Even Kitchener-Conestoga showing signs of the NDP surge
IF THERE IS ONE
theme that seems to have dominated the discourse of this election, it is change. But a change to what, is the overriding question. Every candidate is seeking an answer, and for Kelly Dick, that answer is the Ontario NDP.
Running as the New Democrat for Kitchener Conestoga, Dick is a native of the Westmount/Ottawa area of Kitchener with a background in labour, retail and community advocacy. She’s been politically active for the past eight years, assisting on the campaign trails of fellow NDP candidates and municipal politicians, and is now taking the helm of her own campaign.
“I think the first thing I would say is that we are at a place right now in the political arena in this province where we don’t have to chose bad or worse anymore. There is another option and that’s change for the better. That’s Andrea Horwath and the NDP,” says Dick of says her party’s appeal.
The skyrocketing price of hydro in the province and the sale of Hydro One is a sore point for many voters, notes Dick, and is something the party is looking to redress. The party is looking to reverse the sell-off of the public asset entirely, returning the province to a majority ownership of the utility; also on the platform is a promise to drop hydro prices by 30 per cent.
Healthcare is another major concern of voters, Dick notes, and the NDP is campaigning on a promise to end hallway medicine and “fix” seniors care.
“We are the only party that’s put a platform together and presented it to the people of Ontario. It’s fully costed, you can see exactly where the money’s coming from, you can see exactly where the money’s going to go, and you can see exactly what programs we are going to be moving on,” she says.
Between the finances of the Liberal party, which Dick describes as “sketchy”, and the PC party which has yet to finalize their own platform since Doug Ford took the party leadership, Dick says her party is represents an alternative to the “between bad and worse” of the other two major parties.
A potential draw back to the fiscally conservative is the successive deficits that the party plans to run, at on average $5 billion a year for the next five years.
In the previous election in the Kitchener-Conestoga riding, the NDP claimed 21 per cent of the vote, compared with the Liberal’s 33 and PC party’s 37 per cent. In third place, the party has a fair amount of ground to cover if it hopes to take the long-time Conservative riding.
But with the NDP now polling at 38 per cent support provincially (according to a CBC poll tracker), ahead of the PC’s 37 and Liberal’s much lower 20, a changing of the guard might very well be possible this June.
“People are looking for change. They’re looking for an alternative, they’re looking for something better. And we’re offering a change for the better.”