Election 2008: Volpe holds Liberal fort in Eglinton-Lawrence

Election win number seven in the Eglinton-Lawrence riding came as anything but lucky for Liberal MP Joe Volpe, but there were a few scares along the way.

Early vote counts on Tuesday night, placed Conservative candidate Joe Oliver on top by as many as 28 votes. However, the next update of the evening showed Volpe up by 250 votes, a lead he would never relinquish. Volpe did admit to some nervous moments.

“I always run with a certain amount of fear in my campaigns,” he said. “But my record is what it is because my relationship with the electorate has always been very positive.”

Volpe’s 19,108 (44 per cent) votes led the way, followed by Oliver’s 16,848 (39 per cent) with the Green’s Andrew James and New Democrat Justin Chatwin finishing with 3,826 (9 per cent) and 3,680 (8.5 per cent) votes respectively.

Volpe’s riding has remained in Liberal hands since the riding was first represented the House of Commons in 1979. Tuesday night’s election ended up being the closest the Conservatives have come to unseating the Liberals since 1984, when they took 40 per cent of the vote, slightly less than the Liberals 43 per cent.

Volpe’s supporters for the most part were not affected by his failed bid in the Liberal leadership race in 2006, when he made headlines for donations he received from some current and former executives of Apotex Inc. and their relatives.

The only money on Volpe’s mind now, however, are the dollars that make up Canada’s economy as he says that must take precedent over everything.

“The government has to be 100 per cent focused on the economy,” he said. “Unfortunately the Conservative government has yet to develop an industrial strategy. You can’t just take the mentality that the marketplace will work itself out.”

As for raising the profile of Toronto’s urban needs, Volpe says he will make sure Prime Minister Stephen Harper gives them the attention they deserve.

“Toronto is the lifeblood of what makes Canada works. I’m sorry if that offends anyone, but that’s reality,” Volpe said. “I will advocate what I know is important and ensure that city funding is not the place for petty politics.”