Scarborough-Guildwood NDP challenger proud of campaign despite loss

NDP candidate Laura Casselman finished a distant third in Scarborough-Guildwood but her family has no doubt “she’ll keep going.”

Dan Harris and Laura Casselman
‘We will lick our wounds,’ says Scarborough Southwest incumbent candidate Dan Harris, left, to an NDP-supporting crowd after an emotional loss. ‘But we will get back up.’ Scarborough-Guildwood candidate Laura Casselman, right, who also came up short in the Oct. 19 federal election, echoed Harris’ statement. (Kaitlyn Smith/Toronto Observer)

“She believes in the party so much,” said Casselman’s cousin, Kim Payne, who with Casselman’s aunt, Pat Payne, attended the candidate’s party at the Tara Inn Pub on Kingston Road Monday.

Liberal John McKay, with 60 per cent of the vote, was re-elected for a fifth term as MP, finishing ahead of Conservative Chuck Konkel who collected 26.5 per cent.

Casselman captured just more than 11.3 per cent but her team believes she made an impact.

Angela Zhu, Casselman’s campaign manager, says the NDP has proven its presence in Scarborough-Guildwood, a riding where they weren’t expected to win.

She said they’re disappointed by the loss, but there’s a “base to grow from.”

Added Casselman: “There’s a feeling of elation at the end of the campaign whether you win or lose. I’m certainly proud of the campaign.”

Casselman stood her ground to the last interview, insisting on NDP values and the need to connect with voters, as she did during the campaign.

She and Zhu spent mornings at transit stops to meet commuters and share the party’s message.

“I found out she’s brilliant in mornings,” Zhu said. “When she lights up they light up.”

Casselman said it made sense to talk to voters at transit stops. She said it gave her the ability to relate to working class citizens and show them she cared. It was the only chance some residents got to hear about the NDP’s platform.

Looking to the future, Casselman plans to celebrate her first anniversary with her husband. “Our anniversary was in July,” she says, “The campaign really takes over your life.”

Though they are looking forward to relaxing a bit, Casselman said she will not stop spending time dealing with New Democratic issues, and trying to bring “real change” to Canada.

Dan Harris, Scarborough Southwest NDP incumbent who went down to defeat, was present at the event.

“We are going to lie down for a while and lick our wounds,” said Harris who stood in front of a cheering, yet disappointed group of orange-dressed supporters. “And then we’re going to pick ourselves back up again because there are still people who need our help.”