Ottawa-area voters go to the polls Thursday in pair of provincial byelections

An Elections Ontario sign is seen at University - Rosedale voting location at the Toronto Reference Library on Thursday, June 7, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marta Iwanek

Residents in the two provincial ridings of Ottawa-Vanier and Orléans head to the polls on Thursday, Feb. 27 to elect their new MPPs.

Polls in the two Ottawa ridings will open at 9 a.m and close at 9 p.m. EST, according to Elections Ontario.

The Ottawa-Vanier and Orléans seats at Queen’s Park –– long held by the Ontario Liberals –– have been vacant since last July and September, respectively.

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For this week’s byelections, the Liberals are running Lucille Collard in Ottawa-Vanier and city councillor Stephen Blais in Orléans.

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For their part, the governing Progressive Conservatives named Patrick Mayangi as their candidate in Ottawa-Vanier and Natalie Montgomery in Orléans.

Myriam Djilane and Manon Parrot are running under the New Democrat banner in Ottawa-Vanier and Orléans, respectively.

Benjamin Koczwarski is the Ontario Green party candidate in Ottawa-Vanier. Andrew West is the party’s candidate in Orléans.

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The ridings are two of the seven seats the Liberals managed to hang on to as they got battered in the 2018 provincial election, which handed the PC party under now-Premier Doug Ford a majority government.

Ottawa-Vanier’s former MPP, Liberal Nathalie Des Rosiers, resigned a year later for a position at the University of Toronto. In Orléans, Liberal Marie-France Lalonde stepped down in October to run in the riding’s federal byelection, which she won.

The Liberals — who are in the midst of a leadership race — currently have six sitting MPPs after eastern Ontario MPP Amanda Simard joined their caucus last month. (Simard was elected as a PC and later became independent.)

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Elections Ontario reported on Monday that 4.35 per cent of registered voters (or 4,822 people) in Orléans cast their ballots in the advance polls earlier this month, which represents less than half the number of people who voted in advance in the 2018 provincial election.

Meanwhile, even fewer registered voters — 2.47 per cent (or 2,502 people) –– cast an early vote in Ottawa-Vanier. That’s less than a third of those who opted for advance voting in 2018, according to Elections Ontario’s preliminary figures.

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The agency said in a new release that registered voters in the two ridings should have already received their voter information card with their assigned voting location, but noted those who haven’t received that card can still cast a ballot.

Eligible voters must bring an appropriate piece of identification when they arrive to vote on Thursday. More information on voting locations and examples of acceptable IDs is available on the Elections Ontario website.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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