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The Undecideds: How three Canadian voters made their choice in the election

Canadians are set to go to the polls Monday, but not everyone has always known what they were going to do when they got there.

Canadians are set to go to the polls Monday, but not everyone has always known what they were going to do when they got there. The Canadian Press followed three undecided voters through the ups and downs of this election campaign to see how they made up their minds.


Reflections on the campaign 

Ledon Wellon sighs, laughs and shakes her head when trying to put her feelings about the federal election campaign into words. The 31-year-old hair stylist living in Mount Pearl, N.L., just a few minutes from the provincial capital, said she's watched the campaign closely — including the English debate — but she hasn't exactly found it inspiring.

"It's been kind of all over the place," Wellon said. "Nobody's really saying what they're doing, they're just saying what the other person isn't (doing) … which I don't find helpful at all."

It's also hard to trust leaders who make promises but don't lay out how they'll follow through, she said.

Wellon is pregnant and two weeks away from her due date, after years of battles with infertility. After publicly sharing her infertility struggles, she's become a strong voice for young couples in Newfoundland and Labrador having their own difficulties conceiving. Through that work, she's now accustomed to hearing promises from political leaders that ultimately go nowhere, she said.

"The promises don't really show through that they're actually going to do anything," Wellon said about many of the pledges she's heard during the federal campaign. "Unless it's researched and shown actually how you plan on doing something, then I can't trust that it will actually get done."

How she came to her decision 

Ultimately, Wellon said she'll likely cast a ballot for the NDP. After paying around $20,000 for medications while she and her partner were trying to conceive, she said the party's promise to roll out a universal pharmacare program won her over.

The NDP's support of affordable, accessible child care is also a plus, she said.

"Those are two major things that would help me and my family, and help a lot of my friends as well," she said.

Message to the winner

Wellon's message to whoever wins on Monday? Follow through.

"Whoever becomes prime minister, I just hope that a lot of the promises that were made are kept," she said. "It'd be nice to be able to actually trust a leader that is in charge. So many young people need so many of the things that are promised."


Reflections on the campaign 

David Odongi, 39, who lives with his wife and three children in Calgary, voted for the Liberals in both the 2015 and 2019 elections. But he was initially upset that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau called an election during a pandemic.

He pointed to the recent English language leaders debate as a turning point for his decision. He said he didn't like Trudeau's remarks aimed at Green Party Leader Annamie Paul.

"I won't take lessons on caucus management from you," Trudeau told Paul, who has faced considerable acrimony from within her party and has had to withstand efforts to get her out.

"I think that was a bit too much negativity,” said Odongi. “They're supposed to treat each other as leaders and that should be it. They should actually work together as leaders of the country."

"The last debate between the leaders was actually very informative. It gave me an idea of who to vote for."

How he came to his decision 

"I've realized that there are goals set and we've been lectured about what they’ve accomplished. This campaign has revealed that most of those targets were not met," Odongi said. 

"There is rhetoric in some of the promises and that has influenced my decision this election."

Odongi isn't saying who he will vote for, just that it won't be for the Liberals.

"I did come to a conclusion, yes," he says. "It will not be the same as last time."

Message to the winner

Odongi said he would like whoever gets Canada's top job to work with other leaders and consider their points of view.

"Try and get us out of these problems that we're going through. We're going through COVID-19. We don't know how it's going to be better or going to be worse," he said.

"I'm sure one leader alone isn't going to be able to do it. You need to be able to bring everybody together, bring the country together. Let's handle these things together."


Reflections on the campaign 

Montreal resident Alex Carrier, 36, who works for a large video-game developer, said that while many of the issues he cares about were discussed during the campaign, he would have liked to see more comprehensive plans for dealing with the pandemic.

“Pandemic response is not a provincial matter. It’s a federal matter. It shouldn’t be different from Quebec, to Ontario, to Manitoba. There should be one comprehensive plan and it should be from the federal government,” he said.

He also would have also liked to see more focus on environmental issues and the fight against climate change.

How he came to his decision 

Carrier said he made his choice by process of elimination.

He ruled out the Conservatives because he doesn’t think the party is concerned enough about the environment and he’s worried that a Tory government would impose austerity measures at a time when people need help.

Carrier said he sees Trudeau, who represents the Papineau riding where he lives, as a status quo politician, who offers “more of the same, nothing bad, nothing good.”

He ruled out the Bloc Québécois because he sees the party as having “provincial concerns.”

While Carrier said he likes the Green Party’s stance on environmental issues, he doesn’t think the party platform is detailed enough on economic and social issues.

While Carrier said he would have liked to see Jagmeet Singh bring up climate change more frequently, he thinks the NDP platform is the strongest and he thinks the party’s promise to tax “excess” profits made by companies during the pandemic to fund a recovery plan is “incredibly clever.”

Carrier said he also sees Singh as being “a little more connected with people and their needs than Justin Trudeau.”

Message to the winner

Carrier said he hopes the next prime minister will think about the long term and bring humility, as well as a willingness to reflect on who we are as a country, to the job. 

“There’s never any platform that challenges who we are and our values. We're not one of the greatest countries on the planet. We’re not bad, but we're not the greatest either. I hear that a lot from politicians, that Canada is one of the best countries, and it takes away from reflecting on what we really need to work on and kind of riles people up when it comes to their identity,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 19, 2021.

Sarah Smellie, Bill Graveland and Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press