“Ben, can I have a sticker for Nathan?” [Rosemary Barton] Stella Ambler has been a Conservative MP before. Did you getting ready for a campaign is nothing new to her. “I’m actually supposed to be there more like 1:00, 1:15.” [Barton] She’s in the office 12 hours a day already surrounded by her team. “Everything okay for today?” [Barton] She clearly relishes it. “Okay, we won’t bump into you.” [Barton] Willie the dog basically lives here now too. “Okay, we’re going out to do a little bit of door.” [Barton] She and every party know that winning these suburban ridings in and around Toronto is key to forming government. “Okay guys, have a good day.” [Barton] Last time Ambler was up against the desire for change. This time she may have to contend with another outside factor beyond her control. Just outside of Toronto Mississauga-Lakeshore has been conservative friendly in the past. To clinch a majority, it’s even clearer. Most of the six seats in Mississauga must be won. “Ontario is open for business.” [Barton] Most recently, this riding voted for Doug Ford’s Conservatives in the last Ontario election. But that was before Ford made cuts to education, the arts, and the environment in a bid to balance the budget. “We have to find small efficiencies across the board. It’s not sustainable.” [Barton] Those cuts may have caused federal conservatives a chance at winning some seats. At one point this spring Doug Ford’s government was polling as low as the previous Liberal government under Kathleen Wynne in its dying days. That was quickly noticed and exploited by Justin Trudeau earlier this year who suggested a vote for one conservative was a vote for another. [Trudeau] “And Andrew Scheer? Andrew Scheer takes his cues from the Ontario premier. So Canadians can expect much of the same if he ever gets elected. Cuts to the Canada child benefit. Cuts to the national housing strategy. Cuts to the OAS and to CPP enhancements. And on climate change in particular, he’s no better.” [Barton] It probably didn’t help that last fall Andrew Scheer was on the cover of a much talked-about issue o MacLean’s posing next to conservative premiers with
similar positions on issues like a carbon tax and government intervention. Including Ford. At the annual summer gathering of the Mississauga Board of Trade the talk is usually about how government choices impact business. But with an election in the offing some of that conservative reluctance is on the table too. “I think he’s — he stirred so many beehives he’s enacted of too many things, too quickly, without a lot of public consultation. And I think it will work against the Federal Conservatives.” “All I can say like a lot of Ontarian’s I’m not exactly happy with the Ontario situation right now.” [Barton] Others say well Ford could be a problem, he is doing what he should. “Premier Ford has issues that he believes are important to Ontario and he is going to be very vocal about those with any federal government. It doesn’t matter what party forms the government. He will put Ontario’s position for it for the betterment of Ontarian’s.” [Barton] The premier himself has said he will stay away from the federal election. Telling reporters this summer he and Andrew Scheer get along well. But Ford says, he has other concerns. “I’ve talked to Andrew and and I’m the Premier of Ontario, I got to worry about Ontario. I’m not getting involved in this
election.” [Barton] It’s unclear whether Ford came to this decision on his own or whether there was some conservative family pressure for him to stay out of things. Federal conservative sources now say they believe the worst of the negative impacts of Ford is over. Unless or until he makes another move that will upset voters. Something they ultimately can’t control. The Sauga 960 radio station as well as it’s Punjabi language station broadcast to the country’s sixth largest municipality. And they certainly have their finger on the pulse. Amik Singh mixing is a full-time nurse but on Saturdays he hosts an hour of political talk. He’s voted for many different parties through the years. He still open-minded. But he follows politics closely and has much to say. What about the Ford thing in this area? Because, you know, he’s been pretty successful. Yeah. In the 905. Well, we’ve seen a lot of U-turns happen for him — From the Ford administration. A lot of protests happening because of you know you look at the autism file, the healthcare file, the infrastructure file. The promises made, promises kept. It is a slogan that they’d like to chime once here and there but what promises are actually keeping and to whom actually they’re beholden to. So Ontarian’s, were looking for a big change but what came with the Ford administration was the same old, same old for the most part and people aren’t
happy with it. [Barton] Singh is worried about healthcare and climate change. And worried young people like himself just won’t end up voting at all. His slightly older colleague Darshan
Maharaja, a chartered accountant who also does a daily show says there may be some regret around Doug Ford but people can make the distinction between him and Andrew Scheer. Among the sophisticated voters they see a difference between how the two levels even at the party level are different. The condition that Ontario was in in June last year was very different from where we are federally. So the sophisticated voter is not hopefully going to buy the argument that Andrew Scheer will do what Doug Ford has done. “Hi, good afternoon. I’m Stella Ambler.” [Barton] That is exactly what Stella Ambler says. Tat Scheer is a different kind of politician and voters are smart enough to make that
distinction. “Good afternoon, hi, I’m Stella Ambler.” “I know you.” “I know you, I voted for you.” “Thank you, excellent.” “And I will again.” “Great, yay!’ [Barton] What about that Doug Ford thing? I mean, I know you know the MPP here in this riding but now they’ve done things and they’ve sort of upset some people. Have you heard any of that stuff? Not a lot, surprisingly. You know, I think people here do sort of get that this is you know that they’re voting against Justin Trudeau or you know, for Andrew Scheer or however you want to say it. I think in their minds they’re separating what needs to be done provincially versus what’s been done like the last four years of Justin Trudeau. So, not everyone thinks of Doug Ford when they think of Andrew Scheer. And Conservatives like Stella Ambler will work hard to prove that over the coming weeks. But the political damage may already have been done in some parts of Ontario. The hope now? That the premier of Canada’s biggest province keeps his promise and stays out of the campaign.