After months of waiting, the Ontario provincial election campaign has finally begun.
Since May 9, the various political party leaders from the Liberals, PCs, NDP and Greens, as well as their local candidates, have fanned out across the province and into your neighbourhoods asking for your vote on June 7.
It’s been said that the road to power at Queen’s Park runs through the 905. Former premiers Mike Harris, Dalton McGuinty, and current incumbent Kathleen Wynne all formed their majority governments with seats in Mississauga and Brampton, as well as neighbouring Halton, York and Durham regions.
With current polling fluctuating as it is, a minority government situation is always possible, which was the case after the 2011 election. Every riding across Ontario, especially in the GTA, will be important.
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To familiarize yourself with your local candidates, here is a brief primer on who is running for which party in the ridings across Halton Region.
This riding was a Conservative stronghold until 2014, when Liberal Eleanor McMahon ousted the Tory incumbent Jane McKenna. In this election, it’s a rematch between McMahon and McKenna, with NDP candidate Andrew Drummond, Green candidate Vince Fiorito, None of the Above party’s candidate Nadine Bentham, and Libertarian Jim Gilchrist joining the fray.
Another riding that was traditionally blue until 2014, when Liberal Indira Naidoo-Harris defeated longtime incumbent PC MPP Ted Chudleigh in what was then known as the Halton riding. In this election, the riding has been redrawn to consist of Milton and the rural parts of Burlington.
Naidoo-Harris is facing a tough opponent in Tory Parm Gill, a former federal Conservative MP who represented Brampton. The other candidates nominated at this time include the NDP candidate electrician Brendan Smyth, the Green Party’s Eleanor Hayward (pictured on the right with federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May), NOTA candidate Andrew Weber and Libertarian Sachin Khanna.
Labour Minister Kevin Flynn has held this seat for the Liberals since 2003. This time, Flynn is facing PC candidate Stephen Crawford, a mutual fund executive, NDP candidate Lesley Sprague, Green Party candidate Emily DeSousa and Libertarian candidate Spencer Oklobdzija.
This is a new riding carved out from redistribution due to the population growth in Halton Region, consisting of parts of north Oakville that used to be in the old Halton riding, and a small chunk of Burlington. This will be the only Halton area riding with no incumbent running.
The Tories are fielding Effie Triantafilopoulos, a former PC candidate in Mississauga. The Liberals are looking to add another member from the region in Alvin Tedjo, a former Queens Park staffer who is the current Director of Government Relations at Sheridan College. Tedjo also ran for a municipal council seat in Mississauga, where he is from.
Also running are the NDP’s Saima Zaidi, Green Party candidate Marianne Workman, NOTA candidate Stephen Riley, Libertarian Charles Zach and Frank De Luca of the Trillium Party.
This riding consist mainly of the communities of the south part of Wellington County around Guelph, but it also includes Halton Hills (Acton and Georgetown).
The PC incumbent, Ted Arnott, has been an MPP since 1990 when he was first elected at age 27 representing the riding of Wellington. Arnott will be facing Halton Hills town councillor Jon Hurst, who is running for the Liberals, NDP candidate Diane Ballantyne, the Green Party’s Dave Rodgers, NOTA candidate Stan Smyer and Libertarian Pierre Nadeau.
The NDP are not traditionally strong in Halton Region, and the last time the NDP elected an MPP here was in the 1990 election, when Noel Duignan was elected in Halton North with 31 per cent of the vote. So one can expect the races in Halton to come down between the Liberals and the PCs.
Ontarians go to the polls on June 7.
Headshots courtesy of candidates’ social media accounts and party websites