By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express
Oshawa, it’s time for another election season.
Less than a year after the city concluded its municipal election cycle, the city will be getting set to vote once again for the federal election.
The writ was officially dropped on Sunday when Prime Minister Stephen Harper requested that Governor General Johnston dissolve parliament, triggering an election on Oct. 19. The two-and-a-half-month long election campaign will be the longest the country has ever seen.
Harper made his way to Durham Region on his first full day of campaigning, preaching to the party faithful at a campaign event at the Deer Creek golf course in Ajax.
The event, which started more than an hour late due to traffic holding up the campaign and media buses, was ticketed, meaning only those vetted by Conservative staffers were able to get inside.
The event served to introduce voters to Conservative candidates throughout the Greater Toronto Area, with potential Mps-in-waiting coming from as far away as Mississauga and Richmond Hill.
In a half-hour-long speech to a room of approximately 300 supporters, Harper touted his party’s resume following nine years in charge of the country, as well as taking swipes at opponents Justin Trudeau of the Liberals and Tom Mulcair of the NDP.
Names on the ballot
Although the election was only officially called over the weekend, the main political parties have already taken to announcing their candidates for Oshawa in the past few months.
Conservative Colin Carrie is running for re-election, hoping to be voted in to office for the fourth time since 2004, when he narrowly defeated NDP candidate and now president of the Ontario Federation of Labour Sid Ryan.
Speaking with The Oshawa Express in February, Carrie echoed many of the same points Harper said during his recent Ajax stop as to why Oshawa residents and Canadians should return the Conservatives to power.
“Most people realize that our priority is still the economy, and we’ve had the best job creation in the G7. We created more than 20 per cent more jobs than our closest competitor,” Carrie said at the time. “But there is a reality out there that Canadians know that we’re not immune to the economic challenges beyond our borders. We’ve seen some effects of that here, even now with our economy. That’s why our focus will continue to work hard to create jobs and, of course, economic growth.”
The NDP was the first to announce its candidate to run against the incumbent Carrie, picking third-grade French immersion teacher and Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario member Mary Fowler as the best bet to turn Oshawa orange for the first time since Michael Breaugh in 1993.
“It’s been a long time since working families have had a real voice in Ottawa. I don’t think that Dr. Carrie has shown that he listens to the needs of the families here,” Fowler told The Oshawa Express in April, shortly after being picked as the NDP nominee. “Just recently, he said he’s not concerned about job losses that are happening in Oshawa. So I think that it certainly would be helpful if someone who lives in the riding and understands the issues for the people that also live here, and I think I would be able to provide that to those people and those working families.”
The following month, the Liberals picked who would represent them in the October election, picking former regional councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri.
“Oshawa desperately needs a strong advocate in a Liberal government. I will be that advocate. I will fight, with passion and proven integrity, for the city I love – the community my family and I have always called home,” said in a statement announcing his candidacy. “The Conservatives are doing absolutely nothing to stem the steady flow of job losses from Oshawa’s traditional manufacturing base. Instead of maintaining their influence and fighting on Oshawa’s behalf, the Conservatives sold the government’s shares in GM and sold Oshawa’s jobs down the river.”
The Green Party has chosen Michael Dempsey, an Oshawa resident and frequent party volunteer, to represent it on the Oct. 19 ballot.
Dempsey’s profile on the Green Party website highlights his past as a student organizer and history with helping with Green political campaigns, including those in Guelph and London.