Elections Canada has released its transposition of the 2000 election results to the new boundaries. (I will be using soon them to update my forecast model.)
A glance at the results in the new riding of Niagara West-Glamorgan tells us the Liberals would have only won it by 3% over the Alliance with the PC's picking up 12%. It will clearly be a target this year and in the future for the C.P.C.
It is no surprise then that Toni Valeri wants to run in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek. About half the population of his old riding of Stoney Creek falls within the new riding. And because he is part of the Martin team, many local interests in the riding are gravitating his way.
The following excerpt is from the Globe's story on January 17 about the fight:
" "Union leader Joseph Mancinelli prefers to view it as a changing of the guard.
Mr. Mancinelli, president of the 3,000-strong local of the Laborers' International Union of North America, was a Copps supporter in the past, but is backing Mr. Valeri now.
He says Ms. Copps was a politician for a different time. The city needs to develop its inner core.
“Tony Valeri, like Paul Martin, understands these issues,” Mr. Mancinelli said. “Sheila, on the other hand — even though she's been a very loud and effective voice in Canadian politics — is not part of that team. She's not part of the Martin team and does not share in those same philosophies.” "
Valeri's strength comes from the fact that he is in cabinet, making Martin's claim that this is just a local riding fight disingenuous. Copps' public appeal for support made it clear she is dealing from a position of weakness in the on the ground membership battle. But it is one of the few resources she can bring to the bear. And Ms. Copps has the ability to exploit a narrative like this for its public relations value, very effectively.
Her problem is that the Martin strategy of looking for small 'c' conservative votes means he is note likely to see it as in his interest to be seen to be offering her a lifeline. She is no favourite of more conservatively-inclined Canadians.