While everything seems to have settled from last October’s Federal Election, the people of Whitby-Oshawa are about to catch election fever all over again, this time in a provincial way. The Liberal government officially called the race to replace former Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Christine Elliott Wednesday, and the election date is set for February 11.
So far, several parties have announced their candidates in the by-election. Lorne Coe will be looking to keep Whitby-Oshawa blue for the PCs, he’s a regional councillor for Whitby. Healthcare professional Elizabeth Roy will challenge for the Liberals, human rights lawyer Niki Lundquist is running for the NDP, and Durham College law professor Stacey Leadbetter will represent the Green Party. One independent candidate has also declared themselves. Kevin Clarke, an advocate for the homeless in Toronto, is on the ballot for the People’s Political Party.
All candidates will need to file their nomination papers by January 21 at 2 pm.
According to Elections Ontario, they will also be experimenting with the mechanics of running a by-election this time in Whitby-Ohawa by “piloting a new poll model at 42 voting locations on Election Day. The new poll model is designed to save voters time at the poll, reduce staffing requirements and help to modernize the voting process in Ontario.”
Elliot resigned from her seat last August after eight years representing the riding and two failed attempts to run for the leadership of the Ontario PCs; former Barrie MP Patrick Brown became PC leader last June. In December, Elliott was appointed as the first patient ombudsman by the Ontario government.
Initial polling for the by-election indicates an early lead for Poe and the PCs. A Mainstreet Research for Postmedia puts support amongst decided voters for Coe at 37 per cent, followed by Roy with 29, Lundquist with six, and Leadbetter with one. Still, 27 per cent of the people polled said that they remained undecided.