Voter apathy a concern for Vaughan federal candidates

With Vaughan voters heading to the polls May 2 for the third time in seven months, there’s one thing their candidates seem to agree on: some residents are tired of elections.

Julian Fantino won the riding in a November 2010 byelection after long-time member of parliament Maurizio Bevilacqua stepped down to run for mayor.

Fantino says he isn’t happy about sending people back to the ballot box so soon.

“People can only convinced to come out and vote so often,” he said. “I just hope people come out and exercise their right to the democratic process. As aggravating as it might be, it’s the best system we have. It’s precious and not something many societies have.”

Apathy among voters is one of his biggest concerns this campaign, he said.

“People are obviously quite tired, they’re fatigued and confused,” Fantino said. “The responses (among voters) are the same, ‘Why are we doing this again?’”

Green Party candidate Claudia Rodriguez-Larrain said she too has encountered apathy among some voters. She also said there’s some confusion about the election itself.

One of the challenges I’ve had was educating voters at the door and informing them that (the byelection) was a federal election but it was contained within this riding,” she said.

Liberal candidate Mario Ferri said he’s encountered some on the campaign trail who would prefer to avoid another election, but others who welcome it.

“What I’m hearing at the door (of voters) is while there is some discomfort with this election, it’s an opportunity for them to confirm the current government is doing what they want or if they want a change. “

Ferri says this election will give them that opportunity.

Fantino says it undermines the good work the Harper Government is doing.

“This one (election) is totally unnecessary and I think it’s more to do with an attempt at grabbing power and control,” Fantino said. “This is an opportunistic election.”