In over 25 years, Liberal Wayne Arthurs has never sat through a defeat party. Last night was no different as he eased into a second consecutive term during yesterday’s provincial election, topping the polls in Pickering Scarborough-East with 48.7 per cent of the vote.
“As far as I’m concerned, we’ve won,” said Elana Arthurs, one of the candidate’s daughters, as early poll results showed his vote share was over 60 per cent. Though it soon fell, he maintained a lead over his opponents until the end.
Arthurs arrived to a full house of supporters at the Juke Box Restaurant in Pickering.
“I’m not surprised by the win,” said Arthurs. “I am the incumbent. We did good work.”
Arthurs served as the Mayor of Pickering for from 1988 to 2003. Then he was elected to the Ontario legislature.
“He has been in politics since I was about five,” his daughter said.
Arthurs agreed that the school-based funding issue helped his campaign.
“Clearly it did have an impact,” he said. “We want diversity in our schools.”
For the riding’s Conservative candidate, there was no escaping the school-based funding issue, even in defeat.
Despite trailing badly as the poll results came in, Progressive Conservative Diana Hall found the Lion and Dragon Pub in Pickering crowded with supporters.
The Pickering-Scarborough East Candidate was surrounded in the overcrowded pub by clapping and encouraging chants from devotees.
“I’m feeling good, I feel really good about it, there’s lots of support here,” Hall said in an interview. “I had the best volunteers, and when you come from something that has so many great volunteers, you have to feel great about it.”
Hall reflected on the problems with the campaign.
“There was only one thing I heard at the door, and I’m sure you can guess it was faith-based funding,” Hall said. “It was certainly the issue out here, the only issue out here.
“One day I actually got asked something about health care and I said, ’What?’ It was certainly the only issue I heard of.”
The candidate said she had no hard feelings about Wayne Arthur’s win
Hall said Arthur ran an honourable campaign. She said she was thankful there was no fighting or sign wars, and that they were both very cordial to each other.
Though she did not think she would do anything differently, she said she might not run again.
“I’m looking to maybe apply for a job without 100,000 people to interview me,” Hall said. “That’s where I’m going now.”
Finishing the riding in third place, the New Democratic Party’s candidate looked towards another future.
Every call to the campaign office during election night was answered “Andrea Moffat’s NDP victory party.”
But it was not meant to be.
And though they received less than 12 per cent of the vote, Moffat said she was happy to see the party go up a few percentage points.
“I was a no-name candidate with a new team that was completely unpaid,” she said. “We feel very accomplished to produce what we did.”
Moffat is already looking to the future though, noting the large youth vote the party received and the number of young volunteers.
“We touched a lot of people and it will be interesting to see the impact this has on the party’s future,” she said.
For now the future of Pickering-Scarborough East lies in the hands of MPP Wayne Arthurs.
And Moffat says she plans to hold him to his promises on keeping health public and increasing transit in communities.