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CanadaElection 2019: Here are nine ridings to watch for clues to vote trends

15:31  11 september  2019
15:31  11 september  2019 Source:

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Election 2019: Here are nine ridings to watch for clues to vote trends© Cole Burston/The Canadian Press; Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press Veteran Conservative MP Lisa Raitt, who has held the Milton riding in Ontario since 2008, but won in 2015 by a margin of less than five per cent, is being challenged by star Liberal candidate Adam van Koeverden, an Olympic paddler.

Though much of the focus during this election campaign will inevitably be on the leaders, certain regional trends and local battles may provide important clues about which way the wind is blowing before voters head to the polls on Oct. 21.

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Here, from east to west, the National Post highlights a few ridings to watch.

Riding: Cape Breton—Canso, N.S.

Incumbent: Rodger Cuzner (Lib)

With the retirement of long-time Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner from this Nova Scotia riding, there may be an opening for Conservative candidate Alfie MacLeod, a former provincial MLA. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, clearly smelling opportunity in Cape Breton, attended the launch of the local campaign last month. The Conservatives are hoping for a larger breakthrough in Atlantic Canada, where the Liberals currently hold all 32 of the seats.

Riding: Beauce

Incumbent: Maxime Bernier (PPC)

The fate of Maxime Bernier’s right-wing People’s Party of Canada may be tied to his fortunes in his home riding of Beauce, near Quebec City. Bernier held the riding for the Conservatives from 2006 until he left the party in August 2018, after losing the party leadership to Scheer the previous year. He’s never faced much of a threat in the riding, but this time around, the Conservatives will fight hard to take it back. The Tory candidate for Beauce, Richard Lehoux, a dairy farmer and long-time mayor from the area, was polling neck-and-neck with Bernier in a Mainstreet survey last month.

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Riding: Laurier—Sainte-Marie

Incumbent: Hélène Laverdière (NDP)

Arguably the Liberals’ highest-profile new candidate, environmentalist Steven Guilbeault will try to wrest this downtown Montreal riding from the NDP. The incumbent, popular NDP MP Hélène Laverdière, is not running again, and the party’s candidate there is Nima Machouf, an epidemiologist and wife of well-known Quebec politician Amir Khadir. Guilbeault’s environmental credentials are an important selling point in Montreal, but the Liberals haven’t held the riding since 1990. In fact, the seat was held by former Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe until the NDP’s Orange Wave in 2011.

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Riding: Brampton East

Incumbent: Raj Grewal (Ind)

The NDP is hoping to use leader Jagmeet Singh’s organizing base in his former home of Brampton to take a shot at several seats in the Peel region, including Brampton East. The party’s candidate there is Saranjit Singh, a human rights lawyer who came to Canada as a refugee in 1988. Provincially, the riding is held by Jagmeet Singh’s younger brother, Gurratan. The federal incumbent is former Liberal MP Raj Grewal, who was kicked out of caucus in December and admitted he was dealing with a gambling addiction and had accumulated large debts. The Liberals won all five Brampton ridings in 2015, and their candidate in Brampton East this time around is entrepreneur Maninder Sidhu.

Riding: Milton

Incumbent: Lisa Raitt (CPC)

The Liberals have nominated another star candidate in this riding, Olympic paddler Adam van Koeverden. Milton is currently held by veteran Conservative MP Lisa Raitt, who has been in office since 2008, but who won in 2015 by a margin of less than five per cent over the Liberal candidate.

Riding: Windsor West

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Incumbent: Brian Masse (NDP)

The Liberals recently nominated a high-profile candidate in Windsor West, long-time provincial MPP Sandra Pupatello, who held several cabinet positions in the provincial Liberal government before deciding not to re-offer in 2011. Pupatello also ran for the Ontario Liberal leadership in 2013, but lost to Kathleen Wynne. She will be up against veteran NDP MP Brian Masse, who has held the riding since 2002, when he replaced former Liberal deputy prime minister Herb Gray. A Mainstreet poll suggested a tight race between the two.

Riding: Edmonton—Mill Woods

Incumbent: Amarjeet Sohi (Lib)

One of just four seats the Liberals won in Alberta in 2015, Edmonton—Mill Woods is home to Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi, who has had the unenviable task of trying to reassure restive Albertans of his government’s commitment to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project and resource development more broadly. Sohi won the riding in 2015 by fewer than 100 votes over former Conservative MP Tim Uppal, who is trying to win it back this year.

Riding: Vancouver—Granville

Incumbent: Jody Wilson-Raybould (Ind)

This downtown Vancouver riding is the seat of former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who was at the centre of the SNC-Lavalin affair that dominated Canadian political news earlier this year. Wilson-Raybould resigned from the Liberal cabinet in February and claimed the prime minister and other senior officials had tried to interfere with her independence as attorney general. Trudeau booted her from his caucus in April, and she announced she would run again as an independent candidate in late May. A Mainstreet poll last month had her neck-and-neck with the Liberal candidate in the riding, Taleeb Noormohamed.

Riding: Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke

Incumbent: Randall Garrison (NDP)

If there is a Green surge this election, it will start on Vancouver Island, where the Greens are targeting several ridings around Victoria. Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke has been held by NDP MP Randall Garrison since 2011, but he’s now facing a challenge from Liberal-turned-Green candidate David Merner. Merner, a lawyer and lifelong Liberal, switched to the Greens in 2018 after the government announced it was buying the Trans Mountain pipeline. He ran against Garrison as a Liberal candidate in 2015, finishing in second place.

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