Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

Green victory in Kitchener puts the NPD in difficulty

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The Green Party is anchoring itself a little more in the Ontario and Canadian political landscape. (Archive photo)

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After Aislinn Clancy's large victory Thursday evening in the Kitchener Center by-election, the Green Party for the first time in its history two members of the Ontario Legislative Assembly.

Aislinn Clancy won with 48% of the vote, well ahead of the New Democratic Party (NDP) with 26% of the vote. The heavy defeat could have consequences for the NDP, which forms the official opposition to Doug Ford's Progressive Conservatives with 28 seats at Queen's Park.

This gap is a surprise, even for the Greens, as candidate Aislinn Clancy explains in an interview with Radio-Canada. We thought it would be very close between the Greens and the NDP, she says.

The result is being described as a small earthquake in the Ontario politics by Simon Kiss, associate professor of political science at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo.

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ELSEWHERE ON INFO: The FAE has submitted a counter-offer and is ready to negotiate this weekend

According to the academic, this victory of the Greens calls into question the ambitions of the NDP, which wants to present itself as the best alternative to the Ford government.

In the future, it will be very difficult for the NDP to present itself as the alternative in other ridings in the province when they cannot hold a seat won in 2022.

A quote from Simon Kiss, associate professor of political science at Wilfrid Laurier University

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Simon Kiss is a professor of political science at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Mike Schreiner, the leader of the Ontario Green Party, spoke heavily involved in the campaign for eight months. It was an opportunity to double our numbers and show momentum, explains the provincial deputy.

Today, the Greens have a permanent presence in Canadian political life, adds Mr. Kiss. Part of the Canadian people feel well represented by the Green Party. This part of the electorate is not going to disappear.

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Green Party leader Mike Schreiner was heavily involved in this campaign. (File photo)

Mr. Schreiner, elected to the Guelph riding since 2018, identified that the terrain was ripe for a victory. The issues are very similar to those in Guelph and they are two very close communities, he notes. And Kitchener Center is represented by a Green Party of Canada MP in Ottawa.

Our message on housing resonated in Kitchener. "Yes" to build more housing than ordinary people can afford in the communities they love and know. This is a message to other parties.

A quote from Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario

He also notes the existence of a strong climate movement in Kitchener. Ms. Clancy completes: We were lucky to have a lot of people willing to give, not big companies or rich families or friends.

It says about 75 percent of donors lived in the district and the average donation was $200.

Turnout was only 27%, a low but classic turnout for a by-election. The NDP lost 9,000 votes and the Greens gained 6,000 votes, Kiss notes. It is clear that NDP voters have changed their vote, analyzes the political scientist.

In her mandate, Ms. Clancy wants to invest in the fight against renovation-evictions. Current tools are not effective in protecting tenants, she believes.

With only two elected officials, Mr. Schreiner notes that to be effective , a Green elected official must work across divisions.

From a more strategic point of view, Mr. Kiss believes that the party must decide to target constituencies where they can win future seats. The next provincial elections are scheduled for 2026.

With information from Jean-Loup Doudard

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