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Guelph offers more choices than the main parties for the Ontario election

A poster by Elections Ontario encouraging residents to vote. Stephen C. Host / The Canadian Press

Some may be surprised to learn that the ballot at the voting booth on June 7 for the Ontario election will feature as many as eight names for the Guelph riding.

The winner that will represent the Royal City at Queen’s Park will likely be one of Sly Castaldi of the Liberals, New Democrat Aggie Mlynarz, Progressive Conservative Ray Ferraro or Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner.

READ MORE: Conservative seat lead narrows as Liberals sink, seat projections show

But there are four others that have been on the campaign trail, trying to get their message out the residents.

Michael Riehl is the Libertarian candidate for Guelph and said his party is quite different from the others.

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“The four main parties always have the same response and solution to every problem. They want to increase this program or add this amount of dollars to this program or add this policy,” he said in a phone interview.

“The Libertarian Party wants to reduce the amount of government, return to small government, return to local community-based organizations and let individuals determine how they go about their daily lives.”

Riehl said the party has candidates in 117 ridings in Ontario — the most in the party’s history.

READ MORE: Ontario election 2018: How, when and where to vote

Juanita Burnett, of the Communist Party, ran in the 2014 Ontario election and is the only candidate that has returned for this campaign.

She said her party is focused on providing assistance to the less wealthy.

“For Guelph, we need more low-cost housing, rental housing that people can afford,” she explained. “We need at the very least a $15 an hour minimum wage. Our party is asking for $20 an hour because $15 is a bare minimum.”

Burnett is also a proponent of a 32-hour work week, doubling the corporate tax rate and looking at expanded, free 24-hour child care.

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Thomas Mooney has had a bit of a rocky campaign going to the newly-formed Ontario Party from the Ontario Alliance after that party dissolved a number of riding associations in the province.

Mooney touted his “Guelph first” agenda and said his party allows him to put the interests of his constituents on the forefront.

“The whole idea of the Ontario Party is we’re putting Ontario first. We keep hearing that with many of the parties across the province, but the problem is that as soon as we elect those people then we lose our local say,” Mooney said.

“One of the key things with the Ontario Party is, I, as your local representative, will remain able to freely speak for the people of Guelph.”

READ MORE: Here’s what Ontario’s parties are promising voters for dental care

Finally, Paul Taylor represents the “None of the Above Party” which has a unique philosophy.

Candidates are accountable to their constituents and there are no central party policies or controls on elected MPPs, according to Taylor.

“The beautiful thing with this party is, it actually throws it back to me and says, ‘You do whatever is best for Guelph,'” Taylor explained.

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One local issue Taylor feels strongly about is the need for more funding for Guelph General Hospital.

“They’re running at a level right now at that hospital of what I would call ‘an emergency status,’ so if, Lord forbid, a real disaster did happen, they wouldn’t be able to manage,” he said.

“Something that I would fight for on day one is to make sure that hospital gets the proper funding it needs to provide Guelph with the proper health care.”

So-called fringe parties rarely win seats in the Ontario Legislature, but would have the ability to affect an electoral result, and with Guelph in a tight race, they could make quite an impact.