Record number of candidates as advance voting begins in Toronto-St. Paul’s riding

Advance voting begins Friday in the federal riding of Toronto-St. Paul’s and there is no shortage of candidates for residents to choose from.

A record 84 people are on the ballot for the June 24 byelection, which was called after longtime Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett announced last year she would not stand for re-election.

Bennett has represented the riding for 26 years and was recently named Canada’s ambassador to Denmark.

Longtime Liberal staffer Leslie Church, who most recently served as chief of staff to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, will look to maintain the Liberal stronghold in the riding.

Toronto-St. Paul’s has become a safe Liberal seat since Bennett first ran there. She won with more than half the vote in all but two of the nine elections she ran in, winning just shy of 50 per cent in 2021 and 40 per cent when the Conservatives formed a majority government in 2011.

However, the June 24 vote could be bellweather for the Trudeau Liberals in the leadup to the next federal election.

Don Stewart is the Conservatives nominee while Amrit Parhar is running for the NDP and Christian Cullis is running for the Green Party.

The majority of the names on the ballot are listed as being “independent” or with no party affiliation and are part of a protest being led by The Longest Ballott Committee as a way to highlight the issue of electoral reform.

Four days of advance voting will take place from June 14 to 17 and voters can cast their ballot at their assigned polling station, which can be found on the back of their voter information card.

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