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Advance voting opens in federal byelection in Toronto-St. Paul's with 84 candidates on ballot


Advance voting opens today in a federal byelection for Toronto-St. Paul's which features more candidates on the ballot than any other single riding in history.

There are 84 candidates running in the race, which was triggered when longtime Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett announced in December that she would be stepping down after representing the riding for 26 years.

Bennett has since been named ambassador to Denmark.

The Midtown Toronto riding stretches roughly from Dupont Street in the south to Eglington Avenue in the north, and from Dufferin Street in the west to Mount Pleasant Road in the east.

Among the 84 names on the ballot, long-time Liberal staffer Leslie Church is running to try and hold the seat for her party. Church recently worked as chief of staff for deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Don Stewart, an engineer and employee at the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization, is running for the Conservatives to try flip the riding to blue, while community organizer Amrit Parhar is running for the NDP. Christian Cullis, a constituent coordinator for local councillor Dianne Saxe, is on the ballot for the Green Party. Dennis Wilson, a business consultant, is running for the People's Party of Canada.

Candidates from lesser-known parties are also in the mix, along with dozens of independent candidates.

Political observers are watching the byelection closely as a possible bellwether for how the parties might fare in a national election next year, especially given Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's sagging numbers in the polls.

"I think a lot of people are going to be reading the entrails on this because we are getting closer to the election. Byelections are sometimes referendums on the government of the day," pollster Nick Nanos recently told CTV News.

While a Liberal win could indicate that the party is not as weak as some have suggested, a Conservative win could portend serious danger for the Liberals in the vote-rich Greater Toronto Area in the next election.


How to vote

Advance voting is set to run June 14-17 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day. Voters can cast a ballot at their assigned polling station, which can be found on the Elections Canada website.

Voters can also cast an early ballot from Friday through 6 p.m. on June 18 at the local Elections Canada office in the riding.

To cast a ballot, voters need to have ID which proves their identity and address.

People can also register by June 18 to vote by mail.

The byelection itself will be held on June 24. Polls will be open that day from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

With files from CTV News and The Canadian Press Top Stories


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