Advanced voting opens in Toronto-St. Paul's federal byelection

Advanced voting has opened for a federal byelection in the Toronto-St. Paul's riding, a Liberal stronghold that could be up for grabs as the party struggles in the polls.

The Liberals have held the seat since 1997, represented by former cabinet minister Carolyn Bennet, who resigned her seat in January to become Canada's ambassador to Denmark.

Bennett won over half the vote in the 2021 federal election, but the polls suggest things will be much tighter this time around.

Polling expert Philippe Fournier of 338Canada told CBC's Power & Politics last week that the riding is a "toss-up." He says polling data suggests the Liberals are still expected to win, but only by a margin of four to eight points.

The Liberals have won all 25 Toronto ridings in the last three general elections.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and over a dozen cabinet ministers were campaigning in the riding this week on behalf of their new Liberal candidate, Leslie Church, a former political staffer.

The Conservatives have nominated financial services worker Don Stewart, the NDP candidate is non-profit director Amrit Parhar and the Green Party is represented by candidate Christian Cullis, a constituent co-ordinator for Toronto city councillor Dianne Saxe. The People's Party of Canada has nominated business consultant Dennis Wilson.

The choice doesn't end there though.

There are 84 candidates on the ballot, making it the longest in the history of federal politics, according to Elections Canada.

A debate is being held on Monday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Church. Candidates from the Liberal, NDP, Conservative and Green parties have been invited.

Casa Loma and a view of downtown Toronto, as seen from the air.
Casa Loma in the riding of Toronto-St. Paul's, a traditional Liberal stronghold. (Patrick Morrell/CBC News)

The Midtown Toronto riding is home to nearly 117,000 people, according to the 2021 census. Its boundaries run roughly from Dupont Street in the south to Eglinton Avenue in the north, and Dufferin Street in the west to Mount Pleasant Road in the east.

Advance voting runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day from June 14 to June 17. Voters can cast their ballot during those times at their assigned advanced polling station. Voters can also cast an early ballot on June 18, before 6 p.m., at the riding's Elections Canada office.

Voters can register to vote by mail if they apply before 6 p.m. on June 18.

Election day is June 24. Voting will run from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.