Our votes will count this time

We are in one of the tightest races ever in Canada. With just two-and-a-half weeks until election day (June 28), every riding now becomes more important to each political party.
Meeting with colleagues from across the county last week suggests to me that we will be seeing a much different government in Ottawa than when Parliament was dissolved May 23.
And for maybe the first time in many elections, Canadians may be making the decision based on which candidate can best represent the issues of their riding—not the issues of the national party.
The Bloc Quebecois are expected to capture the greatest number of seats in Quebec.
The majority of publishers I met from that province are really ticked off. They are upset the general population have been associated with the “sponsorship scandal,” and that will translate into a loss of many seats for the Liberal party there.
Conservatives in Alberta may sweep that province. Anne McLellan, the deputy prime minister, is in a tight race in Edmonton against Laurie Hawn.
One of the telling signs of how the election might go can be found in Ottawa. Traditionally, federal civil servants there don’t like to see wholesale changes in government, but when travelling through the city and crossing political boundaries last week, very few Team Martin signs were visible.
If signs are any indication, in Ottawa Centre, former NDP leader Ed Broadbent will be back on the Hill having defeated Richard Mahoney, a former executive assistant to Paul Martin and former president of the Ontario Liberal party.
Likely Dalton McGuinty’s brother, David, will not be able to keep John Manley’s riding even though the former finance minister is out campaigning for him.
In Toronto, the publishers from that region fully expect to see a major growth in representation by the NDP (and the possibility of a sweep along the shore of Lake Ontario) while seeing the 905 area code move back to a traditional Conservative fold.
Only in Northern Ontario are there considered really safe seats for the Liberals.
This election probably won’t be decided until the last vote in counted in Tofino and Ucluelet on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Maritimers see seats shifting, but the final outcome in share not changing dramatically between the three parties.
Saskatchewan expects that Ralph Goodale, the current minister of finance, will hold his seat while the New Democrats and the Conservatives will divvy up the balance of the province.
Manitoba is likely to maintain its seat share between the parties that currently exists.
The end result could be that come June 29, both the Conservatives and Liberals will end up with each holding about 115 seats. The balance of seats will be held by the Bloc Quebecois, New Democrats, and several independents.
It will be interesting to watch how a coalition government could be formed.
This finally may be the occasion where all three parties find higher value in this new riding of Thunder Bay-Rainy River. For all parties, it could be the difference of forming a government or controlling the balance of power in Ottawa.
It also is the time we should be talking about Rainy River District’s agenda and not just the agenda of the parties from Ottawa. It is time for the federal government to put up “real quantities” of money to bring high-speed Internet to the region for all homes, businesses, and industry.
It is time to examine the three parties’ policies in terms of long-term senior health care and preventive health care even though they are provincial responsibilities.
The party platforms of the three federal parties all have included additional funding for health care and education.
The question remains is what will the impact be in our region? Who best will represent the diversity of needs in this new riding?

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