Ask a voter in London West what they?re looking for from the provincial byelection and they all agree on one thing regardless of their political stripe: They want an MPP who?s got integrity.
And though some voters have already decided where to mark their X in the Aug. 1 byelection to replace former energy minister Chris Bentley, others are confused and dissuaded by the scandals and what many called ?dirty? politics.
?We?re looking for someone that we can trust,? said Joan Mortimer, who supported Bentley in the last election, but is undecided this time around.
?The stories are disconcerting with the different candidates.?
Other voters, including Mike Madhavji, a small business owner in Wortley Village for 35 years, feel the same.
?I?ve given up,? he said. ?I was a big fan of Chris Bentley, but I don?t think I?d support anyone . . . Politics is so dirty, that?s all I see.?
And really, can you blame them?
Just one week into the political race questions are being raised about the three main political candidates.
Liberal Ken Coran ? the Liberal?s most high-profile candidate in the five byelections ? has some voters feeling uneasy with his flip-flopping dedication to political parties.
Coran was head of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers? Federation that battled the Liberals over Bill 115 last year, a battle that cost many students after-school activities. Coran has had ties to the NDP.
Progressive Conservative Ali Chahbar was once briefly a card-carrying Liberal ? though he says that was just a gesture in support of colleague Doug Ferguson.
And some parents who were fighting the transfer of a principal to Stoney Creek elementary school whose husband was convicted of child pornography said NDP candidate Peggy Sattler was missing in action during the controversy.
Mortimer said the strongest choice for her so far seems to be Green Party candidate Gary Brown, but she?s not sure a vote for the Green Party will stand much of a chance.
?It?s very difficult,? she said of whom to vote for.
?At first I sort of thought we would support the Liberal candidate, we?ve supported them in the past, but with all these stories recently, it?s like, ?Oh, I don?t know about this guy.? But the other ones, the other major candidates, they don?t look so shiny either.?
Mortimer thinks the Liberals made a mistake picking Coran as their candidate, noting what she called an interesting lack of Liberal signs in Old South, where she lives ? a neighbourhood also home to Bentley.
Other voters said they think Sattler will be the best fit.
?I think that she has a good chance at taking a seat in this riding, especially if the voters are educating themselves on the issues. We saw a federal change in politics under (former NDP leader Jack) Layton, I think we are about to see another one provincially under (Andrea) Horwath?s NDP,? said Virginia Ridley.
Phil Smith agrees.
?I think a lot of people are fed up and they?ll give the NDP a shot.?
Mortimer said her son will vote for the first time in this election.
Her main concern is what the future holds for him and others like him graduating from university without any job prospects.
?We?re seeing a lot of our friends? kids graduating from university now and there?s really nothing, so are they going to be leaving??
Some London West voters were tuned out to the byelection in the height of summer.
Several approached said they either didn?t know anything about politics or weren?t following the race.
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WE ASKED: What is the most important issue for you during this byelection?
?The issues that matter to me first and foremost are integrity. I?m really dissuaded and disheartened at the lies, scandals, and two-facedness in politics. I want to see one politician who is a real person, who says what they mean and votes on behalf of their constituents.?
? Virginia Ridley
?We hope the person?s going to help with unemployment in London, especially youth (unemployment) which is a really important issue facing my kids and a lot of my neighbours? kids also.?
? Joan Mortimer
Government waste. ?The new premier had a fantastic opportunity to make a move and instead she became a puppet of the previous administration (regarding the gas plant scandal) and is protecting the previous government . . . I think she?s a good person but why is she hiding instead of coming clean? . . . Clean up the mess.?
? Mike Madhavji
?I worry about all the jobs flying out of here, well-paying jobs. If the Conservatives get elected, that guy already said he?d bring in right to work (legislation).?
? Phil Smith
Jobs. ?I?ve been employed and unemployed so often lately . . . and government waste ? the stupidity of it all and the backroom deals with everything.?
? Tom Popescu