HAMILTON – Residents in Hamilton Centre head to the polls today to vote for a new provincial representative to replace Andrea Horwath.
The former Ontario NDP leader held Hamilton Centre, as well as a predecessor riding, since 2004 and consistently won with wide margins.
But Horwath stepped down as leader and resigned her seat after the party failed to win last year’s election.
The NDP candidate in today’s byelection is widely expected to win, despite being put on the defensive over some of her activism.
Sarah Jama is the executive director and co-founder of the Disability Justice Network of Ontario and co-founded the Hamilton Encampment Support Network, among other community involvement, but Jewish organization B’nai Brith has criticized her as a “radical anti-Israel advocate.”
Jama has said the criticism has centred around what she describes as standing up for Palestinian human rights, which shouldn’t be conflated with anti-Semitism.
Liberal candidate Deirdre Pike also ran for that party in the riding in 2018, and hopes it is more of a wide open race without Horwath in the running.
Progressive Conservative candidate Peter Wiesner, Green candidate Lucia Iannantuono and six other candidates are also running.
During advance voting, about five per cent of those eligible cast a ballot, compared to an 11 per cent advance voting turnout in riding in the 2022 general election, Elections Ontario said.
Low turnout usually favours the incumbent party, experts say.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2023.
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