Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday June 22, 2004
NDP tantalized by prospect of sweeping Hamilton
From his storefront campaign office on one of Hamilton’s major thoroughfares, David Christopherson surveys a landscape of orange and green signs. It’s a pleasant sight for a New Democrat who is running in a riding that for so many years has been federal Liberal turf.
Mr. Christopherson is winning the street war against Revenue Minister Stan Keyes and pundits suggest Hamilton Centre is about to fall into NDP hands.
The veteran provincial politician isn’t about to say the battle has been won, but there is a feeling here — and in the other ridings that make up this steel city — that the Liberals are on their way out.
“Signs don’t vote,” Mr. Christopherson said. “But they do show momentum in this town. People take that as an indication that . . . there are people who are not only going to vote for you, but are prepared to stand proud and help you get the message out.”
In fact, this election could be the last stand for not just one, but two Liberal cabinet ministers from Hamilton. Tony Valeri, the Transport Minister, who won a vicious battle against Sheila Copps for the nomination in Hamilton-East Stoney Creek is in one of the toughest three-way races in Ontario, and critics are giving the edge to NDP candidate Tony DePaulo.
On Hamilton Mountain, veteran Liberal Beth Phinney appears to be trailing her opponents and the NDP is hopeful of taking that riding.
And in Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, parts of the constituency are leaning toward Conservative candidate David Sweet while others seem to favour Gordon Guyatt, a New Democrat who is also an outspoken local doctor. Russ Powers, the Liberal, has a fighting chance. But it’s tight.
All of this has the NDP dreaming of the unlikely, but not unthinkable, prospect of taking Hamilton’s four seats.
“The first thing I noticed going out [to campaign]was the absolute rage that people had against the Liberals,” Mr. Christopherson said. “Every day I kept waiting for it to dissipate a little — it’s still there.” (Source: Globe & Mail)