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Barrie voters cover political spectrum, some experience frustration at polls (4 photos)

'My grandparents came from a country where voting wasn’t this easy, so I never take it for granted and my daughter won’t, either,' says voter

Mark Gabriel took a great deal of pride in casting his vote in Barrie on Monday.

Originally from the Philippines, Gabriel immigrated to Canada with his wife after spending 10 years in Singapore. Initially, they lived in Scarborough and then set their sights on Barrie.

“We saw the potential for Barrie so we picked here,” the father of three-year-old Franco told BarrieToday. “We were able to get a townhouse and the price then was very good.”

The Gabriel family became Canadian citizens in February 2020 and Monday was their first opportunity to vote in their new homeland.

Having followed the issues and the political scene, Gabriel said he wanted to support the Conservative Party because he believes the party is more closely aligned with his Catholic beliefs. Although the Gabriels like the current immigration policy, they disagree with the legalization of cannabis, which was a Liberal government initiative.

The Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte riding voting station at Paul Sadlon Motors on Bayfield Street North attracted a wide array of voters with diverse interests and opinions.

Trinh King is a longtime NDP supporter who said she wants to see a government focus more on caring for the environment, creating a community and spreading the wealth.

“What the NDP stand for, overall, is the best choice for a caring community,” she said.

Anne Marie Munro found the Conservatives' messaging during the campaign unclear. She said it all seemed to focus on attacking Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.

“I voted for the Liberals,” said Munro. “The Conservative Party never went on about what their platform was.”

Emily Ruffolo said casting a vote is an important part of the democratic process.

“I’m here to do my civic duty because each vote counts,” said the teacher.

Ruffolo said she's concerned about access to housing and is worried that a Conservative government will push the retirement age to 67 from 65. She put her support behind the Liberals.  

Her husband, Frank, said he followed the issues, the news and the leaders’ debate before he made up his mind. He, too, is concerned about affordable housing, pandemic-related assistance and how the country should move forward but didn’t say how he voted.

For some, exercising their right to vote wasn’t so simple.

Ron Kyle is clear  he doesn’t want another Liberal government and never wanted one.

“We’ve got to change what’s going on,” said the retired firefighter, adding he’s concerned about the economy and future. “The government’s been a joke, no accountability. (Justin Trudeau) does whatever he likes.”

Kyle discovered he had gone to the wrong voting location and was heading to the correct one.

Another couple left the polling station, declaring “we’re not voting."

"We waited in line for 20 minutes and we were told we were in the wrong place,” said a woman, who added she had run out of time and that voting should be allowed to occur at any voting location.

Benjamin McCluskey is now old enough to vote and was keen to witness the entire process.

“This is my first time voting,” he said. “I just want to see how the whole thing works.”

But McCluskey said he was told he didn’t bring the correct information and patiently went back home to get what he needed.

Over at the Holly Community Centre voting location in the city's south end, electors were casting their ballots in the Barrie-Innisfil riding.

A man named Sonny said he was more focused on the individual candidate than he was on the party.

“When I cast my vote, I rarely consider the federal aspect. I vote for who I think will represent my riding better," he said. "I want the right representation for me and my family in office at the more local level, because that is who I am going to have to deal with when the federal government is not doing what I like.”

A woman named Monika singled out climate change as an issue she considers very important. She said she voted for the party she believed “had the best and most believable climate-change plan of the bunch.”

She also considers the ability to vote important.

“I’m 35 now and I have voted in every election, at every level I could ever since I was 22,” Monika said. “It is so important. My grandparents came from a country where voting wasn’t this easy, so I never take it for granted and my daughter won’t, either.”

— With files from Shawn Gibson