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Mississauga by-election: what to expect

At first glance, Monday’s federal by-election in a coveted riding in the Greater Toronto Area may seem boring.

This is the first contest under the Conservative leadership of Pierre Poilievre, in a region of the country crucial to his party’s chances of success in future federal elections.

And the contest, in a district the Conservatives won when Stephen Harper secured a majority mandate, comes seven years into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose government is in its second minority term in Parliament.

Well-known former Ontario cabinet But the Liberals recruited a minister as their candidate for Mississauga-Lakeshore, and Poilievre was barely visible as the parties tested their game on the ground a year after the last general election.

“The Liberals should be able to win,” said Philippe Fournier, the creator of 338Canada, a statistical model of electoral projections based on polls, demographics and election history.

Still, he warned that by-election results are not always meaningful in the grand scheme.

“If the Conservatives pull it out, that’s a big story. If the Liberals win by five or six points, it’s as if nothing had happened,” he said.

Fournier said the Conservatives will have to learn to win again in areas outside of Toronto if Poilievre wants a kick in the box as premier.

“When you look at the riding map, the Conservatives have peaked in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. They could win maybe a handful more in the Atlantic provinces, maybe two or three more in Quebec, maybe two or three more in British Columbia,” he said.

“That doesn’t give you the win. They need to earn more in Ontario. Where are the potential gains for the Conservatives? It’s in the Mississaugas and the Scarboroughs.

Ron Chhinzer, the Conservative candidate in the race, is a gang prevention expert and member of the Peel Regional Police Department serving in Mississauga. He did not respond to multiple interview requests.

Brian Gallant, 53, a Conservative voter, said he didn’t know much about Chhinzer but would vote for him nonetheless.

“I’m tired of liberals, and we need a change, we definitely need a change,” he said.

Charles Sousa, Ontario’s finance minister under former Premier Kathleen Wynne, lost his seat in the 2018 provincial election that saw the Liberals go from ruling party to party without official status in the Legislative Assembly .

He said his experience representing the community west of Toronto and navigating government made him the most qualified person for the federal seat.

“People want someone who is positive, open-minded, listens to them and gets things done. And so I try to avoid partisan stuff. I don’t go to the extremes of the spectrum,” said he declared.

“Nothing will change in Ottawa, regardless of the outcome of this election. So who do you want to fight for you and be there for you? I get a lot of positive feedback. »

Joining Sousa in the crowded 40-candidate race – with the vast majority of hopefuls running as independents – is the NDP’s Julia Kole, whose party came third in the last three constituency elections.

Kole, a former constituency staffer for a member of the provincial legislature, suggested those frustrated with the Liberals should turn to the NDP rather than the Conservatives.

“Look at what the NDP has managed to accomplish. At a time when there is a lot of indecision or a lot of decision delays from the Liberal government, we are working to hold them accountable,” she said. “We are small, but we are mighty.”

The by-election was announced after Sven Spengemann, the former Liberal MP, announced earlier this year that he would be stepping down to take up a new post at the United Nations.

Mississauga polls are open from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Mondays, and contact information is available on the Elections Canada website.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on December 12, 2022.

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