Canada: Election 1980

A telltale watch on tight ridings

Susan Riley February 18 1980
Canada: Election 1980

A telltale watch on tight ridings

Susan Riley February 18 1980

A telltale watch on tight ridings

Susan Riley

Election '80 may not have the compressed excitement and the tantalizing promise of violence in a good hockey playoff but, on the other hand, what else is happening mid-February? And while it is true that the decisive battles will be fought in Toronto and southern Ontario, there are tight races in many of the 282 ridings across the country. Some places and players to watch election night:

1 Saint John: Former city police chief Eric Ferguson, 49, is another Tory holding on by a small margin (673 votes) in the face of a determined push by former Liberal MP Mike Landers, a 36-year-old lawyer. Despite a 21-year Tory tradition, Landers hopes to regain this riding because of anti-Clark feeling.

2 South West Nova: Like reruns of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, this riding keeps going back and forth between the present incumbent, Charles Haliburton, a 41-year-old Tory lawyer, and his fellow lawyer and former date, Coline Campbell, the Liberal candidate and former MP. Haliburton won the seat

by only 109 votes in May, and this rerun is simply too close to call.

3 Missisquoi:Theexcitable,irrepressible Heward Grafftey, minister of state for science and technology and one of three Tory MPs in Quebec, may drown in the prophesied pro-Liberal wave Feb. 18 after 16 years of successfully treading water. He is facing local Liberal lawyer André Bachand, who says Grafftey is a “monument,” so he’s campaigning against Joe Clark.

4 Ottawa Centre: Will the Tories’ favorite Cookie Monster, Jean Pigott, snatch this seat from dashing Liberal economist John Evans? Not likely. Although Pigott—whose office cookie jar became famous during her six months in Joe Clark’s office—is running harder than the riding’s previous Tory casualty, Senator Bob de Cotret, and, although she is better known and better liked, Ottawa tends to vote with the party in power. And this time, Ottawa smells Tory blood.

5 Hamilton Mountain: The New Democrats are counting on curly-headed Ian Deans, a former firefighter and MPP, to crack the Hamilton area for the party. Although Deans is warmly regarded in the streets, he first has to beat Tory incumbent Duncan Beattie and the former Liberal MP, the portly and popular Gus MacFarlane.

6 Rosedale: Social worker Anne Cools, 36, a devout Liberal, sometimes stuns interviewers with her blind, untrammelled optimism. But she could have the last laugh Feb. 18 if she defeats ailing Tory Health Minister David Crombie, still recovering from a heart attack. Only risk-takers are betting on Cools— who hopes to pull out Liberal votes in the poorer parts of the riding—but one

senior Tory concedes: “If Toronto decides to go Liberal, no one is safe.” 7 Scarborough West: All three major candidates in this long-established suburban riding can claim parliamentary

experience: the present MP, Tory Bill Wightman; former Liberal MP David Weatherhead; and former NDP member John Harney. While most Toronto ridings are a Tory-Liberal saw-off, this one is a three-way race. Oddly, incumbent Wightman may be in the worst position: since 1968 no incumbent here has been returned to Ottawa.

8 Sarnia: Tory William Campbell, 50, was swept into office last May on an anti-Trudeau tide despite Sarnia’s Liberal tradition. That tide may be reced-


Next week's issue of Maclean’s will bring readers detailed coverage and analysis of the federal election results. To do so the presses will be held from the normal Sunday deadline until Tuesday, the day following the election, and there will be a two-day delay in delivery to subscribers and newsstands.

ing now, taking Campbell and many other southern Ontario Tories with it. Meanwhile former Liberal cabinet minister Bud Cullen is standing by, waiting to move back into his old seat.

9 Nickel Belt: Some organizers call this “a nasty little fight,” one that pits NDP veteran MP John Rodriguez against Liberal Judy Eróla, a 46-year-old media salesperson. Eróla is hinting that Rodriguez—one of the most articulate voices in the left of his caucus—is a radical Marxist, and is promising the Liberal party would have more influence with huge mining companies in the area. With some local polls showing the Liberals winning, the NDP is hoping its support among mineworkers holds.

10 Selkirk-lnterlake: The Tories are running one of their “brightest new faces” in this sprawling riding: Jon Johnson, 27, a six-foot-five marathon runner who has been working on a PhD from the London School of Economics while serving as an executive assistant in Ottawa. Johnson’s Icelandic roots run deep in the riding where his father was once a provincial cabinet minister. He is taking on NDP incumbent Terry Sargeant, the party’s defence critic, who won by only 656 votes last time.

11 Dauphin: In a rare case of incumbentricide, local Tories ousted their veteran MP, Dr. Gordon Ritchie, last month and replaced him with local dentist Orville Heschuk. But the NDP is hoping its man, Laverne Lewycky, who lost by only 469 votes last time, will finish off the Tories for good. Lewycky, 34, is executive assistant to Manitoba NDP leader Howard Pawley.

12 Regina East: Former Liberal cabinet minister Otto Lang’s big-spending brother-in-law, Tony Merchant, is apparently toning down his campaign this year in an attempt to knock off Simon de Jong, the quiet-spoken New Democrat who won the riding last time in a tight, three-way race. But Tory lawyer Brian Kepie is also very much in the running. While de Jong has been a diligent MP, and has the advantage of being the incumbent, his election in this volatile area was considered an aberration. Another aberration—noneof the three is claiming victory.

13 Prince Albert: Tory organizers hope the brooding ghost of John Diefenbaker will scare the estimated 6,000 Tories who didn’t vote in the Nov. 19 byelection into action this time. If 41-year-old Tory lawyer Kris Eggum wins back

Dief’s seat, it will mean the NDP incumbent, Stan Hovdebo, a school administrator who was sworn in Dec. 3, will have sat as an MP all of 11 days.

14 Kootenay East-Revelstoke: The NDP was supposed to win this riding last May but Tory Stan Graham, known locally for getting the name of Mount Eisenhower changed back to Castle Mountain, foiled their plans. This time NDP candidate Sid Parker, 48, former mayor of Revelstoke, is hoping to close the 1,616-vote shortfall by wooing disappointed Tories. He is also hoping a Liberal resurgence will drain Tory support, while NDP voters stay faithful—a scenario the party hopes to see repeated across the West.

15 Burnaby: NDP incumbent Svend Robinson, one of Parliament’s youngest (28) and most energetic members, is casting nervous backward glances at Liberal Doreen Lawson, a popular local alderman—and wife of Senator Ed Lawson—with a good record on environmental issues. Last election Robinson edged out the Tories by 1,485 votes but this time Tory candidate Hugh Mawby has faded and the Liberals— with Trudeau-phobia on the wane in B.C.—are running a strong second.