By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express
The day after the writ was officially dropped, provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath made a visit to Whitby-Oshawa to drum up support for her party’s candidate, Niki Lundquist – and based on recent poll numbers, she is going to need it.
According to a poll released Jan. 14 by Mainstreet Research and Postmedia, Lorne Coe and the Progressive Conservatives have taken an early lead, holding 37 per cent support from the 597 polled, with a margin of error of plus or minus four per cent. Next is Elizabeth Roy and the Liberals at 29 per cent, with Lundquist further behind at 6 per cent.
Twenty-seven per cent of those polled said they were undecided.
Despite being far behind in the first polls of the campaign, Horwath says this election is extremely important, and that people should look to turning orange.
“Make no mistake, this byelection is extremely important. It’s important because the people in Whitby-Oshawa have a chance to deliver a message that this Liberal government cannot ignore. They can tell the Liberals that they are tired of a government that has grown out of touch with their needs,” she said. “(People are) tired of not being able to find a good, secure, well-paying job, the kind of job you can raise a family on. The people of Whitby-Oshawa can stand up and say that they’ve had enough of Liberal cuts to the services that people rely on each and every day, services like seniors’ care, education and healthcare.”
Lundquist added that she feels the Liberal government under Premier Kathleen Wynne haven’t been paying attention to the issues in the community.
“We have a government that hasn’t been listening to the people in this community or this province. I’ve been knocking on a lot of doors and I’ve been hearing a lot of things, and one of those things is that this government is absolutely out of touch with the people in this community,” she said. “People in this community want good jobs, they want a future that provides stability and something for their children, they want healthcare for their senior parents as they age and what they don’t is the public sell-off of public hydro. It’s going to be something that hurts us for generations to come.”
Horwath also took shots at Coe’s party, which has held a strong hold on the region since it was first created in 2006 with former MPP Christine Elliott at the helm.
“It’s been PC blue for some time, but it’s been so long that a vote for the Progressive Conservatives in this byelection will only be seen by the government of Ontario as a vote for more of the same,” she said.