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Voters have clear choices in the provincial election

Fasten your seat belts, because it could be quite a ride leading to the June 12 general election. With the three main parties all competitive in the polls, you have to wonder what will make the crucial difference in this campaign.
The Liberals, long in the tooth after 11 years in power, will suffer from the gas plant scandal. But how much might they also be hurt by their new budget’s dubious feat of both boosting the deficit and also raising some taxes? How much will the Tories be hurt by carefully laid out policies that are seen by a whole lot of people as being too right-wing and polarizing? And how much will the NDP be hurt by a perception that under Andrea Horwath the party – at least at this stage – does not stand for much of anything?
But while the three main  parties have these and other vulnerabilities, the good news is that Ontarians will have a choice between Liberal and Progressive Conservative platforms that are starkly different. It was time to have an election. And this election should be a lot about policy, which isn’t always the case.
At the Guelph riding level, things are getting an extra dash of colour with Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner trying to win his party’s first seat in Guelph – where Green candidate Ben Polley came third with an impressive 19.5% of the vote in the 2007 election. James Gordon, who came a close third with 23.9% of the vote in the 2011 election – less than 2% behind PC candidate Greg Schirk – is back again for the NDP.  The Tories, who have been trying someone new every election since Brenda Elliott lost to Liz Sandals in 2003, are hoping Anthony MacDonald can come through the pack to win a race with four serious candidates. And Sandals, who has never scored less than 40% of the vote in winning three straight provincial elections, is now something she never was under Dalton McGuinty – a cabinet minister, and a high-profile one at that as education minister.
It should be fun!

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