HAMILTON — Residents in Hamilton Centre head to the polls today to vote for a latest provincial representative to exchange Andrea Horwath.
The previous Ontario NDP leader held Hamilton Centre, in addition to a predecessor riding, since 2004 and consistently won with wide margins.
But Horwath stepped down as leader and resigned her seat after the party didn’t win last 12 months’s election.
The NDP candidate in today’s byelection is widely expected to win, despite being placed on the defensive over a few of her activism.
Sarah Jama is the chief director and co-founder of the Disability Justice Network of Ontario and co-founded the Hamilton Encampment Support Network, amongst 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 within the riding in 2018, and hopes it’s more of a large open race without Horwath within the running.
Progressive Conservative candidate Peter Wiesner, Green candidate Lucia Iannantuono and 6 other candidates are also running.
During advance voting, about five per cent of those eligible solid a ballot, in comparison with an 11 per cent advance voting turnout in riding within the 2022 general election, Elections Ontario said.
Low turnout normally favours the incumbent party, experts say.