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Lawyers reflect on their campaigns on election day

|Written By Miriam Yosowich

Election day is finally here after a marathon campaign. Many voters are nervous about the outcome of today’s federal election, but how do some of the lawyers who have put themselves forward as candidates feel today?

Nathaniel Erskine Smith
Nathaniel Erskine-Smith is among the many lawyers running in today's federal election.
Many seem to be in a positive mood on election day.

“Nerves are good,” says lawyer and Hamilton Centre Conservative candidate Yonatan Rozenszajn. He notes it has been an “exhausting campaign as it was one of the longest in recent history” but says his campaign tried its best to speak to voters.

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, the Liberal candidate for Beaches-East York and a lawyer at Kramer Simaan Dhillon LLP, feels very positive. He says he met great people on the campaign trail, worked hard, and had a lot of support in his riding because “there are a lot of people who want a new government, who want change.”

Maureen Harquail, the Conservative candidate for the riding of Don Valley East who works as general counsel at the Ontario Racing Commission, says it was a “long campaign but overall a very positive experience.” She notes it was an honour to run for office and says she took the democratic process very seriously as “every day I was knocking on doors . . . during my whole campaign.”

So what are the candidates doing today? “I’m aware that today is different from the other days in the campaign trail,” says Rozenszajn. “I’m going to watch the election results, call people, and do different activities.”

Erskine-Smith, on the other hand, was heading to the Toronto subway this morning to speak to voters. Then he plans to “stop into my volunteer home centres to thank volunteers.”

Harquail gave the “last push” for her campaign last night at 11:30 p.m. when she knocked on her last door and is planning to relax today.

When it comes to balancing their law practices and running in a long campaign, Rozenszajn says that as a sole practitioner in the area of litigation, he has flexibility and has been able to continue practising law while hitting the campaign trail.

In Erskine-Smith’s case, he took a leave of absence from being a lawyer at a busy commercial litigation firm in downtown Toronto to hit the campaign trail. He says his firm has been solidly behind him.

Due to legislative requirements, Harquail had to take an unpaid leave of absence from her position at the Ontario Racing Commission and has done so since Aug. 2. It was a sacrifice, she says, but she notes she was glad to have the chance to serve Canadians.

The candidates, of course, still have a long day ahead of them with the polls closing later tonight. And with the poll showing a close race, they may have a long night to learn who won.


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