The Liberals have held Ottawa Centre since Bob Rae’s NDP government was defeated in 1995, but with a strong history of New Democrat wins at the federal level and a high proportion of unionized employees, that party is hoping for an upset win.
Stretching over a wide swath of urban Ottawa, the riding is ethnically and economically diverse, including wealthy neighbourhoods, high-density rental housing, and commercial centres.
The riding includes Westboro, Centretown, the Central Experimental Farm, Rideauview, Old Ottawa South and Old Ottawa East.
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Incumbent Yasir Naqvi has been in the seat since 2007, gaining votes in subsequent elections. In 2014, Naqvi garnered more than double the number of votes cast for the second-place NDP candidate.
But people who live in the riding aren’t strangers to unpredicted defeat.
Federal NDP upset
In the last federal election in 2015, Catherine McKenna won the riding for the Liberals, ending 11 years of NDP representation. Analysts had declared it one of the New Democrats’ safest seats.
The New Democrats are hoping to similarly harness a desire to change with their Ottawa Centre candidate Joel Harden, currently working with the Canadian Federation of Students.
The Progressive Conservatives have historically been a distant third in Ottawa Centre, but are hoping to buck that trend with candidate Colleen McCleery, a management consultant and one of 11 Ontario candidates appointed by PC Leader Doug Ford.
Cherie Wong, a young candidate who says she’d like to engage socially marginalized groups, is the Green Party candidate, Bruce A. Faulkner is on the ballot for the Ontario Libertarian Party, Marc Adornato is running for the None of the Above party, and James Sears is running for the CCP.
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