Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com
PARRY SOUND-MUSKOKA — The fight for the right — to represent this riding.
That’s how it looks today 11 days out from the federal election, Sept. 20.
As advance polling starts tomorrow, there are few visible signs of a campaign in progress.
No wonder voters are left to fend for themselves when it comes to deciding who to cast their waiting ballots for a week next Monday.
And are relying solely on the national leaders to preach about what they stand for.
The hustings are uniquely different this pandemic year.
Local candidates are most literally non-existent — but virtually visible.
They’ve only gone to ground with street signs and limited in-person visitations or door-knocking where they hope to talk politics — and not just pandemic.
Advanced polling is from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept 10 to Monday, Sept 13.
See where your advanced poll is going to the Elections Canada site here:
If you’re a senior like much of the riding, or not online, you’re out of luck.
But if you are, a couple have active social media sites they rely on and that are actually useful and easily searchable.
New Democrat Heather Hay is running a good campaign that way.
The Green Party also presents its views relatively well:
Both appear to have a lot of volunteer support they hope to transform in to vote.
The People’s Party, too, is accessible at People’s Party of Canada Parry Sound and Muskoka Electoral District Association (ppcparrysoundmuskoka.ca)
Liberal Jovanie Nicoyishakiye isn’t making much of a play as a parachute candidate and realistic party placeholder.
And surprisingly, a campaign site for Conservative candidate Scott Aitchison is not easily found anywhere.
Though as the incumbent he may not need to.
Odd for the MP who continues his wage his two-year, one-track laudable campaign for improved broadband.
Good thing there is a English language TV debate tonight Canadians can tune in to for free.
This week the first-time member of Parliament praised his party’s plan to “lower cell phone and internet bills and improve broadband access.
He calls it a “game changer” — in the same way Conservative and Liberals did before him and the NDP and Greens continue to so.
It’s the same drum Aitchison has beaten since being elected in 2019.
And what has changed?
Well, hopefully you’re reading this with ease.
“Canadians pay some of the highest cell phone and Internet rates in the world,” Aitchison said in a release. “Here in Parry Sound-Muskoka, as we learned during the pandemic, access to reliable cell and Internet service is critical.”
Aitchison says lack of competition, and CRTC favouritism for the incumbents, are two factors driving up wireless costs.
“The Conservative plan to stimulate competition and make strategic investments in rural broadband will be a game-changer for the people of Parry Sound-Muskoka,” Aitchison says.
His leader Erin O’Toole says: “We are the only choice to secure the future and ensure affordable cell phone service for you and your family.”
Aitchison says Conservatives will:
- Allow international telecommunications companies to provide services to Canadian consumers, provided that the same treatment is reciprocated for Canadian companies in that company’s home country.
- Build up digital infrastructure to connect all of Canada to high-speed Internet by 2025, ensuring that all Canadians have reliable access to the Internet regardless of where they live.
- Make investments in rural broadband and lowering prices a necessary criteria of winning spectrum auctions and apply “use-it-or-lose-it” rules that require telecommunication companies to immediately begin building infrastructure to connect customers.
- Empower local communities and businesses by promoting investment in their own wireless and broadband projects and reducing local and regional dependence on the national telecommunications giants.
Further right, the People’s Party of Canada People’s Party of Canada Parry Sound and Muskoka Electoral District Association (ppcparrysoundmuskoka.ca) candidate James Tole gathered about two dozen supporters to Gull Lake Rotary Park in Gravenhurst Saturday for a sign-distribution day.
He and his brightly-coloured entourage were encouraging riding residents to seek out answers before voting.
Read, look, listen — compare — he said in an accompanying interview attached here.
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