Let the door knocking, baby kissing, lawn-sign installing and debates begin.
Ontarians will head to the polls on June 7 to cast their ballots for its candidate of choice in the 43rd provincial election.
The Peterborough riding which is now known as Peterborough-Kawartha has seen its electoral boundaries shift north but it has always been a bell weather riding, electing a member of the winning party to Queen’s Park in every election since 1987.
Part of the new boundaries includes Curve Lake First Nation, where political newcomer and local NDP candidate Sean Conway was born. The 26-year-old musician by trade began his campaign on Wednesday, speaking with folks at the Curve Lake Cultural Centre.
“When we go and knock on the doors and talk to people or when calling them on the phone, they are ready for a change,” said Conway. “They aren’t happy with the Liberal government and the thought of a Conservative government, well, that’s just not good either. Ontarians have a choice between bad or worse and it doesn’t have to be that way.”
Conway says the NDP has the interest of all Ontarians in mind and has the plan that works best for everyone, especially when it comes to health care.
“People want health care and people want a real universal health-care system and they want a government that cares about them,” he said. “What’s really needed is a fresh perspective, and a fresh set of ears is what’s really needed in politics.”
Progressive Conservative candidate Dave Smith is also making his first run at provincial politics. The well-known volunteer and community organizer has left his mark on the hockey community.
Smith is credited for helping strengthen the minor hockey system by orchestrating the merger of the Peterborough Minor Hockey Association with the Peterborough Community Church League.
Smith says hydro costs and health care are the two big issues affecting constituents here.
“The cost of electricity has gone through the roof,” said Smith. “And this is something that we have to clean up.”
Smith says the PCs will address the issue with Hydro One executives making millions, calling the salaries “outrageous.”
“The average person just can’t afford that,” he said.
“The second issue is health care… we have 8,500 people who don’t have a family doctor and what have the Liberals done about that in the last 15 years?… Absolutely nothing.”
Incumbent Jeff Leal is running in his sixth provincial election and will be looking to win his fifth term as MPP and says he’s proven he can work with everyone.
“You never accomplish anything without working with others,” said Leal. “Certainly, I’ve got a strong track record of working with my municipal partners here in the Peterborough-Kawartha riding and the business community, along with many of the service organizations that deliver Government of Ontario programs that make life a little better for those individuals in our community.”
The first all-candidates debate for the Peterborough-Kawartha riding will take place on Thursday, May 10, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Buckhorn Community Centre, while the Rotary Club of Peterborough will host a debate at the Holiday Inn on Monday at 12 p.m.
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