Back to the future in Don Valley West

Rob Oliphant, the once-and-again MP for Don Valley West, receives congratulations from defeated incumbent John Carmichael (right).
Rob Oliphant, the once-and-again MP for Don Valley West, receives congratulations from defeated incumbent John Carmichael (right).

With music in the air and the appropriately red decor of The Local on Laird Drive as a backdrop, Rob Oliphant’s triumphant return to Parliament was cheered on tonight by his passionate supporters.

Oliphant, who had served as the MP for Don Valley West from 2008-2011, was succeeded by Conservative candidate John Carmichael in the last election. This time around, Oliphant came out on top — in what Carmichael jokingly referred to as their “rubber match.”

Carmichael made the pilgrimage to Oliphant’s victory party to congratulate the winner. For his part, Oliphant said that there wasn’t anything personal in this race; it was about making a better Canada for the people of Don Valley West.

“Our victory in Don Valley West wasn’t about me,” Oliphant told the Liberal faithful at his party. “It’s about you.”

Carmichael told the victor: “Clearly you’ve run a fabulous campaign. Your party ran a great campaign — and the night is yours. I wish you the best of success and I wish you four years of great service for this community.”

Carmichael’s well-wishes capped off returns that put Oliphant well ahead in Don Valley West. The openly gay former United Church minister captured a true majority of votes cast in the riding — 54 per cent, and despite six rivals. That was more than 8,000 votes ahead of Carmichael. All of the other candidates were stuck in the single-digits, percentage-wise.

It was a raucous but friendly atmosphere as The Local slowly filled to capacity with Liberal supporters after the polls closed at 9:30. Their satisfaction with the local results was compounded by the results across the country: the election of a majority Liberal government.

When the major television networks made their official projections of a Liberal majority, the crowd erupted with thunderous cheers. Ironically, a storm was stirring outside — but on this night nothing could rain on this parade.