Entering the home stretch

Darrell Cole
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Candidates taking nothing for granted with a week to go

AMHERST - Scott Armstrong is taking nothing for granted.

With a week to go before Canadians go to the polls to elect a new

government, the Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley Conservative candidate knows he's the person everyone is gunning for.

"I've had a long background in politics and I do know that upsets happen," said Armstrong. "My philosophy is that we campaign hard every day in this riding. We did that for previous candidates when Bill Casey was the MP and we're doing it now.

"One of the reasons we have been successful is because we take nothing for granted and we're going to push hard to the end."

Armstrong said things are looking up within the riding, adding he has an excellent team in place. It's one that propelled him to Ottawa in 2009 when he ran successfully for the Conservatives in a byelection to replace Casey.

"I've only been a member of Parliament for 500 days but I've managed to deliver a lot for the riding in that short time and I think people appreciate that," said Armstrong. "Hopefully people will put their trust in me again and we'll be re-elected again, but it's up to the people."

While some projections have the seat remaining Tory blue next Monday night, Liberal candidate Jim Burrows is not listening to the so-called experts. The Colchester County dairy farmer has been campaigning hard in every corner of the riding.

"We still have a lot of undecided voters out there and it's up to us to tell them why they should vote Liberal and why they should vote for me," Burrows said. "The response I'm getting is very conflicted. A lot of people still don't know how they are voting and won't decide until they go into the voting station to mark their X."

Burrows said that feeling is really surprising this late in the campaign and indicates anyone can win the riding.

NDP candidate Wendy Robinson laughs off suggestions the outcome in this riding is a foregone conclusion. She's hoping to build on the gains of Mark Austin in 2009 and continue the momentum that's building nationally.

"I'm getting a great feeling out there, people are looking somewhere else to put their vote," she said. "The reaction is negative in that people don't want another Harper government; it's positive in that they know there are options. They care the most about who's going to get them jobs and who's going to help them survive."

Robinson knows it's going to be tough to win next week but considering the New Democrats won three provincial ridings in the area in 2009, that have traditionally voted Tory, she knows it's possible.

"It's going to take a younger generation to stop and say I don't have to vote with tradition. The question is how do we get those people out to vote?" she asked.

Christian Heritage Party Leader Jim Hnatiuk returned from a leadership tour of Ontario a week ago and has been on the road every day since last Monday.

"I'm pleased with how things are going. We have pretty much all our signage up and there have been a number of people working for me when I was away," said Hnatiuk.

"I think a lot of people are learning that there is an alternative and that we are a conservative party," he said. "There were a lot of fiscal

conservatives out there with high hopes for the Harper government that have been disappointed and are looking at someone else to support."

Green Party candidate Jason Blanch is energized with what he's hearing on the campaign trail.

"I think we will surprise some people on election night. We're a building and growing party and we'll make some gains," he said, adding he's overwhelmed with the support people are showing for him. "People are saying the things we stand for are long overdue."

Blanch said it's important for people to vote since the parties get funding for each vote received, which means a lot for the smaller parties.

- Amherst Daily News


Organizations: Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley Conservative, Conservatives, Heritage Party Green Party Daily News

Geographic location: Colchester County, Ontario

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