Kellway gives emotional concession speech, tips hat to Jack Layton

The mood was somber at NDP candidate Matthew Kellway’s post-election reception last night as the 2011 federal election’s orange wave was replaced by a red one this time around.

Campaign volunteer Joanne Clark expressed her disappointment shortly after the CBC made the call that Liberal Justin Trudeau would be the next Prime Minister.

“I was really hoping for some miracle for the NDP,” she said at the Time Capsule Cafe on Danforth Avenue. “I feel like (NDP leader) Thomas Mulcair is the true statesman … and that Trudeau has really won with his star power.”

Matthew Kellway arrived at the gathering at 10:30 p.m. to a thunderous round of applause from his team.

“I, of course, am broken-hearted tonight,” he said, adding that he has no regrets about the work he’s done in Beaches-East York over the past four years.

Kellway garnered 30.2 per cent of the votes in the riding, according to the CBC site Canada Votes 2015. Liberal candidate Nathaniel Erskine-Smith captured 49.2 per cent of the total, winning by 6,059 votes.

Kellway was especially heartfelt when thanking his team.

“Many friendships were formed along the way, and they will be lasting friendships,” he said.

He added that he has “kind of a love letter” to write to his team, but choked up when he mentioned another well-known letter to the NDP.

“We’ve still got Jack’s letter. And it was a letter written for a whole generation of us NDPers,” he said, referring to the letter written by former NDP leader Jack Layton in August 2011 shortly before his death. “It’s a letter that will carry us forward through tough times like tonight, and through good times to come.”

While Kellway said he had a gut feeling a concession speech might be needed on election night, he couldn’t put his finger on why.

“It was, I think, just something in my gut that was gnawing at me,” he said. “It was the 308.com stuff that people were listening to that had no polling done in the ridings.”

“It was the Liberals going knocking on doors propagating numbers that weren’t based on polling results.”

When asked if he felt strategic voting was a factor, Kellway said, “It’s always been a worry, this tendency for Canadians to revert to a party that in my view hasn’t been good for them or for us.”

As for what’s next, his plans are simple.

“Sleep in tomorrow,” he said.

But his message to his team was clear.

“We’ve got four years to build the community we want to live in, to build the party locally we want to run in the next election.”