Don’t ex­pect any sur­prises in the next fed­eral elec­tion

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - STEVEN WARBURTON

The up­com­ing fed­eral elec­tion, now less than three months away, will likely be as ex­cit­ing as gar­gling paint – at least as far as our lo­cal rid­ings are con­cerned.

In Stor­mont-Dun­das-South Glen­garry, Eric Dun­can will likely be the new MP. Mr. Dun­can, a Con­ser­va­tive, will more-or-less in­herit the rid­ing from the out­go­ing MP, Guy Lau­zon, who has proven to be fiercely pop­u­lar in the south.

Mr. Lau­zon cap­tured over 50 per cent of the vote in the 2015 elec­tion and was around 60 per cent in 2011.

The Lib­er­als and the New Democrats haven’t even fielded a can­di­date there yet while Mr. Dun­can – a two-time war­den of the United Coun­ties of Stor­mont-Dun­das-South Glen­garry and a for­mer Mayor of North Dun­das– is well known in the area.

It is hard en­vi­sion­ing any­one eclips­ing him. In­deed, of the three prog­nos­ti­ca­tions pub­lished at elec­tion­pre­dic­tion.org, all of them say Mr. Dun­can will be sit­ting in the House of Com­mons come the fall.

In Glen­garry-Prescott-Rus­sell, it’s likely that Fran­cis Drouin will re­turn for the Lib­er­als. Pierre Lemieux, who used to hold the rid­ing for the Con­ser­va­tives, will try to win it back but vot­ers may not be will­ing to put a de­feated

can­di­date back in Ottawa.

By the time Oc­to­ber comes around, vot­ers will have likely for­got­ten the Lib­er­als de­ba­cle with Jody Wil­sonRay­bould, though they’ll likely re­mem­ber the Lib­er­als re­cent pledge to help im­prove mo­bile phone cov­er­age in the area. That means a lot to ru­ral res­i­dents.

It might be easy to pre­dict how Glen­garry will vote, but the na­tion, as a whole, could prove trick­ier.

That same elec­tion­pre­dic­tion.org list 105 of the 338 rid­ings as too close to call. The Con­ser­va­tives have 105 while the Lib­er­als have 100. Should those trends fol­low through in Oc­to­ber, the Tories could form the slimmest of mi­nor­ity govern­ments.

Province

The next provin­cial elec­tion is a few years off, but it will likely be more in­ter­est­ing than the one hap­pen­ing at the fed­eral level. In Glen­garry-Prescott-Rus­sell, the cur­rent sit­ting MPP, Amanda Si­mard, will be in for the fight of her life try­ing to re­tain her seat af­ter she aban­doned the Con­ser­va­tive party to sit as an in­de­pen­dent.

Ms. Si­mard broke ranks with the Tories over fran­co­phone poli­cies, so we should ex­pect to see her try­ing to drum up as much sup­port as pos­si­ble from her French-speak­ing con­stituents.

Her big­gest chal­lenge could come from Rox­ane Vil­leneuve, daugh­ter of for­mer MPP Noble Vil­leneuve and cur­rent Coun­cil­lor with the town­ship of North Stor­mont.

Ms. Vil­leneuve, who ran for the Con­ser­va­tives in the 2014 elec­tion – ul­ti­mately los­ing to the in­cum­bent Lib­eral can­di­date, Grant Crack – may be vy­ing for a po­lit­i­cal come­back.

In the mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion, she re­ceived more votes than any other coun­cil­lor can­di­date; she may be lay­ing the ground­work for to take an­other stab at a higher of­fice.

Jim McDonell, the PC MPP for Stor­mont-Dun­das-South Glen­garry, will be ap­proach­ing 70 by the time the next provin­cial elec­tion comes around. He has told re­porters that he hasn’t ruled out run­ning again, pro­vided he re­mains in good health. The PCs, how­ever, will have to do some­thing about their plum­met­ing ap­proval if they want to re­tain the govern­ment in the next decade.

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