Dan McTeague has been the man to beat in Pickering-Scarborough East since the riding was created in 2003.
He’s been elected to office five times, first becoming an MP back in 1993 and never giving up his seat.
And he’ll be going for six in a row in October’s federal election.
But despite his dominance in this area, the other candidates are ready to go, and seem confident in both their abilities and the public’s desire for change to unseat McTeague.
“When I go to the door, people are telling me, ‘I’m glad you are running against the big-mouthed McTeague who does nothing but forecast the price of gasoline but has never done anything about it,” Conservative candidate George Khouri says.
He believes there’s a great chance at winning, and losing is not an option to him.
“We don’t run to make a statement,” he says. “We are running to win.”
Andrea Moffat of the NDP says while McTeague has the political experience behind him, she represents something new.
“I think more and more people want a real person to reflect the issues that are important to them and as I get more and more into the community, people are understanding that I can provide that opportunity,” she says.
“Dan McTeague being elected again, that’s more of the same thing and the same thing is not working for people.”
Green candidate Jason Becevello also acknowledges McTeague’s experience, but notes he’s running against all the parties, not just the Liberals.
“He’s definitely the person that we’re working to beat, I think he’s who the Conservatives and NDP are going to look to beat too,” he says. “I’m going to be bleeding votes away from all three parties so it’s going to be very exciting.”
Becevello also says with the news coverage surrounding Green leader Elizabeth May’s exclusion then inclusion in the leader debates, more people are becoming open to the Green Party and its policies.
For his part, McTeague says he takes nothing for granted, but he’s worked hard over the years and amassed a positive record as an MP.
“I think I’ve been able to accurately reflect concerns and to broker for Canadians and my constituents,” he says. “I think I’ve put Pickering-Scarborough East on the map.”
Though the candidates seem to be having trouble finding common ground with each other, it’s clear one issue is on everyone’s mind.
On Oct. 14, everyone will be looking to see if Pickering Scarborough-East residents feel they have been well served by McTeague, or if they decide it’s indeed time for a change.
“We will be judged and it is the ultimate test,” McTeague says. “I have done my very best and I continue to offer the opportunity to do my very best in helping consumers and my constituents in need.”