Tories ahead

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - FRONT PAGE - RON­ALD ZAJAC

Con­ser­va­tive Michael Bar­rett was build­ing a healthy lead ac­cord­ing to early re­turns in Mon­day’s lo­cal by­elec­tion.

Vot­ers in Leeds-Grenville Thou­sand Is­lands and Ride au Lakes went to the polls Mon­day to choose their next mem­ber of Par­lia­ment, with the re­sults still not fi­nal at press time but strongly sug­gest­ing the rid­ing would re­main blue. Bar­rett was hop­ing to suc­ceed his late friend and col­leauge, long­time Tory MP Gord Brown, who died sud­denly May 2.

With more than half of the polls re­port­ing, Bar­rett had amassed 7,647 votes, well ahead of Lib­eral chal­lenger Mary Jean McFall with 4,280.

Bar­rett had 59.9 per cent of the vote, com­pared to 33.5 for McFall.

McFall ran against Brown in 2015 and fared bet­ter than any lo­cal Lib­eral in the last 22 years, but early in­di­ca­tions sug­gested she would not re­peat the re­sult achieved in what was a red wave that brought Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau to power three yearas ago.

The New Demo­cratic Party’s Michelle Taylor, who ran in the 2015 elec­tion as well, was a dis­tant third at press time, fol­lowed by Green Party hope­ful Lor­raine Rek­mans (an­other 2015 fed­eral elec­tion alumna) in fourth and in­de­pen­dent John Turmel – by his own ad­mis­sion not a very se­ri­ous can­di­date – in last place.

Lib­er­als framed the by­elec­tion as a chance for locals to choose an MP who would rep­re­sent them on the gov­ern­ment benches, while Bar­rett sought to cap­i­tal­ize on dis­af­fec­tion with the Trudeau Lib­er­als, whose gov­ern­ment is now late in its man­date.

In­deed, the win­ner of this by­elec­tion will serve less than a year, as the Lib­er­als are re­quired to call a gen­eral elec­tion next Oc­to­ber.

This was the third elec­tion for lo­cal vot­ers in the space of nearly six months, fol­low­ing the pro­vin­cial elec­tion in June and the mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion in Oc­to­ber.

Pre­lim­i­nary num­bers from Elec­tions Canada sug­gested voter fa­tigue had set in.

Early vot­ing in the by­elec­tion ran from, Fri­day, Nov. 23, through Mon­day, Nov. 26.

Although not con­firmed, the pre­lim­i­nary fig­ures in­di­cated that 6,492 vot­ers cast their bal­lots at the ad­vance polls, less than half the 13,223 who voted earl vot­ers in 2015.

A by­elec­tion in a rid­ing close to Ot­tawa none­the­less al­lowed party lead­ers to show up over the course of the cam­paign to mo­ti­vate their re­spec­tive troops.

The cam­paign in­cluded ap­pear­ances by Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau, Con­ser­va­tive Party Leader An­drew Scheer and Green Party Leader El­iz­a­beth May.

Full re­sults are avail­able on the Recorder and Times web­site at www. recorder.ca.

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