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Will voters colour the new Bay of Quinte riding blue, orange or red?

Rotary Club of Picton moderator Bill Edwards with NDP candidate Joanne Belanger’s campaign manager, and husband, Terry Cassidy, Liberal candidate Robert Quaiff and PC candidate Todd Smith.

Thursday is election day in Ontario and while many people say they’re undecided, or feel none of the options at the helm is appealing, advance voter turnout is 18.8 per cent higher than in 2014.

Elections Ontario estimates 768,895 voters made their decision at advance polls this year. In 2014, 647,261 people voted in advance.

If voters get caught up in the larger provincial campaign, local name recognition may not matter if citizens consider “least-worst” options for the seat of Premier. The provincial campaign has been fought largely on personalities with the argument that policies for the three parties either don’t stand up, or don’t exist.

In the latest news, PC leader Doug Ford is being sued by his late brother’s widow in a $16.5 suit that alleges mismanagement of family money. He states he’s shocked by the allegations.
Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne has unprecedently admitted her own defeat but is calling on voters to choose Liberal candidates to avoid NDP or Tory party majorities.
And NDP leader Andrea Horwath is telling voters to ‘imagine’ Ontario under Doug Ford and is defending activist candidates saying people do ‘radical’ things for change.

With the Tory vote predicted to be widespread throughout the province, the party could lose the popular vote, but still win the majority of seats.

A PC majority remains likely if you believe polls. Tuesday, Pollara for Maclean’s put PCs at 38 per cent; NDP at 37 and Liberals at 20 while Mainstreet Research states the Tories are at 39 per cent, the NDP at 34 and the Grits at 20.

But the fact remains that all voters don’t have the time, or the interest, to wade through cleverly-worded platforms, attend all debates, or visit candidates’ offices. For some, their final choice could come down to the moment they place their ‘x’ on the ballot – justified by key words or headlines they’ve remembered over the campaign, personal impressions of the candidates, or conversations with friends and neighbours.

Advanced Symbolics, a company that uses artificial intelligence to track hundreds of thousands of citizen responses and social media postings, has been featured on TVO’s The Agenda throughout the election.

“Polly” as its algorithm is known, is predicting the NDP could upset the PCs provincially. TVO reports Polly is now examining the Bay of Quinte area as one of 14 ridings that have been leaning PC, but which could change to NDP. It happened in 1990 when New Democrat Paul Johnson won the renamed riding of Prince Edward Lennox-South Hastings. Since it has been Liberal red and PC blue.

PC Candidate Todd Smith is the incumbent and a former well-known radio broadcaster. Robert Quaiff, Liberal candidate, is the well-known mayor of Prince Edward County. Joanne Belanger, NDP candidate, is lesser-known, but has a long history of social services and works as chaplain at Nicholson Catholic College.

They spoke to Picton Rotarians Tuesday during a lunch-hour meeting at The Waring House. Belanger was working, and was represented by her campaign manager, and husband, Terry Cassidy. There was no personality bashing and no darts or bullets as they mostly re-hashed positions on topics they’ve covered over eight debates riding-wide this campaign.
(Click here for Wellington’s debate coverage;  and here for the report on Picton’s all-candidates’ event)

Below, is a capture of their final remarks at the meeting:

Incumbent Todd Smith, PC:
“It comes down to this. We need to get our economy ticking again and make sure we have good-paying jobs in Ontario. We have to make sure that Ontario is a competitive place to do business. If we do that, then we will be able to pay for all of these different programs that we need in our community to rely on. I have been a very strong advocate for Prince Edward County in the legislature and want to continue to do that. We have to get the fundamentals right in the province if we’re going to create growth in Prince Edward County and across the region. I think we’re best suited to do that. Nobody in this room would say that we run a very efficient government in Ontario, I’m sure. There’s so much waste in government we see, whether it’s the new pharmacare program the government has brought forward – fraught with waste; there’s so many examples where money has been wasted and could be better spent. The size of our bureacracy in Ontario now outpaces the amount we’re paying for health care workers. These are things we need to address. Programs we’re offering need to be run more efficiently. There really needs to be a steady hand there and we’ve got a great team. I look forward to working with our team at Queen’s Park should we form the government Thursday night.”

Terry Cassidy, reading remarks for Joanne Belanger, NDP:
As your MPP for the Bay of Quinte I will work hard on your behalf to ensure that improvements to our health care system – especially the rebuilding of your hospital and bringing dialysis to Trenton Memorial – will happen. That education will put children first; that there will be affordable child care for all working families, as well as affordable and available housing and good public transportation and well-maintained infrastruture, just to name a few things. An NDP government wants to work for stakeholders, not download to them. We would never put wind turbines in your community and we would consult with and support. We will encourage innovation and small business retention and work with chambers of commerce and federations of agriculture to ensure that small rural communities are not a Toronto after-thought. We don’t have to go from bad to worse, we can change for the better.”

Robert Quaiff, Liberal:
“I’ve been a great advocate for Prince Edward County and dedicated about 17 years to the public life here. I’ve enjoyed each and every minute. It’s been an honour and a privilege for me to have served this beautiful municipality and I’d really like the opportunity to do that as an MPP. That includes Quinte West and Belleville because we were able to make some really good relationships with the Belleville mayor and the mayor of Quinte West and even the warden of Hastings County and the great things we’ve been able to accomplish. I discovered that I was a Liberal because I like to find solutions to problems, and that’s what it’s all about. That’s why I decided to put my name forward. Why I believe in the values of the free medication for those under 25: the young mom that sat in my office a week ago that was so supportive of the Liberal government because her two young sons needed puffers and medication and so far, in the first three months, that saved her $700 – $700 that she can put toward going back and forth to Loyalist College so that she can finish her ECE diploma. The 100,000 child care spots that we are opening up; the long-term care beds that we need. We have to rebuild H.J. McFarland Home very, very soon and we need to have those additional beds. We have a new hospital coming. We have all kinds of things coming – the prescription drugs for seniors the $600 per couple; those are all things that we have provided for. They are the things that we have listened to what the people of Ontario say they need.”

On election day, Thursday, bring your Voter Information Card and one piece of identification to the poll noted on your card between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

You will see seven names on the ballot:
Belanger, Joanne – NDP
Bordonaro, Paul – Independent
Davidson, Cindy – Libertarian
Daye, Mark – Green Party
Engelsman, James – Trillium
Quaiff, Robert – Liberal
Smith, Todd – PC

Pick one.

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  1. Dennis Fox says:

    The speculation about what our Mayor is doing will soon be over – he is holding a press conference today(10 am) at Shire Hall to explain his future plans – according to the Quinte News site.

  2. Dennis Fox says:

    Oh, won’t that just be great – Dougie’s subsidized “buck a beer” and 10 cents/litre gas – while he privatizes our healthcare.

  3. Chuck says:

    I think the most important issue is to get that “buck a beer” in the corner store asap.

  4. Snowman says:

    Because you don’t like/agree with Robert Quaiff, does not change the Municipal Act. He is still the Mayor, elected by
    the voters. The Act states he did not have to resign,and so he hasn’t. Quaiff is following the rules laid down in the Act. If you want the Municipal Act changed, lobby Todd Smith and Doug Ford.
    Don’t ask to have the rules changed in the middle of the game to suit your wishes.

  5. Dennis Fox says:

    I think people need to step back and appreciate what Quaiff tried to do. As our Mayor, he knows this community pretty well – I would rather have a person like that running for provincial office here, than to have either a low profile candidate or someone “flown in” like what took place in some other ridings. The fact that he stepped down temporarily to run for another office doesn’t make him a bad guy nor disloyal to PEC council – rather it improves our state of democracy and gave the incumbent some good competition.

    As far as the Acting Mayor goes – I have nothing against Diane O’Brien – but she is only an acting mayor, she understood this when she took over. Also she is a person that no one in our community voted for in that capacity. Do we really want a Mayor from Ameliasburgh, plus three councillors as well? Remember she was “appointed” by council and how democratic is that”

    Instead of being critical of Quaiff, I believe we owe him a thanks for wanting to represent us at a higher level of government – God knows we need it! Just to be clear – if a municipal election were held tomorrow, I have no idea who I would vote for – Quaiff hasn’t entirely please me either – but I am willing to at least listen and to respect what he tried to do.

  6. Mark says:

    When it comes to Cabinet decisions their are financial supporters in the equation and power individuals. It is their reward as they seek influence. Always been that way.

  7. Susan says:

    I agree. While I like Robert, he chose to leave and step away to further his own ambitions. It serves no purpose to now come back to Council.

  8. Emily says:

    Acting Mayor O’Brien has done a great job and Council seems to be pleased with her leadership reflective by recent positive decisions. She also is low profile without the almost daily photo ops. Quaiff should let this Council finish their work.

  9. Fred says:

    I can’t understand Robert Quaiff taking a shot at this when everyone knew early on the Liberals were going to be crushed.He finishes a dismal third and if he got 3 times the vote he still loses. Poor political choice especially since he had fought against the Wynne Liberals so hard as Mayor.I think he is done!

  10. Dennis Fox says:

    Thanks Gary for the info. It will be interesting to see what comes about.

  11. Dennis Fox says:

    In today’s Star, it reported on Ford’s transition team which is typical. However, the article also reported on some of the likely big players to be in his new cabinet – a lot of familiar names such as, Mulroney, Elliot, etc… but no Smith. This doesn’t make it a done deal, but considering how big Ford’s promises re: Energy have been, I would have expected to see the past Energy Critic (Smith) included.

  12. Gary Mooney says:

    Gary, how about spending two mintes doing fact checking.

    Todd is Energy Critic — see

    John is Labour and Training Critic and Opposition Whip — see

  13. Snowman says:

    In a private conversation with Leona Dombrowski, (who fell to Todd Smith 3 elections ago BTW ), these words came from her lips: I am a minister in the cabinet.It is my job to support my government’s position. That position is that there will be wind Turbines in Ontario.
    I have no doubt, now that he is sitting on the governing side of the Legislature, that Todd Smith, whether in Cabinet or out,will utter the very same words, privately any number of times.
    Ford will have his back room boys, (non politicians) who
    will tell Todd Smith where and when and how much.
    Anyone who thinks that is not the case is out of touch with the reality of politics in 2018.
    In fact, many years ago James Taylor,probably one of our better MLA’s in recent memory, discovered this very fact and was dropped from cabinet.
    For sure, Todd will deliver on the hospital and sex ed and freezing the minimum wage ( probably for years to come) and firing Hydro one millionaires and on and on.
    But when it comes down to what’s good for The Progressive(?)Conservative Party of Ontario(aka Doug Ford) vs PEC, you know who’s winning that one.

  14. Emily says:

    Well Dennis, I will just say there is a huge difference between being a bark dog opposition critic in the legislature and actually being the Minister in charge of energy in Canada’s largest province. A lot different than just criticizing without having to deliver change.

  15. Dennis Fox says:

    Does it matter what role Todd Smith played in the past? He received a lot of support for his position opposing wind turbines in PEC. Now it is up to him to deliver on his promise to stop them.

  16. Gary says:

    MPP John Yakabuski has been the Energy Critic. Todd was Critic for the Hydro One sale.

  17. Gary Mooney says:

    Gary, Todd has been the PC Party’s Energy Critic for at least a couple of years. He also had additional responsibility as critic for the privatization of Hydro One.

  18. Gary says:

    I doubt Smith who was just a hydro critic not an energy critic would be in line for a cabinet post particularly since he called Ford desperate and erratic. Accuracy of a comment does not always reap rewards.

  19. Dennis Fox says:

    Anyone who believes that Tod Smith will stop turbines in PEC is dreaming.

  20. Gary says:

    The only thing green about Industrial Wind Turbines is the greenbacks going to the foreign developers for unreliable power we do not need.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Really disappointed to see that NDP will not put wind turbines in PEC. Like ever? I was expecting to see more progression towards green energy from NDP…

  22. Chuck says:

    The riding goes Tory Blue with little doubt. Libs and NDP split the opposition vote. Perfect storm for Todd.

  23. Dennis Fox says:

    Does Todd Smith believe the public are out of touch? He claims that our economy is weak and that he wants better paying jobs. REALLY? Apparently he doesn’t know that the Ontario economy and unemployment rate is the best that it has been in over 20 years – plus his party doesn’t support increasing the minimum wage!! Smith seems to be talking out of both sides of his mouth – probably because his party doesn’t have a platform. While he advertises increase healthcare spending, the Ontario Health Coalition has information showing that Ford plans to cut the Ontario budget by $22 BILLION – and increase the tax cuts to the rich and big business. So just how does Todd Smith explain this to the public?

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