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Cabinet ministers flock to Liberal stronghold ahead of Toronto byelection

Cabinet ministers are spending a lot of time in a key Toronto riding ahead of a byelection later this month — part of an attempt by the Liberals to hang on to a party stronghold as the Conservative Party rides high in the polls.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and at least 13 of his ministers have dropped into Toronto-St. Paul's to campaign on behalf of Liberal candidate Leslie Church, a former political staffer, ahead of the June 24 vote.

Those ministers include Greater Toronto Area representatives like Chrystia Freeland and Anita Anand, along with ministers from more far-flung ridings such as Harjit Sajjan and François-Philippe Champagne.

Toronto-St. Paul's was once considered a bellwether riding but has been a Liberal stronghold since the 1990s. Former cabinet minister (and current ambassador to Denmark) Carolyn Bennett held the riding from 1997 to 2024; she won by roughly eight percentage points in the 2011 election, when the federal Liberals were relegated to the third party in the House of Commons with just 34 seats.

Don Stewart is challenging the seat for the Conservatives. The NDP has nominated Amrit Parhar, Christian Cullis is the Green candidate and the People's Party of Canada candidate is Dennis Wilson.

Polling expert Philippe Fournier of 338Canada told CBC's last week that despite the Liberals' strong results in 2021 — when Bennett won over half of the vote — they risk losing the riding in this byelection.

«We should consider this riding as a tossup, with a slight lean to the Liberals,» he said. «Of course there's some uncertainty in the numbers, but we expect the Liberals to win by a margin of between four and eight points.»

Fournier warned that those assumptions depend on the Liberals being able to turn out their

Read more on cbc.ca