Liberal candidate Derek Lee cruised to an easy win in Scarborough-Rouge River on a night when red Liberal campaign signs dating back to his first victory in 1988 surrounded his Sheppard Avenue East headquarters.
Lee was at more than 58% of the votes with just a handful of polls still to report at midnight on election day.
Conservative Jerry Bance was a mile behind at just over 22% while the NDP’s Ryan Sloan was at 14%.
“I’m very happy to get elected,” Lee said. “I thought the Liberals wouldn’t do that well because of the Green Shift plan.
“I’m going to do everything I can do keep my constituents happy.”
Lee, who walked into his campaign office smiling, was greeted by thrilled supporters waiting to congratulate him on his victory.
“I’m very grateful to my constituents for re-confirming their trust and confidence,” Lee said. “I’m going to work very hard at being a good MP and trying to bring about the kinds of change that they spoke to me about.”
Beating Bance by more than double the votes, Lee recognized that his riding was in support of Liberal ideals.
“I think they liked our platform although many people found the Liberal Green Shift hard to understand. But clearly the electorate here is not endorsing the Conservative agenda,” he says.
Over at Bance’s campaign office on Nugget Ave., the night began with nervous optimism.
But a poster on the wall reading, “Good Luck Jerry!” signed by friends, family, and supporters, along with what Bance says was a strong campaign, couldn’t topple the Liberal incumbent.
“I expected the results to be a little better then what’s coming up now,” Bance said at about 10:30 p.m. when Lee already had a strong lead.
Despite his disappointment Bance praised his campaign.
“I don’t know what else we could have done,” he said. “We reached out to every door, everything what we could have done.”
Even with Lee still ahead by a large margin, Bance continued to watch the old T.V. at the front of his office with his chin in his hand, shoulders slumped, as if waiting for a miracle.
“It’s not done yet,” he said. “We will wait until the last vote is counted.”
Bance said there was no one issue which decided the election but that Liberal support was just too strong.
“The Liberals have been here for 20 years,” he said. “In 20 years you’re entrenched into the community.”
He says the way minorities see the Conservative party was likely one of the reasons for his defeat.
“This is a very strong Liberal riding and . . . all the minorities that are voting for them [think] the Liberals are full of immigrants,” Bance said. “That’s the only thing I can think of because we did run a very good campaign.”
NDP candidate Sloan was thoughtful in defeat.
“I’m still finding out results,” Sloan said. “Tomorrow I will have a bit time to think about them. I’ve tried my best for this election.”
Sloan said the New Democrats “continue to build and spread to word, which is a process that may take in some riding more than one election.”