NDP ends 14 years of Liberal reign in Davenport

Losing the municipal vote in 2010 didn’t stop NDP candidate Jonah Schein from running in this year’s provincial election.

On Thursday night, Schein’s perseverance finally paid off; after 14 years of Liberal rule, Davenport shifted from red to orange.

Schein joins seven other new NDP members who stole ridings from the Liberals, giving the party 17 members against the Liberals’ 53 seats, one shy of a majority government. The Progressive Conservatives ended the night with 37 seats.

Schein entered the Lula Lounge on Dundas Street West to an elated crowd of supporters. Notable NDP members such as Davenport MP Andrew Cash and Trinity-Spadina MP Olivia Chow were among those in attendance.

Humble and reserved, Schein delivered a short speech, thanking his volunteers and campaign team.

“Look at all you guys, a room full of fighters,” he said. “You’ve been fighting for a very long time.”

Schein said he was grateful for having a team of over 500 volunteers, who performed tasks such as canvassing on his behalf, dropping off leaflets and helping organize the victory party.

Seventy-three-year-old Tony Turrittin, who’s been an NDP supporter since 1964, proved to be a true soldier in Schein’s campaign. Turrittin went door-to-door to promote Schein’s message until he fractured his ankle in July.  Determined to carry on, he continued to help in a different capacity.

“I worked on the phones and I donated to his campaign,” Turrittin said.

Turrittin has always been drawn to the NDP’s philosophy of representing the ordinary people.

“Jonah works for the community. He puts the community first, working with them,” he said.

With a master’s degree in social work from York University, Schein has worked as a community organizer and a social worker.

“We have huge inequalities in this very rich country of ours, but we are going to fight like mad,” Schein told his supporters.

Schein said that the first item on his agenda is to help his party set up a community office that can serve the immediate needs of his riding. He said he hopes to improve accessibility in terms of transit and housing.

Despite losing, Liberal candidate Cristina Martins still believes she ran a great campaign.

“It was lack of voter turnout,” she said. “At the end of the day that’s what it boiled down to.”