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Essex: A battle ground between the NDP and the PC

Essex, a provincial electoral district in Southwestern Ontario, appears to be a riding poised for change. Current MPP Taras Natyshak has represented the constituency for the NDP since elected to office in 2011. He was re-elected in 2018 with 47.9% of the electorate (26,134 votes).

That year, the PC took 42.9% of the vote. The margin of victory was 2,711 votes. The Liberals fell back with 5.5%. Prior to 2011, the late Bruce Crozier represented the riding for the Liberals between the years 1999 and 2011.

This year, the riding could prove to be a tough competition between the NDP and the PC. According to the latest projections by (April 2), which uses algorithms that considers the results from major polls, place the CP at 41% , ahead of the NDP by one point. (See graph above)

After representing the district for more than a decade, Natyshak is not seeking re-election. Instead, candidate Ron LeClair aims to hold the district for the NDP.

When contacted, LeClair responded with the Party platform. He indicated his top priorities include better access to quality health and long-term care and ensuring a new hospital gets built for residents in Windsor-Essex. In line with the NDP’s objectives, he said he would advocate for investments in education and green manufacturing, particularly in the auto sector.

The stage is set for the challenger PC candidate, Anthony Leardi. He also said his number one priority for the residents of Essex is the construction of a new regional hospital. He told the Corriere that the PC are focused on making it more affordable and more accessible for people to get into the skilled trades. “It’s all part of getting Ontario moving again” he said. He pointed to infrastructure improvements to promote that movement. “The process is already underway to expand Highway 3 to four lanes”, he added.

Liberal Candidate Manpreet Brar shared key issues which align with the concerns addressed by her Party. They focus on things like the need to make healthcare more affordable and accessible for all individuals. Another objective of their plan is to improve education through prioritizing in-person learning and better supports for students to close learning gaps.

The constituency of Essex in situated at the Southwestern tip of Ontario. It is to home to a vibrant population of 125,440 residents and has been popular among immigrants, specifically those of European heritage. For instance, Statistics Canada says more than 96,600 people in the area originate from Europe, according to the 2016 Census.

Italians, in particular, make up 11% of the district’s population. That represents 13,585 people who self-identify as of Italian origin, one of the highest concentrations of Italians in Southwestern Ontario. They are citizens and have a culture of voting. We will see if this holds true.

District Map: Elections Ontario. Inset: Wikipedia, SimonP

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