Mark Clairmont |

PARRY SOUND-MUSKOKA — Voters were lined up early at the first chance to cast a ballot this morning.

“It’s always like this the first hour,” said poll clerk Jack Cline, as dozens of Gravenhurst residents who had waited to get in for the 9:30 a.m. opening poured in to the Gravenhurst legion.

And they wasted no time in voting.

They were in an out quickly, between five and 10 minutes.

That was fine with Jack Smyka and his wife Peggy, who were in a hurry to go golfing near Port Perry.

They knew who they were voting for, but wouldn’t say which party.

Rick Appleton said he gave up moose hunting, which began Saturday, to vote. He said it’s going to rain the next few days, so he wanted to get in early.

Cliff and Pat Flavell were in and out fast and said they were “glad it’s over.”

They “didn’t like” the negativism of the campaign combatants.

They said they only decided last Tuesday, while at the Gravenhurst Active Living Centre, where they are still very active.

Clarence Dean, 27, who works at Giant Tiger, said he’d been “humming and hawing” for a week about which way to cast his ballot.

“I didn’t watch as much as I think I should have,” he admitted, adding “I’m trying to be more informed.”

Donna Toner, who just moved to Gravenhurst last Nov. 20 from Barrie, wasn’t sure till lately who would get her vote.

Though she was leaning one way.

She said she didn’t have enough information to decide.

“There could have been more.

She was dismayed at not seeing any candidates at her James Street door.

“They didn’t even leave any literature,” she bemoanted.

“I’m home a lot.”

The retired engineering firm executive assistant said “there was so much B.S.”

And she said “why not have more integrity.

“Why say what they can’t promise.”

She said she actually looked around Gravenhurst at the election signs to see what other people were thinking.

“I thought maybe they know more about the MP than I know.”

One undecided voter going in was “J.T.”

“It’s tough,” he said.

“I’m 66, single and on a fixed income.”

He said none of the parties promised him anything for his demographic group.

“There’s not one party doing anything for me. It’s so discouraging.”

He said he had narrowed it down to the Liberals or Greens.

He promised to say later, after he voted, who he had chosen.

Meanwhile, inside, the legion hall was busy with a constant flow of voters — more than 50 in the first 20 minutes alone.

Greeter Jack Passmore, who was at the main entrance on the west side of the building checking voter cards, was in a very pleasant mood.

Wearing a sports jacket and broad smile, he directed voters inside toward the right voting desk.

One woman who went in with her husband had to go back out to her car to get licence as her I.D.

“I guess I could have,” she said with her own smile when asked if her husband couldn’t have vouched for her.

Shortly after, J.T. emerged with a sense of satisfaction.

And so …?

“I voted Green,” he said without hesitation.

And why?

“I got grandchildren. We gotta do something for the future — for the environment.

“I remember when I was a kid growing up, my sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper.”

The sun was out and voters couldn’t wait in Gravenhurst to help decide who will be the next MP for Parry Sound-Muskoka.
Voters had plenty of help at both the east and west entrances to the legion today, as a steady stream of voters quickly came, voted and left seemingly pleased by the experience.

Email Mark Clairmont at


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