Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman, sadly my MPP, was dispatched to spin the McGuinty by-election loss in York South-Weston tonight. In his typically gracious style, Furious George grumbled that the NDP backed Paul Ferreira’s campaign with everything we had, and seemed reluctant to see our admittedly close victory (see the top 5 results below) as a major upset. (Liberal Joe Cordiano won the riding handily the last couple of elections before he retired.)
Nice try, George.
But, hey, now you have another openly gay Member of Provincial Parliament in the Legislature. Yes, George, we know you’re still the first gay provincial cabinet minister here. The very fact that Paul’s sexual orientation was not an issue is great!
Nine cabinet ministers and the Premier campaigning could not win YS-W – especially not after the fat pay raise they gave themselves before Christmas – as Paul’s local credentials and the steadily-growing NDP campaign for a $10 minimum wage hit the right chord in what is described as the second poorest riding in the province.
There’s no question there was a great showing of NDP caucus members, and provincial workers, at Paul’s victory celebrations tonight and Howard Hampton’s speech – wow! Choking back tears as he expressed appreciation for the hard campaigning of volunteers, many of whom he pointed out were already working two or more minimum-wage jobs, Howard was at his best tonight.
Keep showing that kind of passion and empathy, Howard, and the air will never come out of those thunder-sticks!
ALBANESE, LAURA (LIBERAL) 7200 votes 41.2%
CLARKE, KEVIN (IND.) 246 votes 1.2%
FERREIRA, PAUL (NDP) 7596 votes 43.5%
KAMAL, MIR (GREEN) 262 votes 1.4%
MARTINO, PINA (PROG. CON.) 1784 votes 10.2%