Ottawa South Liberal incumbent admits he's behind as he launches new signs
Ottawa South Liberal incumbent John Fraser is publicly admitting for the first time that his campaign is falling behind.
In a series of tweets, Fraser urged voters to look at the poll data and vote strategically. The Liberal candidate took the drastic step of releasing his own internal polling data based on a few hundred voters in his riding, showing the Liberals at 30.94% to PC candidate Karin Howard's 34.30% and NDP candidate Eleanor Fast's 17.26%. The Green Party candidate Les Scram is at 2.47%.
"I have been getting questions at the door on how people should Vote Strategically to Stop Doug Ford - Here are the Facts of a recent poll done for Ottawa South," Fraser wrote on Twitter. "Don’t believe the hype. Since confederation, #ottawa south has always been a battle between Lib and Con. If you want to stop a Doug Ford PC, I need your support."
But that's not the only last-ditch measure Fraser's campaign has taken to gain support. Non-descript election signs across Ottawa-South have also started popping up. The signs, which have no mention of the Liberal Party, read "STOP Doug Ford. Vote John Fraser."
"We have used black & yellow election signs during last 2 elxns and in 2003," Fraser wrote on Twitter in response to a question. "Colours are not new, but the msg is - a call to action for all those people who don't want to see a Doug Ford candidate in Ottawa South."
They are certainly eye-catching as you drive down Johnston Road in Ottawa's south end and that, of course, is the purpose.
“They're effective,” says Harry McPeak, on his bicycle travelling along Johnston Road a lot of people are looking at them and thinking twice about their voting.”
They are called Burma Shave signs, after an American shaving cream company that was known for its sequential highway road signs in the 1920's.
It was a winning advertising campaign for Burma Shave back then Liberal candidate John Fraser is hoping the concept will work for him now. In the last day or so, he's placed dozens of these signs throughout Ottawa South.
“The signs are a call to action to say if you don't want Doug Ford in the premier's office,” says Fraser, “then I need your support on June 7th so I can do that.”
Some may assume the lack of Liberal red in these black and yellow signs is an attempt to distance the candidate from the leader.
Christopher Waddell is a professor of Journalism and Communications at Carleton University, “Clearly the Liberals are worried in a riding where one, at the start of a campaign, would have thought they shouldn't have been worried at all.”
Conservative candidate Karin Howard thinks the signage is a little more sinister than that.
“To try to scare people or manipulate people to vote a certain way is disingenuous to use a large word,” Howard said, “It's a dirty trick.”
Students at Hillcrest Highschool in Ottawa South aren't allowed to release the results of their vote, cast among fellow students today. And while most of them are too young to vote, this is one election they wish they could.
“If you're not trying to steer your country in the direction you'd like to see it grow and prosper in,” says 19-year-old Timothy Gregory, “you're throwing away an opportunity to shape the future.”
“I will say this for the parties,” adds 17-year-old Jong Suk Lim, “If you sacrifice principles for short term victory, you'll end up with neither victory nor principle.”
A liberal stronghold, Ottawa-South has been red since 1987 when Dalton McGuinty Sr. was voted into power. McGuinty's son, also named Dalton, took over in 1990 and went on to be Premier.
Fraser, known as the face of Dalton McGuinty's constituency office, won the riding in a 2013 by-election.
Prior to 1987, the Progressive Conservatives won 14 consecutive elections dating back to the early 1900s.
Ottawa- South is the second oldest of eight Ottawa ridings.