Ottawa candidates start the race

Scrambled eggs, toast, breakfast sausage, and a side of blue signs kicked off the Conservative campaign in Ottawa’s west end Saturday morning.

Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod and Ottawa-West Nepean federal incumbent John Baird riled up the crowd as fellow MP Pierre Poilievre launched his campaign for re-election in Nepean-Carleton at Greenfield’s Pub in Barrhaven.

More than one hundred people attended the rally as candidates began the five week grind.

“I vote for whoever is good for Canada at that particular time in terms of policies,” said Azhar Ali Khan, a senior who has lived in Ottawa for more than 30 years.

Ali Khan isn’t a diehard Conservative.

“I keep an open mind. I have voted for Tories, I have voted for Liberals, I have voted for NDP, depending on the policies.”

Ali Khan said he has voter fatigue and thinks it would’ve been better not to have an election.

And he’s concerned about jobs for young people.

“When they come out of colleges, they are heavily in debt. We have to create opportunities, jobs and hope so that they can live a life of dignity,” he said.

Tim McGrath, 22, is a third-year political science student at Carleton University who lives in Greely.

Hopefuls can score his vote by “introducing themselves to the community and addressing the issues.”

Tuition, taxes, immigration, and healthcare are high on McGrath’s list.

And he knows reaching the 18-to-24-year-olds is a challenge.

“I don’t see a huge voting turnout this year, unless you get a (Liberal MP Justin) Trudeau or something,” he said.

According to Elections Canada, the October 2008 federal election saw just 58.8% of registered voters casting ballots, the lowest figure in the history of federal elections.

Jack Slawecki, however, will be at the polls.

The software consultant moved to Ottawa from Quebec about 18 months ago.

He wants politicians to “come up with a reasonable economic policy,” and so far, he isn’t sold.

“I’m looking for a majority government,” he said.

For that to happen, voters have to be wooed by politicians.

“There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in any part of the country,” said Baird.

“We will win one or two ridings where no one gave us a chance.”

Meanwhile, other candidates across the city are preparing for a busy weekend.

Jen Hunter, Green Party candidate for Ottawa Centre, is celebrating her run for office attending Earth Hour at Parliament Hill Saturday evening.

Ottawa-Vanier Liberal incumbent Mauril Bélanger will be helping raise Ottawa-Orleans Liberal challenger David Bertschi’s profile with a joint event on Sunday.

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