It was a vote for change, not just for the nation, but also for the communities of Eglinton-Lawrence riding.
After the polls closed on Monday night, over 80 supporters of Liberal Party candidate Marco Mendicino gathered at Seoul House restaurant in North York to celebrate his win for the riding as well as the victory for the Liberal Party.
Preliminary results of the Lawrence-Eglinton riding show Mendicino winning nearly 50 per cent support with more than 23,000 votes. Incumbent MP and Conservative finance minister Joe Oliver received about 19,000 votes. NDP candidate Andrew Thomson came in third with almost 3,000 votes.
“Tonight, we have chosen to close a chapter on a decade of divisiveness,” Mendicino said in his victory speech to a cheering crowd. “I could not be more proud to have the opportunity to serve this community, the place I love, the place I call home. I will not let you down.”
The first two people Mendicino brought up in his victory speech were opposition candidates Oliver and Thomson. He thanked the Minister of Finance for his time in office and acknowledged the NDP candidate.
“Standing for public office takes effort, it takes sacrifice beyond measure; and I wanted to thank each and every one of the candidates for contributing to the strength of democracy,” Mendicino said.
The former federal prosecutor also thanked Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, for his leadership and dedication to Canadians. Trudeau is now prime minister-designate of Canada.
Mendicino continued to express his gratitude to everyone who helped him along the way, including his campaign manager, election day coordinator and campaign co-chairs.
“I want to thank the absolutely brilliant members of my team, Team Marco,” Mendicino said. “I want to thank all of our door-knockers, our phone-callers, our sign crews, our scrutineers, our youth wing, and hundreds volunteers who sacrificed their time with their blood, sweat and tears. Thank you to you all.”
Campaign manager Susan Kushneryk said even though the journey was a long one, she never gave up on Mendicino.
“Marco has been a best friend for a long time,” Kushneryk said in an interview. “He needed to get here. This is the right result for Lawrence-Eglinton; this is the right result for the rest of the country.”
Mendicino’s wife, Diana Iannetta, said the campaign was an adventure.
“I’m so happy. I knew this is going to happen,” she said in an interview.”It was something that we all learned from, and that makes this win so much better.”
Alex Mendicino, the candidate’s uncle, has been supporting Mendicino since the moment he decided to pursue a political career a year and a half ago.
“I feel ecstatic,” Alex Mendicino said. “I always thought that Marco is a young man with great character and he is going to be a great leader in our community.”
Alex Mendicino helped put up over 900 signs in the riding.
“My knees are ready to buckle from the amount of effort I put into this campaign,” he said. “But it’s worth it to win against Harper.”
Laurent-Philippe Veilleux, a volunteer for Mendicino’s campaign, began supporting him before his Liberal nomination back in early June.
“We worked extremely hard for the campaign,” Veilleux said. “Especially Marco, he worked harder than anyone else. He was out there every single day.”
Veilleux said he alone clocked 22 kilometres canvassing today.
“It’s a lot of fun, and the energy on this campaign is incredible,” he said. “The optimism and the positivity is amazing.”
After winning the seat in Parliament back from the Conservatives, Iannetta says the first order of business for the family is to get everyone together and “savour tonight’s win.”