Burstyn sees silver lining in defeat

Helen Burstyn may not have won a seat in the provincial election tonight, but as she met a crowd of her supporters at a pub on the Danforth, she was still smiling.

“Never as close as this,” she said about the race. “I’ve got my eye on this (riding) because it’s important and it’s been under-represented.”

Burstyn finished about 4,000 votes and 10 percentage points behind the winner in Beaches-East York, incumbent New Democrat Michael Prue.

As she thanked her supporters, Burstyn paced and grinned. She seemed humbled by the support she’d received over the campaign.

She also spoke as if the campaign was still in full swing.

“I know the community services that are here and I also know the ones that aren’t here and they’re never going to be here unless we get somebody… who knows how to work within and for government,” she said. “It’s the only way.”

Despite Burstyn’s loss, the Liberal party was able to return to power provincially for a third term.

Alfred Apps, president of the Liberal Party of Canada and a personal friend of Burstyn, arrived at the bar shortly after the polls closed.

Sipping red wine, he said that he thinks Burstyn’s ability to close the historically large gap between the NDP and Liberals in Beaches-East York is impressive. He also thinks another Liberal government in Ontario is an important step in the right direction for the party.

Referring to the Liberals’ federal election loss, Apps said, “Given what happened to us last May, this feels fantastic. This is all a good sign for the future of the party.”

Burstyn, surrounded by family, friends and campaign workers, insisted that she’d be back to run in the next provincial election.

She was even quick to give campaign-styled sound bites to reporters.

“There’s only so much you can do if you’re always pounding on the doors complaining that things aren’t happening,” she said. “There’s so much more you can do if you know how to work in and with government.”