| Sep 13, 2007

Feature Article - September 6, 2007

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Feature Article - September 13, 2007

And They're Offby Jeff Green

Someone should tell the candidates for Member of Provincial Parliament in Frontenac Lennox and Addington that the election has been called.

The candidates have been so busy attending candidate meetings, pressing the flesh at community events, and organizing their campaign offices that they may not have had time to notice that the 10th of September has come and gone.

For the first time, Ontario is experiencing a fixed date election, so the traditional visit to the Lieutenant Governor by Premier McGuinty to dissolve parliament and initiate a 30-day election campaign was more ceremonial than anything else this time around.


Conservative party candidate Randy Hillier has been running full out since early June, hosting several meetings, and Liberal candidate Ian Wilson has been a familiar sight at summer events throughout the riding. NDP candidate Ross Sutherland was the first politician to visit the occupation at the Robertsville mine back in late June, and has been steadily establishing his positions on various issues all summer. Rolly Montpellier of the Green Party was the last candidate into the race, only securing his party nomination in August, but he has been able to bring the party leader Frank deJong into the riding on several occasions since that time.

The candidates have also been participating in all-candidates meetings before the election was officially called. Back in July, Sutherland, Hillier, and Wilson participated in a meeting focussing on the mining act, hosted by the Bedford Mining Alert, and last week a meeting was held on Amherst Island. One of the central topics at that meeting was wind power.

Now that the election is underway in earnest, the candidates will be in different corners of the riding for all-candidates meetings on at least a dozen occasions, including a pair of meetings sponsored by the Frontenac News. The first will be on Monday, September 24, at 7:00 pm at Prince Charles Public School in Verona, and the second on Wednesday, September 26 at 7:00 pm at the Kaladar Community Centre.

This will be the first time the Lanark Frontenac Lennox and Addington (LFL&A) riding is contested in a provincial election, although Federal Conservative Scott Reid has been elected in LFL&A twice, winning over 50% of the vote in 2006.

The riding is made up of part of the Hastings Frontenac Lennox and Addington riding, which has been held provincially by Leona Dombrowsky for two terms, and the Lanark Carleton riding, which has been represented by Conservative Norm Sterling for eight terms. Sterling has been an MPP since 1977.

Sterling and Dombrowsky are both running in neighbouring ridings this time around, leaving LFL&A wide open.

Although a composite of the results in what is now LFL&A shows that the Liberals received the majority of the votes, two election prediction websites: election prediction.org, and democraticspace.com, call for the Conservative party to take the riding in a close race.

Provincial issues such as education and health promise to be important locally, as will the viability of the rural economy. Also, this time around, energy production will be discussed in a way that it hasn’t been previously in different parts of the riding. The wind project on Wolfe Island and a proposed project on Amherst Island will be hotly debated in those locations, and the prospect of uranium exploration will bring mining issues to the forefront in Frontenac County as well as Lanark Highlands and Carleton Place.

The election will also feature a referendum on a new electoral system, the mixed-member proportional representation system (MMP), which will need an endorsement by 60% of voters in order to be adopted.

If MMP is adopted, voters in future elections will vote for candidates as they do now, and will vote for political parties as well. The outcome of the election in terms of the percentage of votes would be directly reflected in the provincial legislature.

At dissolution, the Liberals held 72 of 103 seats, after receiving 46.5% of the vote in 2003. The Conservatives held 24 seats on 36.5% of the vote, the NDP 7 seats on 14.7%.

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