Ontario’s political landscape could change after long-serving Progressive Conservative (PC) MPP Elizabeth Witmer resigned her Kitchener-Waterloo seat April 27. As a result, a by-election has to take place in the riding within six months.
If the Ontario Liberals win the seat, it would give the McGuinty minority government a de facto majority. They would occupy 54 out of 107 seats in the Ontario Legislature including Speaker Dave Levac who, normally a non-voting member, would side with the government to break the tie.
Ms. Witmer had held the riding since 1990 and served as both the Minister of Health and Labour in previous PC governments. Her resignation comes after accepting the Liberal appointment to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), a position that comes with a pay increase and increased responsibility.
According to a May 3 Forum Research poll, if the by-election were held today, 39% of voters would cast their ballot for the Liberals, 32% for Progressive Conservatives and 20% for the New Democratic Party of Ontario. None of the nominations have been announced yet.