Riding profile: Kanata-Carleton could be hotly contested

Kanata-Carleton will deliver a new MP to Parliament Hill in this election, and it will undoubtedly be a woman.

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Quick Facts

* Population: 55,830 people (2016)
* Median household income: 109,440 (2015)
* Median age: 40 (2016)
* Candidates nominated: Jenna Sudds, Liberal; Jennifer McAndrew, Conservative; Melissa Coenraad, NDP; Jennifer Purdy, Green; Scott Miller, PPC


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The Candidates

Jenna Sudds
Jenna Sudds Photo by Errol McGihon /Postmedia


Kanata North Coun. Jenna Sudds, the city’s deputy mayor, was acclaimed as the Liberal candidate in Kanata-Carleton on Aug. 9, one day after Karen McCrimmon, the riding’s MP for the past six years, announced her retirement from politics due to health concerns. Sudds was elected councillor for Kanata North in the last municipal election, in 2018, and will take a leave of absence from that position during the federal campaign. An economist, Sudds worked for 12 years in the federal government before leaving to become the executive director of the Kanata North Business Association. In 2017, she became executive director of the CIO Strategy Council, a group dedicated to improving Canada’s technology sector. A mother of three girls, she has been a long-time volunteer with the Kanata Food Cupboard and the Ottawa Network for Education. She holds a master’s degree in economics from Carleton University.


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Website: jennasudds.ca

Twitter: twitter.com/JennaSudds

Jennifer McAndrew
Jennifer McAndrew Photo by Files /Files


Entrepreneur Jennifer McAndrew won the Conservative nomination in July, and will carry the party’s banner into this election. McAndrew owns and operates an event planning business, Mastermind Event Rentals, with her husband, Scott. The couple launched the business from their garage in 2007, and it has grown to the point that it now employs 17 people. McAndrew entered politics after watching small businesses struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic, convinced that she could do more to help them, and concerned that the Liberal government is ill-suited to lead the country out of what she calls “the post-pandemic financial crisis.” A mother of two, McAndrew was raised in the Kanata neighbourhood of Beaverbrook, and now lives in Carp. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Carleton University and an MBA, and is a board member with the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre.


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Website: jennifermcandrew.com

Twitter:  twitter.com/JenniferMcAnd10

Melissa Coenraad.
Melissa Coenraad. Photo by Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

New Democrat: 

Melissa Coenraad, a medical lab technician at The Ottawa Hospital, is contesting the federal election in Kanata-Carleton for a second time. Coenraad has been a union leader and member of the Ontario Health Coalition, a group dedicated to improving the province’s health-care system and defending the Canada Health Act. She wants more affordable housing in Kanata-Carleton, a national pharmacare program and funding to extend the city’s LRT service to Kanata, Barrhaven and Stittsville. She holds a diploma in clinical lab science from St. Lawrence College.

Website: facebook.com/melissacoenraadNDP

Twitter: twitter.com/melissacoenraad


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Jennifer Purdy.
Jennifer Purdy. Photo by Tony Caldwell /Postmedia


Dr. Jennifer Purdy, a family physician, served 23 years in the Canadian military. Purdy is standing for election for the second time in Kanata-Carleton as Green Party candidate; she also serves in the party’s shadow cabinet as its health critic. Purdy operates a clinic, Ottawa Lifestyle Medicine, that’s dedicated to managing chronic diseases through a plant-based diet. She entered politics for the first time in 2019 because of her deep concern about climate change and its impact on Canadians. She has signed a pledge to act on the climate emergency by imposing an immediate moratorium on the approval of fossil fuel projects, and to invest in transition programs for workers and remote communities affected by the move towards renewable energy. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the Royal Military College of Canada and a medical degree from the University of Ottawa. She lives in Dunrobin with her husband, Bill.


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Website: kanatacarletongreens.ca/blog/2021/7/23/reintroducing-jennifer-purdy

Twitter: twitter.com/purdygreenKC

Scott Miller.
Scott Miller. Photo by Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

People’s Party of Canada

Software engineer Scott Miller will stand as the People’s Party candidate in Kanata-Carleton for a second time. A self-described libertarian and “computer nerd,” he has lived in Kanata for more than 20 years. Miller said freedom is the central issue in the campaign. The government’s response to COVID-19, he said, offers “a rapid and brutal reminder of how fear is used to get people to support and even cheer shameful actions in the name of safety.” Miller has attended anti-lockdown protests, does not believe in climate change “alarmism,” and says “you will never have to justify having a truck to a PPC government.” A married father of three, he holds a degree in systems and computer engineering from Carleton University.


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The Riding

The riding, which encompasses Kanata’s suburbs and the sprawling rural communities west of them, features a significant population of public service workers, high-tech employees and farmers. Added to the electoral map in 2015, the riding was built largely from what used to be Carleton-Mississippi Mills — a riding that regularly sent Tory MPs to Parliament Hill.

Kanata-Carleton is an affluent riding where more than half of the riding’s population — 55,830 people — identify as Canadians who have been in the country for at least three generations. Only about one in five of Kanata-Carleton residents come from a visible minority. More than half identify their ethnicity as English, Irish or Scottish, and two-thirds call themselves Christians. About 60 per cent of those in the riding have lived there at least five years and the vast majority (90 per cent) own their homes rather than rent them.


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Voters in the riding are engaged, and in 2019 they recorded a 67 per cent turnout rate.

2019 results

Liberal: 28,746 (43.1 per cent)

Conservative: 24,361 (36.5 per cent)

NDP: 8,317 (12.5 per cent)

Green: 4,387 (6.6 per cent)

What to watch

Kanata-Carleton will deliver a new MP to Parliament Hill in this election, and it will undoubtedly be a woman with the four leading parties fielding female candidates.

Sudds’ leap into federal politics after less than three years on the municipal scene gives the Liberals a high-profile candidate with name recognition. Sudds won her municipal election with almost 47 per cent of the vote, but the larger electoral district Kanata-Carleton could prove a tougher test. Voters may also take issue with her decision to leave city hall so soon.

The 2019 election in the riding was a competitive one even with an incumbent Liberal whose strong military background undoubtedly appealed to some conservatives. With McCrimmon gone, the outcome in Kanata-Carleton becomes more uncertain. The riding has a deep conservative streak rooted in its small towns and farm communities, which means any left-of-centre candidate has to draw support from fence-sitting voters. The NDP and Green Party candidates are both well-spoken, experienced candidates — something that could bleed votes from the Liberals.



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