Countdown to election day: 3 ridings to watch
Marlene Leung, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, October 15, 2015 9:06AM EDT
With just days to go before voters head to the polls, the party leaders are racing across the country in a bid to shore up support in close races.
Conservative candidate and former minister of veterans affairs Julian Fantino is facing a tough fight in the Greater Toronto Area riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge, Funke says. The riding is new, created by the 2012 federal electoral boundaries redistribution, and came into effect upon the dropping of the writ.
Funke said Fantino, who served almost 40 years in law enforcement before entering politics, appeared to have "second thoughts" on whether to run in this election.
The former commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police served as minister of veterans affairs during a contentious period from 2013 to 2015, that saw the Conservatives shutter several VA offices across the country.
"It seems he will be in quite a fight now," she said.
Also running in the riding are Liberal candidate Francesco Sorbara, NDP candidate Adriana Zichy, and Green candidate Elise Boulanger.
2) Calgary Centre
The Liberals believe they can make some gains in Alberta, and Calgary Centre is considered one of the biggest contests in the province, Funke said.
Incumbent and Conservative candidate Joan Crockatt won the seat in a 2012 byelection by fewer than five percentage points. And if it were not for a strong Green candidate at the time, the Liberal candidate Harvey Locke may have won, Funke added.
"Now, Ms. Crockatt is facing a very strong challenge from former provincial MLA Kent Hehr," Funke said.
Hehr is the Liberal candidate for the riding. Also running are NDP candidate Jillian Ratti and Green candidate Thana Boonlert.
3) Laurier – Sainte-Marie
Prior to the last election, Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe had won the Montreal riding of Laurier – Sainte-Marie seven times in a row. But he was defeated "rather shockingly" by NDP candidate Helene Laverdiere in the 2011 election, Funke says.
After the near-collapse of the BQ in 2011, Duceppe resigned as party leader, accepting responsibility for the party's massive electoral losses. However, he returned as party leader in June of this year.
Now, he's fighting to win back the riding, but it will be a challenge, Funke says.
"We believe he's probably in trouble in Laurier – Sainte-Marie," she said. "He was 30 points behind several weeks ago. He's made up some of it, no doubt, but the question is how much?"
The other candidates running in the riding are: NDP candidate Helene Laverdiere, Liberal candidate Christine Poirier, Conservative candidate Daniel Gaudreau and Green candidate Cyrille Giraud.