Federal elections: a fight between two men in the center of York, Ontario

The riding scale in York Center, north of Toronto, is politically divided. Along Wilson Street, which crosses the precinct, we meet Ready Meals Jews as community members and Filipino businesses congregate in the east, giving way to a chain of small, multi-ethnic businesses in the west. At the same time, more conservative voters are giving way to a more liberal population.

For nearly 25 years, Liberals have won riding, both regionally and federally. But the stronghold shook over time. In 2004, former Montreal Canadiens goalkeeper Ken Dryden, a liberal, was elected to the House of Commons by 11,000 votes. His majority waned, and after his third term, he was defeated by Mark Adler, the first riding Conservative MP in 50 years.

If the Conservatives have a good national campaign and the Liberals don’t have much, the Conservatives will win York’s position

The Liberals were re-elected for the next two terms, but the 2011 scenario could happen again this year. Polling expert Loren Pozinov says a recent regional survey by his company, Forum Research, found support for the York Center’s Conservative Party has increased. He said that increase is enough for his victory on September 20. “If the Conservatives have a good national campaign and the Liberals don’t have much, the Conservatives will win York’s position,” pollster Eli Yotofeev, who once lived in horseback riding, said.

met before duty In her constituency office, Liberal MP Yara Sachs, who was partially elected in October 2020, insists that the 2011 Conservative Party election was just a passing anomaly. “Conservatives are spending time and time again on issues that are divided rather than creating uniform policies, and that is what happened in 2011,” the MP said.

For Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, the gap was less than four percentage points between his party and the Liberals in the 2020 segment – a margin that would have been smaller, without the party leader present. The famous Canadian Maxime Bernier – was proof that Canadians « [perdaient] Trust me Justin Trudeau”.

Pro-Israel conservatives

Mr O’Toole can thank former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper for turning York Center into a winnable constituency for the Blues over the past 15 years. By the turn of the 2000s, the Conservative Party had increasingly defended Israel on the international stage, even if it meant losing a seat on the United Nations Security Council. As a result, clearance operations like York Center and its neighbor Willowdale, which has large Jewish communities, moved to the Conservatives in 2011 for the first time in decades and helped give Stephen Harper a majority in the House of Commons. At the end of the 2011 election, 52% of Canadian Jews voted for the Conservative Party, according to an Ipsos-Reid poll.

The liberals, for their part, last June, to the chagrin of some party members, welcomed criticism of Israel in their ranks. After an internal dispute within the Green Party, New Brunswick MP Jenica Atwin closed the door after accusing Israel of pursuing apartheid. His arrival in the Liberal Party, more than a thousand kilometers from Toronto, could have a “huge impact” on the opinion of voters in the York Center, says Eli Yetofeev. Much like Erin O’Toole’s decision, if elected, to move the Canadian embassy to Jerusalem.

Yara Sacks, who is proudly known as an Israeli-Canadian, makes no secret of her disagreement with the comments of her new roommate. Jenica Atwin joined the Liberal Party. “We didn’t join it,” the member says.

Filipino Canadians weight

A huge billboard of liberal Ya’ara Saks overlooks the easternmost constellation of Filipino companies, known as Little Manila. Grant Gonzalez of the Canadian Philippine Political Association’s Working Group estimates that one in five constituency residents have Filipino roots.

Data from Statistics Canada in 2016 revealed that 30% of patients in the country are Filipino-Canadians. I don’t think health care workers — whether they are Filipinos or not — have reached that point,” Grant Gonzalez suggests.

Although often seen as liberal, the community mostly includes first-generation Christians with conservative values, he analyzes.

“I think I’m voting for conservatives, but I don’t know the candidates yet,” a Filipino voter notes in front of a supermarket. A few minutes later, Astrid Tedesco, who is from the same community, both hands on a pram, expressed interest in learning more about Jagmeet Singh, but acknowledged that the convergent results between liberals and conservatives in the last election in the constituency could affect his vote.

Coffee on hand in a mall parking lot, Alla Lenitsky is adamant: “The Liberal Party is doing a terrible job.” The owner of a concrete housing development company believes the prime minister has added too much to the federal debt during the pandemic. “We have to take out the liberals,” she said. Torontonian, who has backed the Conservative Party for 15 years, believes “an early call for an election will haunt Justin Trudeau”.

About twenty minutes’ walk to the west, in front of a pharmacy where he works as a clerk, Hilton explains between two puffs of a cigarette that he remains indifferent to the countryside. “If my wife decides to vote for the liberals, I will vote for the liberals,” he says. However, he is monitoring the management of the epidemic in the United States, where members of his family live. He believes Canada has been slow to introduce driving tests. “The United States offered it long before us,” he says.

still new

In the northwest of the precinct, as she’s been running from house to house, Yara Sacks is still trying to reveal herself. She was elected ten months ago, a few weeks before the start of the third wave of the pandemic. A pamphlet in hand, some elderly voters don’t recognize her behind her mask. “This is me,” she said, pointing at the handout. On his balcony sits a voter wondering about the conduct of elections. When were we supposed to call this election? He asks in confusion.

Les libéraux ont misé pour la première fois sur une femme dans York-Centre en 2019. « J’habite dans cette circonscription — c’est la première fois que ça arrive pour un député ici —, ma mère aussi, mes grands-parents habitaient this too. “It’s important to be a representative of the community,” she says. The Conservative Party has introduced Julius Tiangson, a Filipino-Canadian businessman, partial for 2020. He was replaced by Joel Etienne, a lawyer and French speaker, in the September 20 elections. The two men declined .’s interview requests Should.

York Center is a pivotal constituency and clearly has an interest in this election. According to Loren Buzinov, it is likely that liberal candidate Yara Sachs and her conservative opponent Joel Etienne will be entitled to visit their leaders. “If Erin O’Toole comes to the York Center, it’s because internal Conservative polls show he’s doing well in the country; if Justin Trudeau is coming in, the Liberals are worried.”


This story is supported by the Local Press Initiative, with funding from the Government of Canada.

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