Five Ontario ridings will be heading to the polls on Thursday, in an early test for Premier Kathleen Wynne's Liberal government.
Oh what's that? You haven't been paying attention? Too busy cottaging, barbecuing and enjoying the weather to pay attention to politics? Well, we've got a handy-dandy cheat sheet for you political watchers. If you live in one of these five ridings, do a bit more research on the issues and the candidates and go out and vote on Thursday.
OK, so which five ridings are we talking about?
There are five all together. Two in Toronto (Scarborough−Guildwood and Etobicoke−Lakeshore), and the ridings of London West, Windsor−Tecumseh, Ottawa South.
So who held the ridings before?
They were all held by Liberals, a few of them by key Liberal ministers. Former finance minister Dwight Duncan held Windsor-Tecumseh, education minister Laurel Broten held Etobicoke-Lakeshore, former energy minister Chris Bentley was in London West and Dalton McGuinty held Ottawa South. Notice a pattern?
So this won't bring down the government?
Nope. If the Liberals lose all five seats they'll still have a minority government.
Phooey! So what's the big deal?
The elections are widely seen as a test for relatively new Premier Kathleen Wynne and for Conservative leader Tim Hudak. Wynne has been facing the fallout from a number of scandals including the hundreds of millions spent on a cancelled gas plant in the GTA and a long, ugly fight with teachers unions.
For Hudak, the election will be a way to see if he's on the right track, mercilessly attacking the Liberals and refusing to prop up the Liberal minority. Also, a good night for him would shut up a lot of his naysayers.
I don't live in one of these ridings... so which one(s) are the most interesting?
Probably Etobicoke-Lakeshore. You've got two former Toronto city councillors, Doug Holyday running for the Tories and Peter Milczyn running for the Liberals. Holyday is the city's deputy mayor and a close ally of Rob Ford, and Milczyn has represented parts of the riding for over a decade now. Polls have these two running neck-and-neck. A win for the Tories would provide a much-needed Toronto riding for the Tories, who have been shut out of the province's largest city.
A close second is Scarborough-Guildwood where plans to build a subway are a hot topic. That riding also has the odd spectre of Adam Giambrone, former TTC chair trying to revive his political career. Both ridings of course have the added excitement of Mayor Rob Ford going on the attack. He's been very vocal about slamming Wynne and the Liberals. "You cannot . . . reward a corrupt government. So if you say you want to go and vote Liberal, then you’re basically just giving a bank robber another gun and saying ‘Go rob another bank,’ ” the mayor said earlier. Of course this is the same Liberal government that has said it'll offer $1.4-billion for that subway that Ford wants so much.
Watching Liberal candidate and former Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation head Ken Coran run for the government that he fought with just a few months ago also has a certain amount of schadenfreude. He's fighting for the seat in London West.
What are some of the key factors?
Well, it's summer and no one is really thinking politics. So a low-voter turnout would usually be good for the incumbent, in this case the Liberals. In fact, the Opposition criticized Wynne for calling the vote in the middle of summer and near the August long weekend. Wynne has been a relatively popular premier and might still be riding the honeymoon period that most new politicians get.
In the Toronto-area ridings, the Ford brothers have been raising a lot of noise about subways and against the Liberals. So we'll see if Ford Nation can be rallied into showing up at the ballot box. There's also the fact that Hudak has been sticking to his "throw the bums out" message pretty tightly.
So who's gonna win?
What are we, fortune tellers? Pundit Eric Grenier thinks that three of the ridings are potentially very close. Scarborough-Guildwood should remain Liberal while Windsor will be painted NDP orange.
When's Election Day?
August 1st! And polls are open 9am to 9pm ET. Elections Ontario can tell you where and how to vote.
Results should be available after 10:00 pm ET unless, of course, the races are tight, then we could be in for a late night.
Earlier on HuffPost:
'Wrecking Ball' Ford
Check out <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfXPPjCMLOI" target="_blank">the soundtrack</a>. <a href="http://imgur.com/pDO1anT" target="_blank">From Imgur</a>
Drinking And Driving
We saw that, Rob. <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/bennyjohnson/let-wrecking-ball-show-you-the-true-beauty-of-rob-ford" target="_blank">From Buzzfeed</a>
Ford blows us a kiss. <a href="http://twitchy.com/2013/11/08/the-gif-that-keeps-on-gifing-15-hilarious-must-see-rob-ford-moments/" target="_blank">From Twitchy</a>
Ford vs. Hulk Hogan
We still can't believe he won, either. <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/bennyjohnson/let-wrecking-ball-show-you-the-true-beauty-of-rob-ford" target="_blank">From Buzzfeed</a>
<a href="http://o.canada.com/news/rob-ford-toronto-summer-of-ford/" target="_blank">Best summer ever</a>. <a href="http://i.imgur.com/AiflEHJ.gif" target="_blank">From Imgur</a>
He's got the moves like Jagger.. He's got the moves like Jagger. <a href="http://www.postcity.com/Eat-Shop-Do/Do/November-2012/In-tribute-of-GIF-being-the-word-of-the-year-heres-our-favourite-Toronto-GIFs/" target="_blank">From PostCity</a>
Invisible defenders take down the mayor with an invisible tackle.
Foiled By The Jedi
<a href="http://i.imgur.com/JrKal.gif" target="_blank">From Imgur</a>
Falling Off The Scale
Did we mention this <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/12/12/rob-ford-ballet-nutcracker-toronto_n_1143708.html" target="_blank">man once performed in a ballet</a>? From <a href="http://robfordfalls.tumblr.com/">Rob Ford Falls Tumblr</a>
That's one way to deal with reporters. <a href="http://fordfortoronto.mattelliott.ca/misc/ford-ani/all-ani.html">From Ford For Toronto by Matt Elliott</a>
Muhahahahaha <a href="http://fordfortoronto.mattelliott.ca/misc/ford-ani/all-ani.html">From Ford For Toronto by Matt Elliott</a>
Maniacal Laugh II
Muhahahahahahahahahahaha <a href="http://fordfortoronto.mattelliott.ca/misc/ford-ani/all-ani.html">From Ford For Toronto by Matt Elliott</a>
Robbie Boo Boo
<a href="http://www.cbc.ca/22minutes/videos/clips---season-20/robbie-boo-boo.html" target="_blank">"22 Minutes" strikes again</a>. From <a href="http://thishourhas22minutes.tumblr.com/post/34114355293/22-minutes-discovers-mayor-rob-fords-new-honey">This Hour Has 22 Minutes</a>
Who needs words when you can just <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/04/02/rob-ford-vomit-noise-video_n_3001086.html" target="_blank">pretend to vomit</a>? <a href="http://imgur.com/gwV7q2h" target="_blank">From Imgur</a>
Time For His Close-Up
Rob Ford proves you can run <em>from</em> the media, you can run <em>into</em> the media, and sometimes, you can do both at the same time. <a href="http://imgur.com/r/funny/nATPNJb" target="_blank">GIF from Imgur</a>
Bonus image. Want. <a href="http://imgur.com/xtxz2" target="_blank">Thank you Imgur</a>
NEXT: The Many Faces Of Ford
Toronto Rob Ford, right, gestures to Councillor Paul Ainslee in the council chamber as councillors look to pass motions to limit his powers in Toronto on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013. Blasting what he called a "coup d'etat," Ford said voters should be able to pass judgment on him, not his fellow councillors.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (centre) dances with participants ahead of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival in Toronto on Saturday July 30, 2011.
Toronto City Mayor Rob Ford, left, celebrates after defeating wrestler Hulk Hogan in an arm-wrestling match to promote Fan Expo in Toronto on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 .
Twenty-two month-old Micah MacMilan reacts as he is picked up by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford while Ford was signing bobblehead dolls in his likeness at City Hall in Toronto on Tuesday November 12, 2013.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford holds up a replica Grey Cup as he attends the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats CFL Eastern Conference final football game in Toronto on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford laughs with fans as he attends the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats CFL Eastern Conference final football game in Toronto on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. Ford showed up at Sunday's Canadian Football League playoff game, despite a request by the league's commissioner that he stay away.
Canadian recording artist Drake, left, and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford laugh at a news conference announcing that Toronto will host the 2016 NBA All-Star game, in Toronto, Monday, Sept. 30, 2013.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford displays a milk moustache as he takes part in voting with city council members in Toronto on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford watches from the sidelines near the Argos bench during a CFL football game between the Toronto Argonauts and Calgary Stampeders in Calgary on Saturday, August 18, 2012.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford poses for photographs inside a giant shark mouth while attending the grand opening of the Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. After two years of construction, delays and (Canadian) $130 million in costs, Ripley's Aquarium of Canada opened to the public Wednesday.
City of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford poses for a photo opportunity with other dignitaries in a shark's jaws at the opening of Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in Toronto on Wednesday, October 16, 2013.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is hoisted into the air by his Don Bosco Eagles team after winning the Metro Bowl quarter-final at Birchmount Park in Toronto, Thursday Nov. 15, 2012. A civil trial hearing in which the mayor is accused of libel against a restaurant owner went on without him.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (center) smiles as he officially opens the refurbished Sunnydale rink with Toronto Maple Leafs' coach Ron Wilson (right) and other dignitaries who were on hand as well as the Toronto Maple Leafs who practiced on the outdoor rink in Toronto on Wednesday, January 4, 2012.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford grabs the Grey Cup by the handles during a parade celebrating the Toronto Argonauts victory in the Grey Cup final in Toronto on Tuesday November 27, 2012 .
Rob Ford Meets Butter Rob Ford
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/31/rob-ford-butter-sculpture-ex-cne_n_1846616.html" target="_hplink">Toronto Mayor Rob Ford comes face to face with a butter sculpture of himself at the Canadian National Exhibition</a>.
Butter Rob Ford
As part of an exhibition at the CNE, Toronto-based artist Olenka Kleban has made a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/24/butter-rob-ford-sculpture_n_1828527.html" target="_hplink">butter sculpture of Toronto's mayor</a>.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford hoists the Grey Cup on stage with Toronto Argonauts players while celebrating the team's Grey Cup victory in downtown Toronto on Tuesday, Nov.27, 2012.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford stands at the door to his office as he waits for an elevator in Toronto on Thursday November 14, 2013.
Mayor Rob Ford speaks at city council in Toronto on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013.
Nov. 13 2013. Toronto mayor Rob Ford during the afternoon session as councillors continued to debate a motion asking mayor Rob Ford to apologize to Torontonians for misleading therm about his use of crack cocaine.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks to his Don Bosco Eagles team during the Metro Bowl quarter-final at Birchmount Park in Toronto, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012.
In this Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 file photo, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford holds a bobblehead doll depicting him at Toronto City Hall. An electoral map of the 2010 mayoral election shows that Ford's voter base resides mainly in a more conservative constituency than the downtown electorate.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (left) and city councillor Michelle Berardinetti (right) smile on stage during a performance of the Nutcracker in Toronto on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit)
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford jumps on stage dressed as a Cannon Doll during a performance of the Nutcracker in Toronto on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit)
Rob Ford's ballet debut
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford acts on stage dressed as a Cannon Doll during a performance of the Nutcracker in Toronto on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit)
City of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford addresses the media outside office in Toronto on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, after the release of a video. A new video surfaced showing Ford in a rage, using threatening words including "kill" and "murder."
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford emerges from his office holding slices of a birthday cake to offer to members of the media at city hall in Toronto on Tuesday May 28, 2013.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford arrives at City Hall in Toronto amid allegations of crack cocaine use on Friday May 17, 2013, in Toronto. Published reports say a video appears to show Ford smoking crack cocaine. Ford called the allegations ridiculous.
Toronto City Mayor Rob Ford watches players from Don Bosco Eagles, the High School team he coaches, warm up before they compete against the Huron Heights Warriors in the Metro Cup in Toronto on Tuesday November 27, 2012 Those whose antics threaten to besmirch the party name normally don't get a second chance with Canada's federal Conservatives. Not so, it would seem, for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford carries the Pan American games flag in Omnilife Stadium during the closing ceremonies of the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. Toronto will host the games in 2015.
Toronto City Mayor Rob Ford reacts after Don Bosco Eagles, the High School team he coaches, lost 28-14 to Huron Heights Warriors in the Metro Cup in Toronto on Tuesday November 27, 2012.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford talks to a staff member at city hall in Toronto on Wednesday November 6, 2013.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford addresses reporters at City Hall in Toronto on Tuesday November 27, 2012.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford briefly takes the stage to greet the crowd as part of the New Years Eve celebrations at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto on Monday, December 31, 2012.