Ridings to watch in Guelph and Waterloo region

A lot has changed locally since the last time voters headed to the polls for a provincial election. In 2018, Waterloo region elected three Progressive Conservative and two NDP representatives, while Guelph made history by voting in the first Green MPP, Mike Schreiner.

Reflecting on the last provincial election, Wilfrid Laurier University associate professor of political science Andrea Perrella says the NDP benefited from defecting Liberal voters in 2018.

“Are they going to stay voting NDP or are they going to go back to the Liberals? Or are they going to scatter about,” Perrella said.

A shift away from the NDP could impact the races in Waterloo and Kitchener Centre, where NDP candidates were able to handily claim victory by large margins last time. “Are they going to keep it?” Perrella asks. “I’m thinking they will, but I’m curious as to whether that margin will remain the same or whether it will shrink.”

Perrella says he will also be watching two other ridings closely: Kitchener South-Hespeler and Kitchener-Conestoga. Both ridings were won by the PCs, but only by a few hundred votes. “A lot of people are moving there from the GTA, so these are GTA voters moving into the region and they’re moving into Kitchener-Conestoga,” he explains. “It’s a relatively younger population compared to the national average.”

In Cambridge, an area typically captured by the PCs, a familiar face is running again, but for a new party. Incumbent MPP Belinda Karahalios is running under the New Blue Party banner, a party she formed after being kicked out of the PC caucus. Perrella believes the riding will stay the course and elect a traditional blue PC representative again.

As for Guelph, Perrella expects the incumbent candidate to hold onto his seat after his performance at last week’s debate.

“I think Mike Schreiner made a good case for a lot of people to consider Green.”

For those who have already made up their mind, advance polling stations can be found here.

Advance polls will be available until May 28th.

June 2nd is election day.