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ELECTION PANEL: How will the final week unfold? – World news

ELECTION PANEL: How will the final week unfold? – World news

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The Toronto Sun’s Ontario election campaign panel features a trio of political strategists who offer up their insights and perspectives on the big issues.

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For this edition, they break down how they expect the final 7 days of the campaign to unfold.

CAM HOLMSTROM

We’re past the May long weekend and it’s crunch time in the Ontario election. This race has been sleepy with little movement in the polls. That isn’t due to any great love for the current government as much as it is to a general sense of disengagement with the race so far. And with only a bit more than a week left before election day, there isn’t much runway left.

With that in mind, it’s likely that the most important event left that could change things just happened; the long weekend itself. It’s normal to see polls move after long weekends, when friends and family get together to talk. Chances are good this weekend was the first time that many Ontarians thought about the election. We’ll see over the next few days if the logjam breaks, but if this weekend doesn’t do it, it may not before next week.

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— Cam Holmstrom is Métis, originally from Kenora, and is now a consultant with Ottawa-based Bluesky Strategy Group.

MELANIE PARADIS

The build-up to a change election takes 12-18 months. You need a sustained period of negative sentiment towards a government for a narrative of change to get baked into the minds of voters. We saw that clearly at the end of the Liberals’ reign in 2018. But this is not a change election. Most Ontarians are content the pandemic is over and are looking forward to a stronger future and believe Doug Ford will deliver.

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The Liberals and the NDP are campaigning against each other for official opposition status. Neither have been effective at performing that function for the past four years. I’d wager that both parties are going to end up having leadership contests following this election.

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Del Duca has been an abject failure. His campaign focused on affordability, an area where the Liberals have no credibility against Doug Ford. And Horwath has had four elections. The only change Ontarians need is the leadership of the Liberals and NDP.

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— Melanie Paradis is a veteran Conservative campaigner and 2nd Vice President of the Ontario PC Party.

MUHAMMAD ALI

Most voters begin to really start to formulate who they plan to vote for in the last seven to 10 days of an election. With the debate last week and a long weekend of family and friend get-togethers, we are likely to see a more accurate picture of how voters intend to cast their ballot.

The Ontario Liberals have been trending upwards throughout this election and are seen as the most viable alternative and challenger to the PCs. Recent polling is also demonstrating there are nearly two dozen ridings that are tight races for the PCs which can flip to the Liberals.

The other X factor that isn’t captured in the polls is how strategic voting will come into play. Progressive voters will want to make their vote count in stopping a PC win and with several ridings within 5% margins of victory, ridings like Ottawa West-Nepean, Vaughan-Woodbridge, and Eglinton-Lawrence could be net gains for the Liberals over the PCs.

— Muhammad Ali is a Senior Consultant at Crestview Strategy, political commentator and former Liberal political staffer who has been involved in federal, provincial and municipal elections.  

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