Constituents in the North Island-Powell River riding, along with Canadians across the country, will be heading to the polls on September 20, or casting votes earlier via mail-in ballots.
Locally we will watch to see if returning Conservative Party candidate Shelley Downey can close the gap on the NDP's Rachel Blaney, who finished with 23,481 votes in 2019, 3,350 votes ahead of Downey (20,131) to claim the riding. The pair are the only two returning candidates.
Can new Green Party candidate Jessica Wegg improve upon the 8,899 votes earned by her predecessor Mark de Bruijn in this riding in 2019? Will the most recent candidate to join the race, Jennifer Grenz from the Liberal Party, be in the running with the frontrunners or remain in the mix for third place, as Peter Schwarzhoff, who collected 8,151 votes, was in 2019?
Conservative, Green, Liberal and NDP parties secured all but 1.9 per cent of North Island-Powell River votes in 2019. As of press time, six parties had candidates slated to be on the ballot in 2021.
Will the additions of Stacey Gastis (Maverick Party) and Paul Macknight (People’s Party of Canada) split votes collected by the four main parties in the riding last time around and affect the outcome? In 2019, People’s Party candidate Brian Rundle collected 1,066 votes, independent Glen Staples was chosen by 287 voters, and Marxist Leninist candidate Carla Neal received 48 votes.
62,915 valid votes were counted in 2019. Where will those votes go this time?
In the coming weeks, the Peak will interview each candidate to give undecided voters insight into their views and platforms. Stay tuned.