NDP incumbent Craig Scott has been defeated in Jack Layton’s old riding of Toronto-Danforth by Liberal Julie Dabrusin in an unexpected turn of events.
In a close race for the East York riding, Dabrusin was able to edge out Scott by a margin of 1,797 votes – 22,297 votes for Dabrusin to 20,500 for Scott. The leaders were followed by 5,478 for Benjamin Dichter of the Conservatives and 2,698 for Chris Tolley of the Green Party.
“I honestly don’t think we could have done more. What’s going on out there is its own phenomenon,” said Craig Scott to a group of disappointed NDP supporters at the Fox and Fiddle pub on Danforth Avenue Monday night.
The Toronto-Danforth riding has Jack Layton’s legacy embedded in it and has been painted NDP orange for the past 11 years.
“Certainly there was a fear factor, a fear of another Conservative majority, and I suspect that’s the most significant element,” said Mary Anne Beamish, president of the Toronto-Danforth federal NDP.
For Scott, who advocated for a system of mixed-member proportional representation, this Liberal victory spoke volumes about the faults in the current Canadian electoral system and political culture.
“It’s a system that forces people to tick one box, and into that box they have to put their preference for party, and local candidate, and leader all in one. And then when you have the conditions of an absolutely odious government for the last 10 years, this is what can happen,” Scott said.
Scott will look to make a difference in another role that will give him more freedom and allow him to help keep the Liberals in check.
“I believe in frankness and honesty, and I believe there’s none of that in politics right now. Although I never said anything I didn’t believe, I had to catch my words far too often to feel comfortable and I’m kind of looking forward to now being able to speak exactly the way I want and exactly the issues I want,” Scott said.
Scott thanked his workers and supporters and said that if given the chance, he would not do anything different.
“We ran an amazing campaign with the best levels of support that actually has ever been percentage-wise in the riding … People made decisions probably in the last week that there was no way our campaign over 11 weeks was able to see, so no, nothing we could have done,” Scott said.
His workers and supporters echoed his sentiment, as the pub filled with claps and chants of his name.
“He’s got a broad vision of what has to happen in Canada, and a very close sense of what has to happen in this community,” said Peter Tabuns, the NDP MPP for the area.