Zahid takes Scarborough Centre for Liberals

Incumbent Conservative James goes down to defeat

Salma Zahid, the new Liberal MP for Scarborough Centre, stood before a crowd of supporters Monday night to announce her victory.

“We have taken it back from the Harper,” said Zahid, a first-time campaigner for federal election.

She beat Roxanne James, the incumbent Conservative, by collecting 51.1 per cent of the vote. James garnered 30.9 per cent, and NDP’S candidate Alex Wilson got 11.8 per cent.

“It’s a great night to see Liberals back in Ottawa,” Zahid said in her victory speech to supporters. “I’m proud to be a member of Team Trudeau and to have a leader who really shows Canadians that better is possible.”

More than 100 people showed up for Zahid’s victory party at Queen’s Palace on Brimley Road after the polls closed at 9:30 p.m. They cheered and hugged when they realized that the Liberals not only led the polls but that they also won more than 170 seats to form a majority government under leader Justin Trudeau, ousting Stephen Harper’s Conservatives from power.

At 78 days, the federal election campaign was the longest since the 19th century. However, Hamed Javed Mirza, one of Zahid’s volunteers, said he didn’t feel any stress during those days, and he was not surprised by the result.

“We were positive,” he said. “I’m sure we are winning this game.”

Zahid has lived in Scarborough for more than 15 years and started campaigning in Scarborough Centre 22 months ago.

The new MP has a list of priorities.

“The people of Scarborough Centre want a better transit; they are looking for affordable housing and you youth need a better job and we all need to live together as Canadians,” Zahid said. “And we have a great plan on creating youth jobs, $1.3 billion would be spent over (the) next four years.”

Zahid, who said the NDP’s Wilson congratulated her on the win, had some words for her opponents.

“I’d like to congratulate all the candidates on running a great campaign. It’s great to debate with the candidates, that’s what the beauty of democracy is.”