If you check out electionprediction.org, you’ll find a few comments on Haliburton Kawartha Lakes-Brock (HKLB). One writer, M. Lunn, opines, “A boring rural Tory stronghold, only interest is do they get over 50 per cent or not, not whether they win this.”
Yes, folks, the summer holidays have ended, the kids are back in school and a federal election could be less than 46 days away.
As reported in our front-page story, as of press time today, there are five candidates vying for the job of representing us in Ottawa: Incumbent Conservative Jamie Schmale; Liberal candidate Judi Forbes; NDP hopeful Barbara Doyle; the Greens Elizabeth Fraser and the People’s Party of Canada’s Gene Balfour.
We’ll do our best to introduce the candidates to readers over the next six weeks via both profiles and questions and answers addressing some of the issues near and dear to the hearts of Haliburton County voters.
We’ll also be there on Wednesday, Oct. 9 for the all candidates meeting being hosted by the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce and CARP, at 7 p.m. at the Pinestone.
You may have also noticed that we have been collaborating with the Concerned Citizens of Haliburton County (CCHC) on a series of non-partisan columns on our op-ed pages.
Going back to M. Lunn above, and to provide a little history to newcomers to the riding, HKLB has indeed been a Tory stronghold. It’s been blue since 1968, with the exception of an 11-year-period when it was held by the Liberals’ John O’Reilly, between 1993-2004.
There have only been three Tory reps in all of that time, Bill Scott, Barry Devolin and Schmale.
When the country turned red in 2015, HKLB remained blue though the swing was just over 17 per cent, with Schmale still getting just over 44 per cent of support, compared to Devolin’s 60 per cent in 2011.
As the CCHC have been writing, we encourage readers to do their homework; select a candidate and party that best represents their views, and, above all else, vote. In 2015, about 68 per cent of eligible voters marked a ballot in HKLB. That was up from about 63 per cent in 2011. We were just slightly above the national average. It’s a trend we would like to see continue.