By­elec­tion ramps up as of­fices open

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - FRONT PAGE - TIM RUHNKE

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

TIM RUHNKE/POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

Lib­eral can­di­date Mary Jean McFall speaks at her cam­paign of­fice open­ing on Satur­day.

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