BY TOMMY DESORMEAUX
Sometimes a term used to deride life in the suburbs, the “905” has recently become crucial to the results of the 2019 federal election.
An area code for cities like Hamilton, Burlington, Mississauga, Oakville and Oshawa, the 905 region consists mostly of the suburban areas which surround Toronto.
Pollsters, specifically a CTV commissioned Nanos poll, have been pointing to a recent decline in the Liberal party’s popularity in the suburban GTA and describing it as a major blow to Justin Trudeau’s chances of re-election. The majority of “905” ridings went Liberal in 2015. Since the release of pictures of Trudeau in blackface, however, polls have shown that the number of people likely to vote Liberal in October has lowered in the 905 region from 47% to 40%. The party is now in a dead heat with Conservatives in this region.
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The NDP and Green parties trail the Liberals and Conservatives in the amalgamation of 905 ridings significantly and, barring another bombshell, have little chance to carry the region. The change in polls has increased the importance of the suburban GTA since a large swath of it is now made up of battleground ridings.
Federal party leaders are campaigning across the country and both Trudeau and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer are spending significant time in Ontario. Both candidates are also criticizing provincial leaders from the opposite party and commentators point out that this shows the importance of the vote in Ontario.
Since the blackface scandal, Trudeau and the other candidates in the race have released new elements of their platforms. Liberals have made new announcements about gun control measures and have emphasized carbon taxes. On the other hand, Conservatives are focusing mainly on economic issues and alternative climate solutions, like funding for alternative energy innovation and tax credits.
Some students already decided whom to vote for before the poll numbers shifted. Roman Dorosh does not believe that Trudeau’s admittedly embarrassing actions should dissuade anyone from voting Liberal.
Another Sheridan student, Gillian, who preferred to not give her last name, pointed to Andrew Scheer’s issues with sensitivity to the LGBTQ community when explaining how she would vote.
“As an LGBTQ student, I like that I would not have to be afraid under Trudeau’s government.”
Sarah, a third-year student who lives in the 905 area, said, “I wasn’t going to vote for him before.”
In one of the ridings near the Trafalgar campus, Oakville’s former MP John Oliver — a Liberal — is retiring. The new Liberal candidate is named Anita Anand, a lawyer and professor who teaches at the University of Toronto. Her main competitor is Terence Young, a Conservative candidate who has been in the public eye longer than she has, having served as Oakville’s MP from 2008-2015.
The recent importance of the 905 region means that more than ever, each Sheridan student’s vote is important. You can explore the Oakville riding and its candidates in the interactive map below.