Election '21: Picking sides in the election few people wanted

·4 min read

Election season is in full swing in Niagara-on-the-Lake and longtime Tory supporter Trudy Hildebrand says she has had enough of the Conservative party.

This time she plans to vote for the People's Party of Canada.

“I’ve usually been a Conservative but I am not happy with what (leader Erin) O’Toole stands for. He may as well be a Liberal,” the Virgil resident said.

The Lake Report hit the streets to talk to voters about the election and found some voter discontent – and a lot of people who really don't want an election now.

Hildebrand said the federal Conservative party is no longer concerned with traditional conserative ideals.

She likes People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier. "I like what the party stands for: individualism and freedom,” she said.

“We want our freedom after a year-and-a-half of being locked up. All the other parties are going to continue that and I’m not in favour of that.”

Some voters said they were frustrated with Liberal leader Justin Trudeau calling an election in the middle of a pandemic.

“It’s something that should never have happened, not at this time of the year, not with COVID going on," NOTL resident Vince Marchesano said.

"We don’t even know what's gonna be next and now we have to worry about an election.” Holding the vote now is not responsible, he said.

Nick Tiessen agrees.

“I don’t figure that we should be doing the election. It’s as simple as that. It’s a political trick,” the NOTL resident said.

But he said he’s not angry enough at the Liberals to automatically vote Conservative – for now he said he is undecided.

“On the other hand, we are going along as best as we can (under Liberal leadership),” he said.

Tiessen wasn’t alone in his indecision. Several people said the election is so sudden it is difficult to know at this point who they will support.

“I haven’t made up my mind yet. I don’t really know any (of the candidates),” said Robert Hummel, who lives in Virgil.

Some people were more accepting of the Liberal call for an election, which has been described by many as a cynical move by the Liberals to gain a majority government.

“I kind of get that because I’m all about moving forward,” Dawn Jacot said.

“I would like to see a Liberal majority to bring the country back together because we’ve been torn apart so much with COVID,” her husband Paul said.

He said the Conservative leader lacks leadership qualities.

“To use a wise old phrase of Confucius, ‘O’Toole hasn’t got the right tools,’ ” he joked.

He said Niagara Falls riding Conservative candidate Tony Baldinelli hasn't been vocal enough to gain his support.

“He has been really quite quiet during his tenure, I think. He needs to up his game a bit and get in our face a bit more. Get up there in front of people. I think we need a change and I would love to see (Liberal Andrea Kaiser) get in.”

For Joe Allevato, the party doesn't matter. He is frustrated with inaction on all sides over an issue burdening seniors across the country.

Allevato, who lives in the Village, said pension splitting for seniors living together has become a financial struggle for him and many other seniors whose spouse has died.

Pension splitting was implemented in the Harper era and was beneficial to senior couples living together where one has a bigger pension.

But after a spouse’s death the surviving partner now pays much more income tax on the same amount of money they had previously been drawing.

Allevato sees this as “discriminatory against single individuals who are receiving a pension,” he said in an email to The Lake Report.

“There really is no way to fight it but to talk about it,” Allevato said during an earlier interview.

Allevato said at this point in the election campaign he is leaning toward voting Liberal.

“I was visited yesterday by a couple of patient campaigners who said that Tony Baldinelli would do something about my tax complaint. I think I was told that so they could gracefully escape me,” Allevato saidl.

Toronto resident Steve Fisher was visiting town on Monday. He echoed resentment about Trudeau’s snap election and defended O’Toole.

“He’s not the most charismatic, but I like what he has to say and I think he’s a straight shooter,” Fisher said.

One of his main reasons to support the Conservatives this election was wanton spending by the Liberal government, particularly regarding the election.

“I don’t think (Trudeau’s) going to get (a majority government). So we are going to spend $650 million across the country for nothing,” he said.

“We have to get the finances in this country under control. There was way too much money spent in the wrong places.”

Evan Saunders, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Lake Report

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