by BEATRICE PAEZ
Torontonians are seeing red.
Streaks of red now populate the political landscape in Toronto, with the Liberals clinching victories in NDP strongholds and reclaiming seats from the Conservatives.
The red surge engulfed all of the city’s 25 ridings, shutting out party stalwarts who, in many cases, found themselves neck and neck with their opponents. It was a spectacular comeback for a party that had been reduced to 34 seats in 2011—with six seats out of 47 in the Greater Toronto Area.
But it was a much different story for the NDP and the Conservatives, with all of its sitting MPs in Toronto crushed in the process. It was a stark reversal of fortunes for the NDP, now relegated to third-party status as the Liberals leap-frogged into a majority government.
Here’s a look at five high-profile contests in Toronto:
- Parkdale—High Park’s race has a short history of playing out as a tug of war between the Liberals and the NDP. This time, newcomer lawyer Arif Virani edged out incumbent Peggy Nash. The New Democrats’ industry critic, Nash was an outspoken advocate for reforming the caregiver program.
- Eglinton—Lawrence: The Liberals recaptured old territory, ousting former finance minister Joe Oliver and perhaps delivering a stinging rebuke of his economic policies. Oliver’s bid for re-election was thwarted by Marco Mendicino, a laywer making his first foray into politics.
- Spadina—Fort York: Adam Vaughan solidified his grasp on the sky-high riding, beating out NDP titan Olivia Chow. The seat she vacated to run for mayor was picked up by Vaughan in a byelection in June 2014. Both highly respected among progressives, Vaughan closed in on Chow’s early lead in the polls, and scored a decisive win of 55 per cent in what was expected to be a tight contest.
- Scarborough Southwest: Former Toronto police chief Bill Blair unseated Dan Harris, undoing inroads made by the NDP in the last federal election. While he may owe his resounding victory to name recognition, it has been widely speculated that he is the top choice for the justice or national defence portfolio.
- University–Rosedale: This newly created riding includes carved out portions of Trinity–Spadina and Toronto Centre. Chrystia Freeland, the former business journalist and MP for Toronto Centre, took out Jennifer Hollett, a political rookie with activist roots. Freeland’s name has been floated around as one of the top contenders for finance minister in prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau’s cabinet.