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Election time

DAN CEARNS The Standard

As someone who has covered, seemingly, every type of election over the years, this year will be a first for me. I’ve covered municipal, provincial and federal general elections but this year will be the first federal by-election I’ve covered.

For those who don’t know, in the Durham riding, there is going to be a federal by-election, in early March, to replace MP Erin O’Toole. For me, this is going to be a fascinating election to watch, for several reasons.

First off, this election should give a hint at how people are leaning, in terms of the current government. While, since the 2021 election, polling companies have been tracking the favourability of the current Liberal government, as well as where they rank with the other parties; these numbers have not really mattered because there hasn’t been an election to weigh them against. With people actually going to the polls in this riding and some heavy involvement during the campaign, by high-profile Liberal members, it should be interesting to see where people stand, and, if it could lead to a trend heading into whenever the next federal election is.

Public participation in this by-election is another thing to keep an eye on. As people will have likely read over the years, voting numbers have steadily declined in provincial, municipal and federal elections since 2015. This election creates an opportunity to see if that trend will continue or if it will increase, and how, or if, many people care enough about the federal issues in the area to vote.

Of course, there’s the situation in the riding to watch. Federally, the riding has been represented by a Conservative, since 2004. First Bev Oda and then Erin O’Toole. The riding itself, provincial and federal, hasn’t had a non-Conservative representative since the Liberal Party’s Granville Anderson was the MPP, from 2014 until 2018. The last Liberal to lead the Durham riding federally was Alex Shepherd, from 1993 until 2004.

In the last federal election, Erin O’Toole won the riding with 46.3 percent of the votes. With no incumbent this time, it should be interesting to see what the results are.

With the by-election scheduled for March 4th, I encourage people to do their research on the candidates and to make their voices heard by voting. It’s going to be a very interesting by-election.

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