Volume 91, Issue 42

Wednesday, November 12, 1997

Downey fresh


Noooooobody beats Lastman

By Brendan Howe
Gazette Staff

Western students hit the polls Monday night all across Ontario to vote for candidates in their hometown – including the race for megacity mayor in Toronto.

Political Science professor Ross Gibbons said a number of his students told him they had gone back to Toronto and elsewhere to vote in their hometowns instead of voting in London.

Students are only in London for three or four years while at Western and they may not feel they have much stake in the city, he said. Many issues the city faces develop over a number of years so students do not see everything the city has gone through before they arrive.

Those going to university in London but whose hometown was elsewhere in the province had the choice of voting in either place of residence. Students who chose to vote in Toronto participated as part of the largest constituency any politician has ever had in Canada, said University of Toronto political science professor Nelson Wiseman.

He said since the amalgamation of all parts of Metropolitan Toronto into one megacity, the voter base for municipal elections is bigger than it has ever been in history. This means Toronto's new Mayor Mel Lastman has quite a large number of people supporting him.

"There's never been an election in Canada where a candidate has gotten that many votes, Wiseman said.

Lastman defeated former city of Toronto Mayor Barbara Hall by just over five per cent after receiving 387,175 votes to her 346,105. Of Torontonians eligible to vote, 47.9 per cent did so.

Gibbons said it would have been surprising if Hall had defeated Lastman. He described Toronto's new mayor as a definite supporter of development of the new megacity.

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Copyright The Gazette 1997