Byelection ramps up as offices open
BROCKVILLE — Every vote is important.
That point was emphasized when two of the candidates running in the Leeds-Grenville–Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes federal byelection opened their campaign offices in Brockville on Saturday.
The seat has been vacant since the sudden death of longtime Conservative MP Gord Brown in early May. The byelection is set for Monday, Dec. 3.
Dozens of people crowded into the Liberal campaign headquarters at the corner of King Street West and Buell Street on Saturday morning. Uptown, about 200 people – including three Alberta MPs – were on hand in the afternoon for the opening of the Conservative campaign office located on California Avenue just north of Waltham Road.
Speakers at both openings emphasized the need for campaign volunteers to do everything they can to get out the vote on behalf of their respective candidates. Unlike the recent municipal elections in which most voters also had the option to cast their ballots by way of the Internet or telephone, voting at a polling station or at the returning office remains the lone option in the upcoming byelection.
Appearing at the launch event for Conservative candidate Michael Barrett on Saturday, MPP Steve Clark spoke of “voter fatigue” as something that factors into the Dec. 3 byelection. It will be the third election for voters in the riding since June 7, when the provincial election was held.
Clark referred to the 2000 federal election in which Brown – then a candidate for the Canadian Alliance party – lost to LeedsGrenville incumbent Liberal MP Joe Jordan by 55 votes.
Speaking to supporters of Liberal candidate Mary Jean McFall on Saturday, Mike O’Shaughnessy also stressed the significance of getting out the vote on Dec. 3. The local example he cited dates back three decades when the Liberals lost to the Tories by 198 votes. “One vote is important,” O’Shaughnessy stated.
This is McFall’s second campaign as the Liberal candidate in the local riding. She received more than 40.5 per cent of the vote in the 2015 general election but trailed Brown by 3,850 votes. The Liberals formed a majority government; Brown was elected as a Conservative MP for the fifth time.
At her office opening, McFall spoke of the importance of creating good, sustainable jobs for the middle class and those striving to join it. In noting the Liberals’ plan for “progressive, proper change,” she also pledged ongoing support of small businesses, farmers and housing for seniors.
“It needs to be about service,” McFall told the gathering. “Let’s deliver for the people.”
Barrett asserted on Saturday that many people who supported promises for change made by the Liberals in 2015 “have been terribly disappointed and let down” by the current government. Infrastructure spending pledged in that general election campaign is not being seen in the Leeds and Grenville area, according to the Conservative candidate.
Burdening the children of today and their children with federal deficits and debt is “just not fair,” Barrett added.
Also running in the Dec. 3 byelection are NDP candidate Michelle Taylor and Green party candidate Lorraine Rekmans.
A general election is slated for Oct. 2019
Liberal candidate Mary Jean McFall speaks at her campaign office opening on Saturday.