By Steve Jalsevac

TORONTO, January 11, 2006 ( – The Ontario riding of Chatham-Kent-Essex is another key riding to watch this election. It turned out to be one of the closest federal election races in Canada in 2004, with just a little over 400 votes separating the winner from the runner-up. This Jan. 23, it promises to be another nailbiter, as Liberal and Conservative candidates square off as the frontrunners in the latest federal election in this bellwether riding.

Four candidates who have never served in Parliament are running for the seat – David Van Kesteren for the Conservatives (who finished right behind Liberal MP Pickard in the last election), Jim Comiskey for the Liberals this time, Kathleen Kevany for the NDP and Ken Bell for the Green Party. A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation analysis of the riding indicates that some NDP supporters there may vote strategically for Liberal Comiskey in order to keep Van Kesteren out of office.

VanKesteren and Comiskey are both rated pro-life with exception by Campaign Life Coalition but Comiskey loses a significant point for not supporting defunding of abortion. On the marriage issue, the Conservative seems solidly in favour of the traditional definition of marriage whereas Liberal Comiskey refused to answer the CLC question on same-sex “marriage”. He also wrote a problematic letter stating “To support the use of the notwithstanding clause to withdraw rights from any group would be to erode the very basis of fundamental rights in Canada”.

See the Full Special Report
  Chatham-Kent-Essex Election Riding Report