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How Kingston and the Islands candidates are spending federal election day

Your candidates for Kingston and the Islands in the 2021 federal elections (L to R): Mark Gerretsen (Liberal, incumbent), Dr. Waji Khan (Green), Gary Oosterhof (Conservative), Shelley Sayle-Udall (PPC), and Vic Sahai (NDP). Photo of Kingston cityscape by Tommy Vallier.

With the surprise federal election announced just five weeks ago, campaigning is coming to a close as federal election day is upon us, but candidates here in Kingston and the Islands aren’t resting until the ballots are counted. Here’s how the local candidates are spending their day, and how and where they’ll be watching the results roll in tonight:

Mark Gerretsen (Liberal, incumbent)

“I started off the day on Wolfe Island, went over on the first ferry ride, spent some time there chatting with people.

(I then) came back to Kingston–we have a number of campaign offices in various homes—my job was to deliver lunch to campaign hubs, thanking everybody for the incredible work they’ve been doing. 

We have about 150 volunteers, a lot of what I’m doing is thanking them for helping with the campaign and making it as successful as we can.

Things at the polls seem to be pretty smooth, from what I heard. Our campaign did everything that we possibly could, there’s nothing I would have done differently. We’re happy with the way our campaign has been run.

It’s been a very busy five weeks, working every day. Not just me, (but) an incredible number of volunteers who have been knocking on doors, making phone calls, trying to connect with people. It truly is humbling to get so many people get involved. This campaign is no exception.

I’m actually going to back to my campaign office now, for a few hours. I will then head home. I plan on just having dinner with my family, which is something I haven’t done in a long time.

Then I will wait and watch the results come in.”

Dr. Waji Khan (Green)

Dr. Khan spent the day at his campaign office reaching out to voters by phone.  He will be spending the evening at a private watch party with his volunteers.

Gary Oosterhof (Conservative)

Gary Oosterhof got up early and had coffee with his wife, then spent the majority of the day fielding calls and emails. “I spent most of the day answering the telephone which has been ringing nonstop,” Oosterhof said, noting he is most proud of the team and the hard work they have put in over the past few weeks.

After spending the day in the office with three computers in front of him, Oosterhof is preparing to head over to campaign headquarters on Gardiners Road later this evening to watch the election results roll in. There, he says campaign workers and supporters will celebrate with some food, regroup, and reflect on the hard work that has been put in.

Shelley Sayle-Udal (PPC)

When reached for comment about Sayle-Udal’s day, Dan Calabretta, CEO of The Kingston Regional People’s Party of Canada Association, did not respond.

Vic Sahai (NDP)

“I’m spending it on the beautiful campus of Queen’s University: we’re handing out flyers to make sure the students vote. The lineup is really long, which is a shame. We need more polling stations, especially in [Queen’s] University. I am disappointed there is only one station here. 

I get to actually meet people—they’re coming up to me, thanking me for running—in turn, I thank them for my support. We worked hard on this campaign. It’s not only the five weeks. Andrew McCann (campaign manager) and I have been doing this for five months. 

It was hard work, but very rewarding work. What I found and solidified is that—who are we working for?—we are working for the people who vote for us, not ourselves.

The only way to understand the issues is by talking to people, and we have done that more than any other party. I’m so proud of my organization and the fact that Jagmeet [Singh] is the only leader who came to Kingston. He understands the importance of meeting people, understanding their issues, so we can deal with those issues at the policy level.”

With files from Michelle Dorey Forestell and Cris Vilela.

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