How is the federal election shaping up in Waterloo Region?
Published Wednesday, September 11, 2019 1:10PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 11, 2019 6:31PM EDT
What issues will and will not hit home in and around Waterloo Region?
The Canadian federal election officially began Wednesday morning, with voting day set for Oct. 21.
Political scientist Peter Woolstencroft expects this election to be a fractured one.
"This is a grumpy election," he said. "They're not happy with the leaders or the parties. Nobody is going to go running off the cliff with excitement."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rise from third in the polls to a 2015 victory allowed a number of liberal candidates in the area to ride the wave.
The retired University of Waterloo professor says that’s likely not going to happen this time.
Woolstencroft adds that this election will not be about national unity, which could have an effect on the Liberal majority.
Out of the five ridings in the tri-cities, Kitchener – Conestoga MP Harold Albrecht is the lone member of the Conservative Party of Canada. He’s had his seat since 2006.
Opioids and economy appear to be the two rising issues in Waterloo Region.
Woolstencroft expects downtown Kitchener’s consumption and treatment site, as well as growing unrest with addiction in Cambridge, to be issues for liberal incumbents.
The professor adds that it’s hard to argue with the region’s prosperity on the economy front.
“One of my favourite philosophers is Madonna,” Woolstencroft said. “In one of her songs she says, 'I’m a material girl in a material world.' Between safety and economy: economy wins most of the time.”
A local master's student stresses that the economic subfile of housing could be an issue that turns local voters.
"Of course it would help if wages were higher," she said. "But for some people that's just not something that's going to happen in the near future, so affordable hosuing options are really important."
Kitchener's average rent jumped higher than any other city in Kitchener last year.
Woolstencroft adds the environment could be a third issue that emerges in the election.
"We all live on the planet," said the master's student. "We have a duty to protect it."