Byelection Fever: Will London, ON Voters Send a New Voice to Ottawa?
Justin Trudeau (right), son of fomer
Can she do it? One can’t help but be intrigued watching the career of the Green Parthy’s Elisabeth May lift-off and wonder if we’re really watching the birth of a new political phenomenon. It’s quite a race being fought in the riding which includes a chunk of London, Ontario – to much attention is focussed on this byelection that the other one, pretty much a shoo-in for the Bloc Quebecois in a staunchly spearatist Quebec riding, has gone completely ignored. This makes it sort of surprising to me that there have been no polls published in advance of the vote.
But one solid sign it’s a hell of a fight is the fact that the main contestants are pulling no punches in the contest. Look at these few headlines on the campaign from the local London, Ontario newspaper:
- Outcomes won’t alter political landscape
- Trudeau mobbed at liberal rally
- Undecided voters target of final day of camptaign
Betwen the visits by Trudeau and high-profile Newmarket, ON MP Belinda Stronach, it’s quite obvious the Liberals think they have a fight on their hands for this riding. But it doesn’t sound like with the tragically out-of-focus msuings on gay marriage by the Tory candidate there’s much chance the Conservative Party is the big worry here. It could be the NDP candidate; a local radio program host well known to Londoners. Or perhaps it’s May.
And if May is the main contestant, despite her being a "parachute" candidate (which Londoners historically don’t like voiting for), it might well be due to the Liberals not having a leader. It’s a huge disadvantage for the party, which can’t tell voters who’s in charge yet – until its convention the following Saturday, nearly a week after the vote.
At the moment, the likely winner of the Liberal convention is anyone’s guess. One big fear amongst we traditionally Liberal voters who aren’t gonna be on the convention floor is that Michael Ignatief or Bob Rae might win. And if that same fear resonates amongst voters generally in London, well – it might mean a few votes more for May. The Green Party might be an environmental party, but its other political platforms tend to be center to center-right on the political spectrum…right where Canadians like it. And recent press and increasing profile for May might mean this is just the perfect time for her to claim a seat in the House of Commons.
Certainly, it would be welcome news to hear a new voice on the Hill. And if Ignatief or Rae take the Liberal leadership I fear without May, Harper will remain the old voice. A voice we’re stuck with too because there’s lotsa people who won’t vote for either Ray or Ignatief.