By Jenn Watt
Published May 22 2018
The election is now looming large on the horizon with only a handful of days before Ontarians go to the polls. And in less than a week we will have an opportunity locally to meet the candidates vying to represent us in provincial parliament during the all-candidates meeting.
While incumbent Laurie Scott of the Progressive Conservatives is well known in the riding having been first elected in 2003 the other four are relatively unknown even at this late stage.
As a refresher our candidates are Brooklynne Cramp-Waldinsperger for Liberals Zac Miller for NDP Gene Balfour running under the Libertarian banner and Chuck MacMillan for the Consensus Ontario party.
For many this will likely be the first opportunity to meet these candidates most of whom were recently selected by their parties to run (with the exception of Balfour).
And while the all-candidates meeting is certainly the perfect place to meet candidates and hear what they have to say the other major benefit of these meetings is to put your own concerns on the agenda.
Elections are frequently framed as a time to find out about what a candidate can offer a voter the riding or the province. But just as important it is a time when voters are given a chance to speak to all of the parties about issues that matter to them.
On Monday all candidates for the job of MPP will be sitting at one table together. Their task will be to deliver their message challenge each other and – the important part – listen to the concerns of the constituents.
Party policy is set outside of Haliburton. This of course makes sense. Parties hire researchers and polling companies to pare down data to the essential points that will best serve their voters and their overall philosophy. And this is what they serve up to the electorate in hopes of gaining seats and power in the legislature.
But it’s not just these policy points that MPPs will be representing. They will also be representing their constituency at Queen’s Park and they will often be on the front lines in the riding when something goes awry. We’ve seen this over the years from fighting for disaster relief for Minden following the floods to working to change the boundaries of our regional tourism organization when the county was bizarrely split in two (briefly) for promotional purposes in 2010.
Our candidates certainly know about macro issues like debt repayment health-care spending and hydro rates. But they might not know that you’re worried about the water quality of your lake or that you can’t find a local doctor or that without public transit you can’t reliably make it to work every day.
Elections are the best times to get these messages through. Take time to learn about your choices this election but also take the opportunity to tell the candidates what you need. They will after all be representing you.
The all-candidates meeting is at Pinestone Resort on Monday May 28 at 7 p.m.
Election Day is Thursday June 7.