The upcoming Sault Ste. Marie by-election

By: Bosco M Chou

 

The years of 2015 and 2016 have been a rough ride in Ontarian politics. The governing party’s approval dropping with their leader’s ratings. Autism, and health care funding being cut in the process, correctional facilities in worsening conditions as every year passes and sky-rocketing Hydro rates. This all represents a government that has continuously abused power and staying in the government benches far longer than they should be.

This year Liberal MPPs have been jumping off the sinking ship before the general election, Bas Balkissoon, Madeleine Meilleur, and recently, David Orazietti. The first two MPPs I have mentioned, have had by-elections in their former ridings this year. Orazietti’s riding of Sault Ste. Marie has yet to be called as he announced he would be leaving the legislature by the end of December. With lots of time to left until the by-election to be called, the Patrick Brown and the Ontario PC’s are boots on ground ready to take the riding as they have been able to find a candidate for the riding

The candidate they have chosen is Ross Romano, a local city councillor, and lawyer. Romano is clearly a star candidate for the PC’s and his chances of winning are probably higher as of now, as the Ontario Liberals haven’t chosen their candidate yet, as well as the NDP. This quick move by the PCs show that they are ready to take on a riding they haven’t held since 1985 and a riding held by the Liberals since 2003.

Since this is a riding based in Northern Ontario, it will be interesting on how the people in the Soo will vote. The reason being that Hydro rates in the northern and rural areas are a lot worse than the rates in the south and (sub)/urban regions. Unemployment in the north is the highest in all of Ontario, 12.7%. That is almost double the current federal unemployment rate at 6.9%.

If the PCs take back a riding they haven’t held since 1985, this will definitely trigger a leadership review for Kathleen Wynne as it could prove that she is too unpopular to the general public and unfit to lead the party as she lost Scarborough–Rouge River in September. Losing at least one more riding held by the Liberals will have her leadership in question by the Ontario Liberal Party.

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