Cambridge: Get to know this riding and its candidates

CBC Kitchener-Waterloo is profiling different local ridings in advance of the federal election, set for Sept. 20, 2021. The Cambridge riding covers a broad geographic area that includes the City of Cambridge south of the 401, the Township of North Dumfries and a small portion of Brant County.
The people running in Cambridge are Liberal incumbent Bryan May, Green candidate Michele Braniff, Conservative candidate Connie Cody, NDP candidate Lorne Bruce and People's Party of Canada candidate Maggie Segounis. (Elections Canada)

CBC Kitchener-Waterloo is profiling different local ridings in advance of the federal election, set for Sept. 20, 2021. Read our earlier coverage of the Kitchener Centre riding

The Cambridge riding covers a broad geographic area that includes a section of the City of Cambridge that lies south of the 401, the Township of North Dumfries and a small portion of Brant County. 

Candidates running this year are Liberal incumbent Bryan May, Green candidate Michele Braniff, Conservative candidate Connie Cody, NDP candidate Lorne Bruce and PPC candidate Maggie Segounis.

Learn more about the riding, and the candidates running this year. 

Who lives in Cambridge?

According to Elections Canada, the riding has a population of 115,463 people and 89,596 eligible voters.

The 2016 census profile of the riding lists the average age of the population as 40, slightly younger than the provincial average age of 41.

There are 43,335 private households in Cambridge. The average census family size is three people, with 2,990 families listed as having more than five people. 

According to Statistics Canada, English is the most common mother tongue in Cambridge. Some commonly spoken non-official languages include Portuguese, Spanish, Punjabi, Gujarati and Urdu. 

There are 16,240 people in the riding who identified as part of a visible minority group, including South Asian, Black, Latin American, Chinese and Southeast Asian. 

The median total income in 2015 for people 15 and older was about $35,000. The median household income during that same time period was about $76,000, which was above the Ontario median household income of about $74,000. 

During the last election, there was a 65 per cent voter turnout, according to Elections Canada data. 

Connie Cody - Conservative Party of Canada

Connie Cody is the Conservative candidate for Cambridge. (Connie Cody - Ward 7 Cambridge/Facebook)

Political priorities:

  • Cost of living and affordability for families and seniors. 
  • Housing. 
  • Mental health and addiction.
  • Secure jobs and the economic future.

Connie Cody was not available for an interview with CBC Kitchener-Waterloo this week. In an emailed statement, Cody said she was born and raised in Galt and spent her career in social services, business management, accounting, and computer systems administration.

Cody said she left the workforce to care for her father when he became ill. During that time, she volunteered and participated in community advocacy work. 

"The combination of my life and work experience, and community involvement, has created a strong desire to do more for our community, our people, our businesses," Cody said in the statement. "I will bring a strong voice to Ottawa to represent all people."

Cody ran in a by-election in 2020 for the Cambridge council seat left vacant by the death of Frank Monteiro, but did not win.

At the time, Cody said her top local issues included public safety, the rising cost of living, affordable housing and a consideration for the environment in development, road maintenance and city services. 

Michele Braniff - Green Party of Canada

Michele Braniff is the Green candidate in Cambridge. (Submitted by Michele Braniff)

Political priorities:

  • A "green" economic recovery from COVID-19. 
  • Affordable housing. 
  • Reconciliation and fulfillment of the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. 
  • Social and environmental justice. 

Michele Braniff describes herself as a social activist who's had a varied career as a lawyer, mediator, non-profit mental health provider, adjunct lecturer and entrepreneur. 

Braniff has led workshops for Wellbeing Waterloo Region and teaches in a social service worker program at a community college. 

Braniff said her main priority in this election is to push for a "green" economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"After a chaotic time like a pandemic, that's a good time for social change … As Greta Thunberg said, 'The house is on fire,'" said Braniff in an interview with CBC K-W. 

Braniff said this summer's forest fires in northern Ontario and British Columbia have reinforced the threat posed by climate change and the need for action.

"Climate crisis is now acknowledged by pretty much everyone," she said. "We need a plan that will create conditions for resilience, to look after the planet and make sure that we do meet our Paris Accord targets." 

"I'm asking people to vote for me as being a vote for future generations and a vote that will safeguard the planet, if we take action now," she said. 

Bryan May - Liberal Party of Canada

Bryan May is the Liberal incumbent in Cambridge. (

Political priorities:

  • Affordable housing. 
  • Affordable childcare. 
  • A transition to a green economy. 
  • Reconciliation. 
  • More skilled training and well-paying jobs. 

Bryan May is the Liberal incumbent for Cambridge, and was first elected in 2015. May has chaired the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and, more recently, the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs. He has also co-chaired the Liberal Auto Caucus and chaired the Canada-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group. 

This year, May introduced a private member's bill that would have amended the Copyright Act to give people the "right to repair" broken devices. It passed a second reading June 2 but did not pass before the federal election was called.

May told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo a new priority in this election is to ensure a "COVID-19 recovery for everyone." 

"We have to make sure that our recovery takes into account the fact that we are not all in the same boat," May told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo. "We're all in the same storm and we're all in very different boats. Our recovery has to reflect that, has to focus in on those that need the support the most." 

Prior to entering politics, May worked in co-operative education with the University of Waterloo and in the non-profit sector with the YMCA and with the Boys and Girls Club of Canada. 

"I believe that politics really is about public service and building community," he said.

Lorne Bruce - New Democratic Party

Lorne Bruce is the NDP candidate for Cambridge. (Submitted by Mike Windley)

Political priorities:

  • The environment.
  • Economic recovery from COVID-19. 
  • Income inequality. 
  • Housing affordability. 
  • Expansion of the Canada Health Act.

Lorne Bruce has lived in Waterloo region for 38 years. He works as a retail manager at Zehrs and describes himself as having "deep roots" with the NDP. 

Bruce ran for the federal NDP in Kitchener South-Hespeler in 2015 and in Kitchener-Conestoga in 2011.

Bruce told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo his work as a grocery manager has helped him understand the community and the challenges working people face. 

"You see them struggling with the price of groceries, and you get a real feel for regular folks, what they're going through," he said. 

Bruce is an executive board vice-president with the United Food and Commercial Workers' union and a vice-president and political action chair with the Waterloo Region Labour Council. 

Recently, Bruce said he's been involved with efforts to lobby the province for a higher minimum wage, paid sick days and improvements to the province's Labour Relations Act. 

"I don't have a problem with speaking truth to power," said Bruce. 

Maggie Segounis - People's Party of Canada

Maggie Segounis is the People's Party of Canada candidate for Cambridge. (Facebook)

Maggie Segounis did not respond to a request for interview from CBC Kitchener-Waterloo, but The People's Party of Canada has indicated its political priorities online, including:

  • Freedom of expression.
  • Public finance.
  • Health care.
  • Veteran affairs.
  • Internal trade.
  • Foreign policy. 

Segounis spoke with an independent media outlet in a video posted to her campaign Facebook page. 

"The PPC is everything I believe in," she said. "We believe in freedom of expression, freedom of Canada, freedom of the people of Canada." 

When asked about her position on lockdowns, Segounis said: "I personally am 100 per cent against lockdowns." 

On the topic of vaccine mandates, she said: "Mandating anything except healthy living is wrong."

Vaccination status

CBC Kitchener-Waterloo asked all candidates if they've been vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Bruce, May and Braniff said they have been vaccinated.

Cody did not directly say whether or not she has received the vaccine. 

"While Canadians have the right to make their own health choices, vaccines are a safe and effective tool to stop the spread of COVID-19 and we encourage every Canadian who is able to get one," Cody said. 

Segounis did not respond by publication deadline.

with files from Kate Bueckert