Election campaign in Parry Sound – Muskoka riding begins to heat up

The riding of Parry Sound–Muskoka has been a Conservative stronghold for most of its history. From 1957-1993, voters elected a Conservative representative every time. And after a 13-year Liberal stint, it again turned Conservative.

Incumbent Scott Aitchison is aiming for re-election for a second term. He is the former mayor of Huntsville and is bashing the Liberals on failed housing plans.

"There’s a desperate need in Parry Sound–Muskoka," said Aitchison. "Erin O’Toole has committed to building or renovating a million residential units in three years."

Aitchison won his first federal election in 2019 with almost 42 per cent of the vote.

The NDP is hoping Heather Hay, coordinator for Elder Abuse Prevention Muskoka, can unseat Aitchison. While she agrees about housing issues, she has a different approach for rural and remote communities.

"We don’t have the budget to make the matching funds that other bigger communities (can), so I’d like to have interest-free loans so we can compete for safe, affordable housing in the district," Hay said.

In 2019, the Green Party finished third. This time around, candidate Marc Mantha said there is much more support. Mantha ran for Gravenhurst town council in 2018.

"Mitigating the climate crisis creates a lot of prosperity," said Mantha. "You shift resources from things that are causing the climate crisis to programs that save us from it."

The Liberal candidate is Toronto Catholic School Board Teacher Jovanie Nicoyishakiye. She was unavailable for an interview, but did send a statement regarding her platform.

"I will fight against climate change, build houses that are more affordable and will bring back workers to this community and invest in small and medium businesses," Nicoyishakiye wrote.

The People’s People of Canada is fielding retired secondary school science teacher James Tole as its candidate. Meanwhile, Daniel Predie Jr. is running as an independent and James Fawcett is running for the National Citizens Alliance Party.

More than 76,000 people are eligible to vote in the riding. Election day is Sept. 20.