Young voters help keep Toronto-Danforth in NDP fold

The new MP for Toronto-Danforth credits the youth vote for his victory Monday night.

Craig Scott (Craig Scott)

The Opera House on Queen Street East in Toronto was packed with New Democratic Party (NDP) supporters, Monday night, to celebrate Craig Scott’s victory in the federal byelection; he earned just short of 60 per cent of the vote. Runner up, Grant Gordon of the Liberal party earned just under 30 per cent of the votes.

Scott claimed that the youth played a big role in his victory.

“(Young people) have a perspective on their own future that needs to be part of not just electoral engagement, but part of the ideas and knowledge that gets put forward to solve policy problems,” he said, “The youth are already the ones and they are going to be the ones that are going to pick us up at the scruff of the neck and make sure we get something done.”

Mandy Ling, 28, worked on the Craig campaign and helped deliver the victory.

“People love the NDP because we take action; we don’t just come in and knock on the door and say, ‘This is what we’re going to do in the next four years.’ We actually do it,” she said.

There were 75,000 eligible voters in the Toronto-Danforth byelection; 32,000 exercised their franchise. The riding encompasses strong Greek and Chinese populations.

Ling said the biggest challenge during the campaign was the language barrier she encountered while interacting with members of the Chinese community of the riding.

“We had a great success in the Chinese community. I would say at least 80 per cent voted,” she said.

MPP Peter Tabuns joined Scott in the celebration at the Opera House. He believes that despite Jack Layton’s death, the party has not stopped gaining momentum.

“I think he (Scott) is going to be an excellent Member of Parliament and I think he is just going to carry on Jack’s legacy,” he said.

Scott, 50, is a law professor and human rights advocate. The Toronto-Danforth riding was first won by Jack Layton, leader of the NDP, in 2004; he held the seat until his death from cancer, last August. Layton’s orange-coloured campaign signs were highly visible in last year’s federal election, when he led the NDP to Official Opposition status in the House of Commons.

“It looks like the orange crush is here to stay,” Scott said, “It’s not going anywhere.”