The greeting widens tired eyes outside the Lawrence West subway station in the middle of a rainy weekday morning commute. “Hi, we’re trying to stop Stephen Harper,” says a cheery middle-aged man wearing a rain jacket and a yellow “Vote for democracy — not Harper” T-shirt.I get the same thing in my community. Few discuss who they're voting for, but most suggest it won't be Harper.
Armed with a handful of soggy pamphlets flapping in the wind, Nick Fillmore, of the Catch 22 campaign, is trying to convince centre-left voters to help thwart the Harper government’s quest for a majority by voting strategically against the Conservative Party. “I plan on it, don’t worry,” says one man on his way into the station.
Another resident, miffed, pushes the pamphlet away. “No, I’m not voting for Harper,” she blasts, having mistaken Fillmore for a Tory supporter. He chuckles and tries a new line. “Hi, we’re campaigning against Stephen Harper,”
That sentiment hasn't really changed, though there is now some confusion, with the latest poll results, real or fabricated.
It's funny, I emailed Frank Graves when he was predicting 108 NDP seats, about half coming from Quebec. I wanted to know what ridings he felt the NDP could take from the Bloc, given that many of their candidates are only "paper" entries. The NDP office told Le Devoir that they only have about six ridings with fully functioning campaign offices.
And his response was odd. He said that they didn't do that, focus on ridings, only that when the "wave" hit, local campaigns wouldn't matter. When the "wave hit"? I thought it already hit. Aren't they all talking about an NDP "surge"? Do we now have to wait for a "wave"?
This election, local campaigns very much do matter, especially in vote rich Quebec and Ontario. And Catch 22 have provided a list of those they're targeting in the coveted GTA:
Catch 22 recommendations
Riding Endorsing Incumbent
Mississauga—Erindale Omar Alghabra (Lib) Bob Dechert
Oak Ridges—Markham Lui Temelkovski (Lib) Paul Calandra
Oakville Max Khan (Lib)Terence Young
Oshawa Chris Buckley (NDP)Collin Carrie
Thornhill Karen Mock (Lib)Peter Kent
Vaughan Mario Ferri (Lib)Julian Fantino
Riding Endorsing Incumbent
Ajax—Pickering Mark Holland (Lib)Mark Holland (Lib)
Brampton—Springdale Ruby Dhalla (Lib)Ruby Dhalla (Lib)
Brampton West Andrew Kania (Lib)Andrew Kania (Lib)
Don Valley West Rob Oliphant (Lib)Rob Oliphant (Lib)
Eglinton—Lawrence Joseph Volpe (Lib) Joseph Volpe (Lib)
Mississauga South Paul Szabo (Lib) Paul Szabo (Lib)
Welland Malcolm Allen (NDP) Malcolm Allen (NDP)
York Centre Ken Dryden (Lib) Ken Dryden (Lib)
They currently have a fundraising drive on so if you can help them out at all, please do. They have been working tirelessly for over a year. Real boots to the ground activism.