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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.


  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Less than 40% isn’t a sign of confidence anywhere but within Canada’s FPTP system.

  • OgtheDim

    Ok, I do have to say, that putting the Lib win front and centre, with a pic, and then putting one paragraph about the Con win in Etobicoke Lakeshore does make Torontoist look like a Liberal focused site.

    U are going to do an equally big piece about Holyday, right?

    Its been an hour and a bit, so just wondering……….

    • dsmithhfx

      See the Sun.

      • OgtheDim

        Nah, I’m trying to avoid a place where the trolls are writing the columns.

  • OgtheDim

    Subway champion!

    Well…..starting a few weeks ago. Before that, LRT champion!

  • Paul Kishimoto

    If the public expected actually more from government, they wouldn’t let the Ontario Liberals buy their votes with hundreds of real or virtual millions in infrastructure misspending.

    • Dinah Might

      Yeah nobody else buys votes with infrastructure misspending **COUGHCOUGHROBFORDSCARBOROUGHSUBWAYCOUGHCOUGH**

      Seriously though I do wish more candidates had stuck to their guns re: LRT. Might have shown us if there was anybody of character to vote for.

      • Paul Kishimoto

        Rob Ford’s Scarborough subway wouldn’t be happening if the OLP hadn’t tripped over themselves in eagerness to get this seat with $1.4b that Metrolinx thinks should be spent on the DRL.

        Also, the Conservatives’ thing was just infrastructure NONspending, i.e. letting things fall apart. Not a great alternative, but different.

        • Punned_It

          I think we should stop calling it the DRL – that ‘downtown’ part makes them think folks downtown are the only ones who are going to use it. If we want Scarborough to understand it we should call it the Scarborough Express Line, or something like that. Because it’s the folks from the ends of the lines who will be riding it.
          Start it from Main or Vic Park, follow the rail corridor, cross the Don and cut over to King. Put in several stops across the downtown, then pick up the rail corridor again near Liberty Village, head north and link up with the Bloor line around Dundas West or Keele,

          • Paul Kishimoto

            I’d let the professionals decide where it should go, but good point about the name.

    • dsmithhfx

      Is it happening? Last I heard the lrt is what’s happening and the subway is but an unfunded Fordian pipe dream. Ball’s in his court. Will he support “new revenue tools”? I think we all know the answer.

  • Don River

    Only a six point by-election victory when the Liberal and NDP candidates had far more name recognition than the PC candidate? I think I’d bet on the PC dude in a general election.

    • OgtheDim

      I don’t think so. The vote split won’t happen like that again.

      Name recognition doesn’t matter as much in Scar Guild as

      a) strategic voting
      b) getting out the vote

      Its unlikely Giambrone will be running there again. And once it became somewhat obvious that the PC person wasn’t going to win, then the mild protest vote of voting NDP became doable.

      In a general election, fear of the party that believes there is “a gay agenda” is a little higher.