‘Liberal gladiators’ help Berardinetti to re-election

Today is his seventh wedding anniversary. Yesterday, he won re-election in Scarborough Southwest.

Cheers greeted incumbent Liberal MPP Lorenzo Berardinetti as he and his wife, Coun. Michelle Berardinetti, entered his campaign office last night after his victory in the Oct. 6 election.

“I’m grateful,” Berardinetti told his supporters. “I want to thank you. There is no way I could have done it by myself.”

“This important group was basically assembled by [campaign manager] Costas [Manios] — and my mother’s DNA,” he joked.

“They’re your Liberal gladiators!” a supporter shouted.

One of the issues he plans to tackle first is the Quarry Lands condo proposal at Victoria Park and Gerrard Street, he said. Area residents have raised health concerns over possible contaminants.

“I’m going to do everything in my power to work with the Ministry of Environment to ensure that before it gets built, it goes through a proper environmental assessment process,” Berardinetti said.

Berardinetti won 14,500 votes. The NDP’s Bruce Budd came in second winning nearly 10,500 votes, while Progressive Conservative Mike Chopowick finished in third with about 7,100 votes.

“They’re both gentlemen,” Berardinetti said of his competitors. “I have nothing but good words to say about them.”

The riding has a strong NDP history. From 1963 to 1979, it was held by Stephen Lewis, a former NDP leader.

Berardinetti was first elected in Scarborough Southwest in 2003, when he beat Tory incumbent Dan Newman by more than 5,500 votes. He won again in 2007 with 46 per cent of the vote.

“I feel a sense of accomplishment, happiness and a sense of relief because you always worry during the campaign,” Berardinetti said.

He said the first time he ran in an election, municipally in 1988, he won by a mere two votes. He was a city councillor until 2003.

“I think it’s great. He’s represented Scarborough for over 23 years,” campaign manager Manios said. “He’s done a good job and people rewarded him by sending him back to Queen’s Park.”

Campaign volunteer Doris Ward is a longtime Berardinetti supporter.

“He’s a person who listens to people,” Ward said. “I like him very much.”