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Voters head to the polls Thursday in hotly contested Ontario byelection

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Sep 1st, 2016

Voters head to the polls today in a tight provincial byelection race in east Toronto.

The waning days of the campaign in Scarborough-Rouge River have been dominated by controversy over the government’s sex-ed curriculum.

Parts of the new curriculum have been deeply unpopular in pockets of the province since it was introduced last year, in particular among some religious communities and new Canadians.

Related stories:

Scarborough byelection too close to call: poll
Patrick Brown says it was a ‘mistake’ to pledge to scrap Liberal sex-ed changes
More than 4,500 vote in Scarborough byelection advance polls

More than half of the population of Scarborough-Rouge River was born outside Canada and speaks Tamil or Chinese languages, and the Progressive Conservatives are being accused of exploiting the curriculum’s unpopularity for political gain.

A letter distributed to residents under leader Patrick Brown’s name said that if the party forms government after the 2018 provincial election, they will “scrap” the Liberal government’s changes to the curriculum.

Brown has disavowed the letter, saying he didn’t see it before it went out, and has pledged not to scrap the curriculum. But the Liberals call it evidence of Brown “flip flopping.”

This byelection will both serve to define Brown – it’s the first truly close race since he became leader – and test Premier Kathleen Wynne’s leadership at a time when, halfway through her term, polls show her as unpopular with voters, Cochrane said. But he also thinks the NDP stands a good chance.

Voters will choose from a whopping 11 candidates, including some vehemently anti-sex-ed fringe and independent candidates and a None of the Above candidate – in both name and party.


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