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Ontario provincial byelections set for today in Toronto, Ottawa areas

Residents of two Ontario ridings head to the polls today to elect new provincial representatives, after a pair of resignations left those seats vacant.

Merrilee Fullerton abruptly resigned her cabinet post and her Kanata-Carleton seat in the Ottawa area in March.

Mitzie Hunter stepped down this spring as the member of provincial parliament for Scarborough-Guildwood in Toronto — a seat she held for the Liberals since 2013 — to run in Toronto’s mayoral byelection.

The Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals are each running a candidate familiar to voters in those ridings, in the hopes of picking up an extra seat, though the balance of power in the legislature will not change under any of the possible outcomes.

The Liberal candidate in Kanata-Carleton is Karen McCrimmon, who previously represented the riding federally, and the PC candidate in Scarborough-Guildwood is Gary Crawford, a city councillor for a Scarborough ward.

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Other candidates in Kanata-Carleton include Sean Webster for the Progressive Conservatives and Melissa Coenraad for the NDP, and other candidates in Scarborough-Guildwood include Andrea Hazell for the Liberals and Thadsha Navaneethan for the NDP.

Turnout was low in advance polls, with just 7.3 of registered voters casting their ballots over three days in Kanata-Carleton, while only 3.6 per cent of registered voters cast their ballot in advance in Scarborough-Guildwood.

That’s compared to a turnout of nine per cent of registered voters in Kanata-Carleton during advance polls in the general provincial election last year and 8.8 per cent in Scarborough-Guildwood.

Residents of the east Toronto riding just voted last month in a mayoral byelection, which came just eight months after the general municipal elections, and it has been only 13 months since the last provincial general election.

Tara McMahon is running for the Greens in Scarborough-Guildwood and Steven Warren is the party’s candidate in Kanata-Carleton.

A third provincial byelection will have to be called in Kitchener Centre in the next few months, after NDP representative Laura Mae Lindo resigned this month.

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