The federal election is just four weeks away, and it’s still too close to call. With less than one percent separating the Liberals and Conservatives, the election likely will come down to several of the battleground ridings in Ontario, as the province has 30 seats up for grabs that should have a significant impact on the outcome.
Milton is one such riding that will be highly contentious. In 2015, the Conservatives took the riding, as Lisa Raitt won 22,273 votes—45 percent of the vote share. While her closest competition was Liberal candidate Azim Rizvee, who received 19,926 votes—41 percent of the vote share.
Rarely does the incumbent have a disadvantage when it comes to name recognition going into an election. However, considering the fact that her opponent is Adam van Koeverden, a 2004 gold-medal winning kayaker, that may be the case in this election.
Van Koeverden is a decorated Canadian Olympian, having medaled in multiple games, including 2004, when he won gold; 2008, when he won silver; and 2012, when he won silver. He’s also been Canada’s flag bearer during the opening ceremonies twice—a feat few Canadian athletes have accomplished.
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Despite his name recognition, van Koeverden won’t have an easy task, as he isn’t the most experienced politician running, having only officially declared his intention to run for MP a little more than a year ago. Additionally, Milton has voted conservative in the last two elections, and Raitt is a two-time incumbent, having won in 2011 with 44,214 votes—55 percent of the vote share.
However, in 2011, the riding was named Halton and had considerably more voters than the number of people in the current riding of Milton.
Additionally, Milton has grown significantly according to the most recent census data. From 2011 to 2016, the city has increased by 31 percent of the population to 110,128 residents—the community has also been trending younger and more diverse particularly the Muslim population, which has historically been a difficult get for the Conservative party.
With neither party able to gain much ground on the other, many Ontario ridings, including Milton, could have a significant impact on choosing our next Prime Minister.