Battleground Brampton: Why these 5 ridings could play a critical role
TORONTO -- Despite winning all five Brampton, Ont. ridings in 2015, the Liberals are expected to face a challenging re-election bid in the region.
Brampton is a fast-growing Greater Toronto Area and is home to one of the largest Sikh communities outside of southeast Asia. Political analysts have their eyes on the region that many consider a battleground.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, the first and only first visible minority leading a federal political party, was twice elected in the provincial riding Bramalea-Gore-Malton, which includes part of Brampton.
One voter told CTV News that having Singh as the federal leader is making him consider voting for the NDP.
“I'm reading their manifesto. So let's see I didn't decide yet -- pretty soon I will decide,” he said.
The NDP is to hoping to claw the seat away from the Liberals and send a slew of New Democrats to Ottawa. But that’s no easy feat. Traditionally, Brampton’s ridings have been a two-horse race between the Conservatives and Liberals.
When Brampton only had three federal ridings back in 2011, all three were swept up by the Tories. In the 2015 federal election, when two new ridings were in the mix, all five seats went to the Liberals.
The latest Nanos Research polling numbers show the Conservatives and Liberals in a statistical deadlock, with 34.1 per cent support for the Conservatives and 32.6 per cent for the Liberals. The NDP are behind at 14.4 per cent followed by the Greens at 13.2 per cent.
FOCUS ON BRAMPTON EAST
Of those five ridings, Brampton East is being closely watched. In late 2018, incumbent MP Raj Grewal left the Liberal Party to seek treatment for a gambling addiction that has led him to rack up "significant personal debts."
Since Grewal stepped down -- becoming an Independent who isn’t running for re-election -- entrepreneur and political newcomer Maninder Sidhu has stepped into his place as the Liberal candidate.
Sidhu said he’s received plenty of support and acknowledged he’s meeting lots of new constituents.
“I've never been in politics before. My job is to hit the doors, listen to the residents’ concerns, introduce myself and let them know I want to be their next voice in Ottawa,” Sidhu said.
To win the riding, Sidhu would have to beat Conservative candidate Ramona Singh, first-time NDP candidate Saranjit Singh, Green candidate Teresa Burgess-Ogilvie and People’s Party of Canada Gaurav Walia.
Photos of Trudeau in blackface and brownface could be a factor in the riding, where 65.8 per cent of the population identifies as South Asian, according to the 2016 census.
Conservative candidate Singh said voters are fed up with the Liberals in general and said big issues for constituents are community safety and housing. But Singh, who says she’s tough on crime, believes she will win.
“We have 22,000 more people in this riding than the last election (and) we don't have an incumbent running in the election,” she said.