TORONTO — Two provincial byelections have been called for Nov. 17 to fill vacant seats in the Ottawa-Vanier and Niagara-West Glanbrook ridings, as Ontario announced it’s moving to set the next provincial election for June 2018.
Word of the byelections first came from former provincial ombudsman Andre Marin, the Progressive Conservative candidate in Ottawa-Vanier, who posted the date in a tweet — then quickly removed it — before the official announcement by Elections Ontario.
Premier Kathleen Wynne called the Ottawa-Vanier byelection to replace former attorney general Madeleine Meilleur, who quit the long-held Liberal seat last summer. The Niagara-West Glanbrook seat was vacated by former Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak, who resigned last month.
It’s not the first time a byelection date came from a candidate instead of Elections Ontario. It was the Liberal candidate in Scarborough-Rouge River who first announced that byelection would be held Sept. 1.
The winners in both of those ridings will have to run again to keep their jobs in less than two years, as the Liberal government announced it’s looking to set the next provincial election for June 7, 2018.
The vote is currently set for the fall of 2018, but the Liberal government wants to avoid conflict with the next municipal elections, which are set for October of that year.
Attorney General Yasir Naqvi is introducing legislation Wednesday to not only change the election date, but also to allow youth to pre-register to vote and allow votes to be counted electronically.
The bill would allow for the use of electronic vote tabulators – which were used in this year’s Whitby-Oshawa byelection – instead of having votes counted by hand.
Ontarians who are 16 or 17 years old would be able to pre-register to vote once they turn 18, which the Liberals hope will encourage more young people to vote.
If passed, the legislation could also lead to the creation of new northern ridings, by establishing a Far North Electoral Boundaries Commission to review whether the areas of Kenora-Rainy River and Timmins-James Bay should have another new riding or two.