OTTAWA -- A local race to watch in this federal election is in Ottawa’s south end. Changing demographics and soaring housing prices could see a tight race in the riding of Carleton.

The riding has been a conservative stronghold- incumbent Pierre Poilievre has won the past six elections. In 2019, he won 46 per cent of the vote, a wider margin than in 2015.

Poilievre says this election is about making life more affordable for residents. “We are spending more and making less, and Canadians are paying the price. That’s why I want to fight for the value of our dollar to make more and cost less. Pay cheques not debt,” says Poilievre. 

One of his opponents is a political newcomer running for the Liberal Party- Gustave Roy. He says the riding’s demographics are evolving, younger families moving in, and it is time for change.

Roy says, “We have some programs and solutions. I look forward to delivering on them, one of them is the affordable daycare program, which is a huge win and a great way to support young families.”

Kevin Hua is the NDP candidate. He is one of the youngest candidates for the NDP party at just 20-years-old. He says his party’s platform is the best to tackle the housing crisis. Hua says, “There are a lot of new families moving in. This riding is growing fast, in terms of population, so housing affordability as we see housing prices are continuously increasing.”

Peter Crawley is running for the People’s Party of Canada.

The Green Party does not have a registered candidate.

Carleton is a large riding and includes new neighbourhoods like Riverside South as well as more established areas, like Manotick.

Gihan Hamed runs a daycare in Riverside South and says this is an important election to shape policies for post-pandemic life. “Vaccines for us definitely. We need to finish this pandemic to get back to regular life.”

Hamed agrees that housing affordability is a key issue. “In general, not just here, a lot of people are struggling to find any home, and it is crazy competitive, and things are going for over. It’s crazy.”

Many voters in Carleton are paying attention to vaccine policies. Dave Corke says “I am all for making vaccination mandatory.” Corke is a long time conservative, but this vote is proving difficult. “We have been Pierre (Poilievre) guy forever but… Jagmeet (Singh) is saying vaccination, even Trudeau! But our guy… it is making it really tough.”

Susan Ward wants to see more attention paid to climate change policy. “One for me is the environment, that is very important, and as a hospital social worker health for sure.”

Cyril Cook says, “A key issue for me is the pandemic and how it is being handled.”

Voters head to the polls Sept. 20th.