Plenty of options on the ballot for H-LA voters

Voters in Hastings-Lennox and Addington have no shortage of choices when it comes to casting their ballot in Canada’s 44th election on Sept. 20.

No fewer than six candidates have thrown their hat in the ring, vying to be the next MP of this great riding-none of them the incumbent.

Quantity isn’t the only thing that jumps out when looking at the choices, but diversity. Though there may be some overlap in platforms between the six candidates, there figures to be a wide variety of differences in party policies well. That means odds are pretty good that local voters will be able to find a candidate that most aligns with their interests.

The flip side of a lot of choices means possible vote splitting. Voting for a candidate that really lines up with one’s political leanings could ultimately mean someone from the opposite end of the spectrum gets in. Voting strategically could come in to play but generally speaking this reporter says the more choices, the better. To really be considered a democracy then any candidate who meets the requirements to appear on a ballot should have their chance to run for office.

In the grand scheme of things, Hastings-Lennox and Addington won’t be the riding that swings the election one way or another. A vote cast here may not play a huge role in who ultimately is elected prime minister, but if the last two elections are any indication, a handful of votes here and there can make a huge difference in who speaks on Parliament Hill on H-LA’s behalf.

Each candidate will have a chance to make their pitch to undecided voters on Tuesday when the Napanee District Chamber of Commerce hosts an all-candidates meeting at the Lion’s Hall. Whether or not every candidate will be present was not known at press time, but every candidate was offered an invite and will be given equal time to talk. Candidates will not know the questions ahead of time.

COVID-19 protocols means seating will be extremely limited to attend the event live, but the event will be streamed on Facebook Live. That should make the event more accessible for the community as the meeting can be viewed at any time following the live broadcast. That brings with it several benefits. In particular it lets viewers hear every question and everyone’s answer rather than relying on a second hand account. While the Beaver will endeavor to cover the event as best as possible, the fact is it will be impossible to recount the event in its entirety in print. Hearing the candidates speak for themselves eliminates any potential bias as well. Voters can decide for themselves whether they liked a candidate’s answer or not. The more information a voter can have prior to casting a ballot, the better for everyone involved. Given the quick turnaround of this election, residents don’t have a wealth of time to do a deep dive of research on each candidate or their platform. That means next Tuesday’s all-candidates meeting is just as crucial for the candidates as it is the undecided voter.

Adam Prudhomme

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