Election 2008: Rae romps to win in Toronto Centre

Federal Liberal candidate Bob Rae marked his 10th election win Tuesday night while claiming his party prevented a Conservative majority government.

The liberal incumbent spoke to a crowd at Oakham House in downtown Toronto after winning approximately 54 per cent of the vote in Toronto Centre.

Rae told media and supporters Stephen Harper failed to accomplish what his election call intended.

“Mr. Harper called this election because he wanted to win a majority,” Rae said. “It appears from the results so far that is not going to be the case.”

Rae said the Conservative government would have to face the reality of a vote of confidence and that the Liberal caucus would think “long and hard” about when a confidence vote would take place.

Rae expressed doubts that Stephen Harper was capable of governing with a minority.
“If he bends he bends, if he doesn’t bend, he will break and we will just have to see what happens,” Rae said.

Rae defeated Conservative candidate David Gentili, who placed second with around 18 per cent of the vote. NDP candidate El-Farouk Khaki placed third with 15 per cent.

Toronto Centre is a strong riding for the Liberals, who have held the seat since 1993. There is huge socio-economic diversity in the riding, which includes prosperous areas such as Rosedale, Moore Park and Cabbagetown and low-income communities including Regent Park and St. Jamestown.

The 2006 census results show that 40 per cent of the riding consists of immigrants, who are not permitted to vote until they have gained citizenship.

Rae won his first election almost 30 years ago, to the day, on Oct. 16, 1978, for the now defunct federal riding of Broadview-Greenwood, and has won every election on a riding level since. Rae has held the Toronto Centre Rosedale seat since winning a byelection in March 2008.