FEDERAL ELECTION RIDING PROFILE: Windsor-Tecumseh

Windsor-Tecumseh has been pegged by pundits as a riding to watch on election night.

The swing riding has changed hands twice in recent years — and the 2019 election was an absolute nail biter, with only 629 votes separating Liberal Irek Kusmierczyk from previous member of parliament, New Democrat Cheryl Hardcastle.

Now, Hardcastle is hoping to convince voters to give her and the NDP another go.

“You need strong voices in Ottawa but you need people standing up for working and Canadian families and that’s what our NDP platform does,” Hardcastle says.

The former deputy mayor of Tecumseh says the pandemic has exposed many issues related to affordability, such as housing, the cost of prescriptions and childcare.

She says her party will tax the wealthy to give lower and middle-class citizens a boost.

“You have people in your neighbourhoood right now that are choosing between groceries, or medicine or paying their bills,” Hardcastle says. “People were struggling in silence until they heard they’re not alone. These are systemic issues we have to address and there’s no reason for these promises to keep being broken.”

Liberal incumbent candidate Irek Kusmierczyk says during his short tenure, he’s brought record investments to the region for things like affordable housing, flood control and mitigation, as well as funding for community centres.

“Everything that makes this community liveable and resilient, we’ve brought $450 million to this community in 18 months and we’re looking to bring more additional, needed funding for this community,” he says.

The former Windsor city councillor believes only the Liberal government has a plan, the Net Zero Accelerator fund, which will provide up to $8 billion to help land green investments in the auto sector.

“This is an absolutely generational election for this reason, we have a plan and we have the leadership to bring that electric vehicle manufacturing and battery manufacturing here to this community,” Kusmierczyk says.

The Conservative candidate, Kathy Borrelli, was unable to accommodate an interview.

But Victor Green of the People’s Party of Canada was happy to oblige.

“If you take Cheryl and if you take Irek and you take Kathy Borrelli and you put ‘em in a bag and shake ‘em up and pour them out, they’re all the same,” says Green, who says he offers something different.

Green says the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) will refocus on domestic issues like funding pensions, taking care of veterans and restoring freedom.

“The very first thing that we’ve got to do, instead of spending money, is we’ve got to stop spending money on dumb stuff so that we can afford pensioners and we can afford our veterans and afford things at home,” Green says. “The PPC is committed to putting Canadian people number one, front and centre, before anything else.”

Also running are Laura Chesnik of the Marxist-Leninist Party and Henry Oulevey of the Green Party of Canada.

The election will take place on Sept. 20, 2021.

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