Spirits remained high despite an election loss for Kevin Rupasinghe and his campaign volunteers at their election night party on Oct. 24.
Rupasinghe ran for councillor in Scarborough Southwest. He finished third behind winner and incumbent Gary Crawford and second-place candidate Parthi Kandavel.
The energy in the room at MLS Penalty Box restaurant on Danforth Road was not that of resignation, but of looking forward.
“I think what we did here gave people hope for what the future could actually be,” said Rupasinghe upon arrival at the party.
He expressed his belief that elections are merely a “snapshot” and that the real work occurs in between elections.
“… there’s a lot of work to do, starting October 25, to actually achieve the future we want,” he said.
Rupasinghe ran on a platform that focused on housing, transit, climate, and safety on city streets.
Volunteers for the campaign spoke enthusiastically of the man they worked with.
“Having people like Kevin who are ethically minded, responsible, and caring about their community is what I want to see in office,” said Kirsten Tuckey, the fundraising coordinator on Rupasinghe’s campaign.
Volunteer coordinator, Tharsan Veerasingam, said Rupasinghe “showed up” when others did not for issues such as the environment.
“I support who’s there,” he said. “And Kevin was there.”
Rupasinghe said he is not ruling out another run in the future.
“I know we need a progressive champion in this ward and if I’m the right person in four years’ time, of course,” he said.
From the experience of this election, Rupasinghe said there are lessons he would take forward with him if he did run again.
“If you’re going to do it, you have to be working at it four years in advance,” he said.
Rupasinghe expressed it was difficult to overcome the incumbency advantage this go around due to factors like the pandemic.
According to political scientist Kristin Good, “an incumbency advantage is well-established” in Canadian municipal elections.
“I think what we were able to build here has laid the foundation for the next time to actually be able to pull it off,” said Rupasinghe.