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Ignatieff optimistic despite poor polls

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/4/2011 (2299 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

BRAMPTON, Ont. -- On a sunny Saturday in southwestern Ontario, there was little sign of the storm clouds hovering over the Liberal campaign.

The party is making a last stand in this vote-rich region as it fights for its political life, conducting a ground war through 13 ridings. Despite the slide to third place in the polls and with no newspaper endorsements, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff remains convinced his party can do it.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff serves sweets  at a restaurant Saturday in Brampton, Ont.


Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff serves sweets at a restaurant Saturday in Brampton, Ont.

"We're going to get the vote out and everybody's going to be surprised Monday night," he said at a farmers' market in Guelph, Ont.

So the weekend is being spent doing one whistle stop after another in search of the estimated 800,000 Liberal voters who failed to turn up at the polls the last time around.

About 6,000 of them were in the Ontario riding of Brant, says the campaign chairman for local Liberal candidate, Lloyd St. Amand.

St. Amand was the riding MP from 2004 to 2008 and is trying to recapture the seat.

The campaign is different this time around, he said. The party is better at engaging and identifying voters.

"It's just got a different, more positive feel," he said, adding the local campaign has been overwhelmed by new volunteers.

But the party isn't just trying to shore up existing support. Organizers also want to convert new voters.

At the Brown Dog Coffee Shop, Ignatieff took a turn flipping apple-fritters before making the rounds.

He briefly shook hands with local teacher Heidi Cran, 39, who said afterwards that she usually votes Conservative.

But Ignatieff was the first federal politician she's actually ever met and that brief encounter had an impact.

"It's nice to have a personal connection," she said.

"I think to come to a small town like Paris, it's nice to know he hasn't forgotten about the little people."

While the Liberals publicly say they're getting far better support at the doors then they did in 2008, privately some are musing nothing is going to change when it comes to voter turnout.

-- Ignatieff's campaign stops today: Markham, Ont.; Ajax, Ont.; Toronto; Thornhill, Ont.; Maple, Ont.


-- The Canadian Press


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