 and 2019. The NDP fell 4.3% — and the Greens rose by 4.5%:


TORONTO CENTRE BY THE NUMBERS (CENSUS 2016)

POPULATION

  • 103,805 people in 2016: a change of 10.5% from 2011.
  • 82.5% are Canadian citizens, 40.1% are immigrants, 1.5% indicated Aboriginal identity, and 49.7% are visible minorities.
  • 48% are 1st generation Canadians, 24.5% are 2nd generation, and 27.6% are 3rd generation and older.
  • The average age is 39.1, with 8.1% age 14 and under and 10.4% 65 and older.

HOUSING

  • The average home value in 2016 was $571,272.
  • Renters paid an average of $1214 per month, with 24.9% in subsidized housing.
  • 0.4% of dwellings are single-detached houses; 42.5% are condos.
  • 13.2% of all homes were built between 2011 and 2016.

INCOME

  • Median total income in 2015 was $30,987.
  • 31.2% of people were classified as low-income (after tax) — 45.2% of children and 31.2% of seniors.

IDENTITY

  • Top reported ethnic origins are English: 15625 / Canadian: 13595 / Irish: 13365 / Scottish: 12545 / Chinese: 12410

IMMIGRATION

  • Philippines, China, Asia-Other, India, United Kingdom are the top birth origins for immigrants.
  • India is the top origin for recent immigrants (2011 to 2016).

LANGUAGE

  • Mandarin, Spanish, Tagalog (Pilipino, Filipino), Cantonese, and Hindi are the most common non-official languages.
  • Official Mother Tongues: 54.98% English / 2.7% French

EDUCATION

  • 8.9% have no degree, diploma, or certificate.
  • 50% have a university bachelor’s degree or above.

 

YORK CENTRE 

After winning two straight elections for the Liberals, and chairing the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Michael Levitt announced his resignation in early August to become president and CEO of the Canadian Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre for Holocaust Studies.

York Centre has a diverse population — including large Filipino and Jewish communities — and diverse income levels. Bordered by Steeles Avenue to the north and Highway 401 to the south, the riding includes the North York neighbourhoods of Downsview and Wilson Heights.

Ya’ara Saks, a business owner and head of a charitable organization, is running for the Liberals.

Julius Tiangson, a businessman, community volunteer, and 2015 candidate in Mississauga Centre, is the Conservative hopeful.

Andrea Vásquez Jiménez is again running for the NDP, which placed a distant third in last year’s election.

Sasha Zavarella is the Green candidate.

Meanwhile, People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier is running here; his fledgling party had no York Centre candidate in 2019, when Bernier lost his own seat in Beauce, Que.

Rounding out the ballot is perennial independent candidate John “The Engineer” Turmel.


YORK CENTRE IN 2019

  • Michael Levitt (Liberal) won with 50.2% support — and a 13.5% margin of victory over Conservative runner-up Rachel Willson.
  • York Centre was the 210th closest race out of all 338 ridings.
  • Voter turnout was 61.7%.

The Liberals gained more than three-per-cent support from 2015, while the Conservatives dropped nearly 7%:

CPAC’s Laura DiBattista reported from York Centre during the 2019 campaign:


YORK CENTRE IN NUMBERS (CENSUS 2016):

POPULATION

  • 104,319 people in 2016: a change of 4% from 2011.
  • 81.4% are Canadian citizens, 56.3% are immigrants, 0.5% indicated Aboriginal identity, and 46.5% are visible minorities.
  • 59.6% are 1st generation Canadians. 27.3% are 2nd generation. 13.1% are 3rd generation and older.
  • The average age is 41.4, with 15.1% age 14 and under and 17% 65 and older.

HOUSING

  • The average home value in 2016 was $705,364.
  • Renters paid an average of $1177 per month, with 11.8% in subsidized housing.
  • 25.6% of dwellings are single-detached houses; 20.7% are condos.
  • 6.3% of all homes were built between 2011 and 2016.

INCOME

  • Median total income in 2015 was $26,937.
  • 18.9% of people were classified as low-income (after tax) — 23% of children and 20.4% of seniors.

IDENTITY

  • Top reported ethnic origins are Filipino: 17670 / Italian: 13880 / Russian: 9815 / Canadian: 8890 / Polish: 7135

IMMIGRATION

  • Philippines, Italy, Asia-Other, Russia, Americas-Other are the top birth origins for immigrants.
  • Philippines is the top origin for recent immigrants (2011 to 2016).

LANGUAGE

  • Tagalog (Pilipino, Filipino), Russian, Italian, Spanish, and Hebrew are the most common non-official languages.
  • Official Mother Tongues: 41.2% English / 0.81% French

EDUCATION:

  • 18.7% have no degree, diploma, or certificate.
  • 29.9% have a university bachelor’s degree or above.