Voters in Layton's old riding head to the polls
Published Monday, March 19, 2012 12:20PM EDT
The polls are open in Jack Layton's old Toronto riding as voters head to the ballot boxes to choose a new Member of Parliament on Monday.
Layton's death last August left his Toronto-Danforth riding up for grabs. Monday's byelection is the culmination of a campaign viewed by many pundits to be an almost-certain victory for NDP candidate Craig Scott.
Scott, a law professor who specializes in human rights law, is facing 10 other candidates, including Liberal Grant Gordon.
The race has been characterized as a "two horse" contest by Gordon, an advertising executive who views himself as Scott's main competition.
Andrew Keyes, a 51-year-old communications specialist, is running for the Conservatives.
About 75,000 people are eligible to cast ballots in the byelection. Polling stations opened Monday morning and will close at 8:30 p.m. EST.
Layton wrested the riding away from Liberal MP Dennis Mills in 2004 and held it until his death last August. Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae also held the seat from 1979 until 1982, when he was a member of the New Democratic Party.
In the last 50 years, there have been 25 byelections called due to the death of an MP. Of those races, the incumbent party won 17, according to figures from The Canadian Press.
The outcome of Monday's vote should have little impact on the daily affairs of the House of Commons. The governing Conservatives currently hold 165 seats, while the NDP hold 101.
The Liberals have 35 seats, while the Green Party holds a single seat in the House.