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politics

Mitzie Hunter Captures Scarborough-Guildwood in a Tight By-Election Race

Mitzie Hunter's win was a bright spot for the Liberal party, which lost seats in Thursday's by-elections.

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MPP-elect Mitzie Hunter salutes her supporters as premier Kathleen Wynee looks on. Photo by Ehssan Taghavi.

Mitzie Hunter held the provincial Liberal seat in Scarborough-Guildwood Thursday night after a close three-way by-election contest. Hunter earned about 38 per cent of the vote, according to unofficial results from Elections Ontario. Conservative Ken Kirupa finished second with 32 per cent of the ballots, while NDP hopeful Adam Giambrone was third, with 30 per cent.

As her victory became clear, a jubilant Hunter entered the Rembrant Banquet hall on Progress Avenue to cheers from over 200 supporters, and was introduced by Premier Kathleen Wynne. “To the people of Scarborough-Guildwood, I am humbled by your confidence in me, and by your support,” said Hunter.

Hunter, who billed herself as a “subway champion” on signs and in campaign literature, received a loud ovation when she repeated her pledge to extend the Bloor-Danforth line further into Scarborough. She also said Liberal losses in three of five provincial by-elections last night were proof the electorate expects more from the government. “We have heard that message loud and clear,” Hunter said.

As former chair of the advocacy group CivicAction, Hunter had endorsed using aboveground light rail to replace the aging Scarborough RT. But during the campaign, Hunter and her two main opponents all jockeyed to position themselves as subway proponents.

Liberal supporter and one-time city council candidate Bryan Heal told Torontoist, at the party, that a strong canvassing team, and not the transit issue, was the reason for Hunter’s victory. “We won with boots on the ground, plain and simple,” Heal said.

Hunter will replace Liberal Margarett Best, who resigned after holding the riding since 2007.

In the Etobicoke-Lakeshore by-election, Tory candidate Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday (Ward 3, Etobicoke Centre) eked out a close victory over Councillor Peter Milczyn (Ward 5, Etobicoke-Lakeshore), who ran for the Liberals. Holyday will need to resign his council seat to take on his new role as an MPP. Mayor Rob Ford has said he will appoint Councillor Norm Kelly (Ward 40, Scarborough Agincourt) as the city’s new deputy mayor.

NDP Candidates Percy Hatfield and Peggy Sattler won by wide margins in Windsor-Tecumseh and London West, respectively. The only other Liberal win of the night was in Ottawa South, where John Fraser clinched ex-Premier Dalton McGuinty’s former riding.

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