Election 2008: Scarborough-Guildwood Grits celebrate bittersweet victory

Supporters cheered Liberal candidate John McKay as he won his fifth term as MP for Scarborough-Guildwood Tuesday night, but they couldn’t help but notice bruising seat losses for the partyin Ontario.

Despite a wide lead which swept up more than half the votes in his riding, the 60-year-old candidate showed dismay at as 16 Liberal seats vanished in the province.

“It’s a pretty serious loss,” he said “I think the Liberals need to stare themselves in the mirror in the morning and ask themselves where they did … not do well.”

McKay suggested, for example, that the party re-examine its relationship with Elizabeth May’s Greens.
“We can’t afford these vote splits any longer,” he said. “None of us can.”

McKay showed little enthusiasm for a coalition with the party’s otherelection rivals, the NDP. “It does seem to be kind of on the far end of probability,” he said. “They’re locked into a socialist mindset which pretty well every thinking person discarded around 1970.”

McKay chairs the Liberals’ Caucus Committee on Economic Prosperity. Given the apparent economic turmoil affecting voter moods, he rued his party’s failure to sell past fiscal successes under leaders such as Jean Chretien and Paul Martin.

“For whatever reason that didn’t get communicated or didn’t get communicated well,” he lamented. “I see this as a missed opportunity and I’m very disappointed.”

McKay speculated that Stéphane Dion’s Green Shift plan became too vulnerable to Conservative efforts to portray it as a federal cash-grab.

“I think the Green Shift should have been sold as a tax cut first and a shift onto carbon second,” he said. “I think it rightly, wrongly, fairly, unfairly became a ‘tax on everything’.”