University-Rosedale resident Michael Hawke would like to see the Conservatives win in his riding on Oct. 19.
“I think they run the economy very well, and I’m not up for more taxes,” the physician says. “I’m taxed enough — provincially and federally.”
According to ThreeHundredEight.com, which aggregates publicly available opinion polls to project election results for each of Canada’s 338 federal ridings, Hawke is unlikely to get his wish. As of Sept. 27, University-Rosedale Conservative candidate Karim Jivraj was projected to receive 17.2 percent of the vote, while the Liberal’s Chrystia Freeland was at 40.6 percent and NDP candidate Jennifer Hollett 35.2 percent. Green candidate Nick Wright is projected to receive 6.7 percent.
Customer experience consultant Bradley Scott is surprised by those numbers, saying he was under the impression Hollett was in the lead based on a Forum Research poll, released Aug. 26 showing 46 percent of voters in the riding supported Hollett while 32 percent backed Freelend.
“They both seem like really good candidates, so I think you win either way,” the University-Rosedale resident says.
Asked for her reaction to the numbers, Hollett cites the Forum poll, which she calls “a definite signal that people in University Rosedale are ready for a change.”
“ThreeHundredEight’s not a poll, it’s a projection, and it’s important to note the difference,” the former journalist says. “There’s only been one poll.”
As she knocks on doors, Hollett says she’s seeing a lot of support for the NDP’s approach to change, including promises for $15 per day childcare, $15-per-hour federal minimum wage, a small business tax reduction from 11 percent to nine percent, and increases to federal transfer payments for health care and urban infrastructure.
“There’s a lot of excitement for the NDP in University Rosedale,” Hollett says. “I’ve met a few new Canadians who say they’re going to be voting for the first time ever, and they’re going to be voting for me … and also former Liberals who are voting NDP over Bill C-51.”
Conservative candidate Jivraj notes the surge in NDP support as well, while putting a positive spin on his own numbers. Following the polls from the beginning, he says he’s risen from eight percent support to 17 percent.
“Locally, the NDP is taking a commanding lead,” Jivraj says. “The question now that people are asking themselves is not ‘Do we want change?’ but ‘Are we ready for this shade of change? Are we ready for orange? Are we ready for Prime Minister Mulcair?’”
While canvassing the riding with his young volunteers, who have knocked on more than 80,000 doors, Jivraj says he has met many centrists who are having second thoughts, “who are now saying, ‘you know what? Frankly, I’d rather go with what we know,’” he says.
“We’re getting a lot of Liberals who are saying this is not the party of Paul Martin — this is not a party dedicated to slashing the defecit,” Jivraj says. “Justin Trudeau, to his credit, has been very open in admitting that he will create three consecutive defecits, and a lot of centrists, are not comfortable with that … which is why I think this is turning into a two-way race.”
For her part Freeland, who is currently MP of Toronto Centre but running for University-Rosedale because her home is in the new riding, declines to comment on either ThreeHundredEight or the Forum poll, though she says her impression is that she has strong support.
“People are starting to come up to me and say, ‘I voted for you already,’” she says. “And that is a great feeling.”
Among the Liberal promises that Freeland, who is co-chair of the party’s economic advisory council, says have resonated with University-Rosedale voters are the announced increases to the federal government’s annual infrastructure investment, from $5 billion to $10 billion for each of the next two years, its renewed investment in Canadian culture, including an additional $150 million in annual funding for the CBC, and party leader Justin Trudeau’s pledge to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada.
Freeland also says that voters appreciate Trudeau’s courage in admitting the party would run modest defecits for three years in order to deliver its promises, with a projected budget surplus by 2020.
Meanwhile, the Green’s Wright is thrilled by his numbers, saying ThreeHundredEight’s projected 6.7 percent support versus the Forum poll’s five percent indicates “significant momentum” for his party, which he credits with bringing to the fore issues such as the controversy over anti-terrorism Bill C-51 and the need for increased railway funding to ensure hazardous materials travelling through the riding’s Dupont rail line safely reach their destinations.
“I’m excited because it means the Greens are continuing to advance the important policy issues that the old parties just aren’t addressing,” he says.
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