PC Conservative candidate Raymond Cho rode the blue wave to the provincial parliament, winning the by-election in Scarborough Rouge River, the riding that has been held by the Liberals since 1999. Bob Mok has shed light on this high profile by-election that may help reshape the Ontario political landscape.
The blue (Conservatives) wave has rolled through the Scarborough-Rouge River by-election. For the first time since 1999, this Liberal baton has fallen. This also marks the first-time since 2013 when the Progressive Conservative Party has taken a Toronto riding.
Raymond Cho, a Korean City Councillor has finally reached the next level in politics after many long tries and a journey full of obstacles. He is the newly minted MPP for the Progressive Conservatives at Queen's Park and the third one since Patrick Brown became Party Leader.
How did he perform on the campaign and what are the numbers that supported him? Before we do that, let us look at the participation of the numerous factions that threw their hat into the ring. There were 11 different candidates on the ballots, one of the most if not the most that I have seen in recent election history. Many candidates jump on the wagon for fun and exposure, knowing that the chances of getting elected are next to zero.
The most interesting candidate is a person by the name of “znoneofthe” from the “None of the Above” Party. Yes, he changed his name legally to assure that he will be listed last on the ballots. Amazingly, he did not come last. He was 7th from the top at 0.54%. He represented the portion of voters who are fed up with the candidates available and voted indirectly for an indictment of the system. Thankfully, that only captured a little over 100 voters.
Raymond Cho won with 9,693 votes or 38.6% followed by Thiru's (Liberal Party) 7,264 votes (28.9%), Shan (NDP) came third with 6,883 votes (27.4%). Over 25,000 Voters participated representing 28.14% of all eligible voters. Queen Yu who many thought might benefit from a last minute incident concerning a Conservative Party flyer promising to “scrap” the controversial sex-education curriculum came in fourth at 2.32% ，showing the sex-ed curriculum had no significant impact on the results.
This riding consists of 90% of visible minorities and the urge to vote for “Heritage candidates” cannot be ignored. The Tamil candidates (Liberal and NDP) drew from the finite number of heritage votes and Cho picked up on the rest of the voters. Many Tamils were lamenting the possibility for split voting from the start but they are helpless to change the situation. This happened in the past elections but it was with an incumbent and a challenger! This time, the Liberal rookie cannot hold the fort.
Raymond Cho is playing on home-turf with decades of support as a City Councillor. The drop in Liberal Party popularity added to their difficulties to retain the riding. At the start of the campaign, the conservatives were encouraged by the many “request for election signs”. They felt that they can get a 50% share of votes for their candidate to show the Liberals that their fortunes in this Province is “waning”. Towards the end, a careless mistake by a supposedly “overzealous” volunteer most messed up the hard work by the many volunteers.
Last week, votes received a letter signed by Brown. In the letter, Brown pledged to “scrap” the sex-education curriculum. A few days later Brown apologized for the “mistake” and once again re-affirmed his support for the lesson plan but probably not in its present contents. He was immediately labelled a “flip-flop” leader by the Liberals, akin to a kettle calling the pot black. The Liberals flip-flopped many times, the most recent one being the scrapping of the Ontario Pension Plan costing $70 million to-date.
This election is a referendum on the ruling Provincial Liberals and its leader. The next General election will be in early spring 2018 (or sooner if the Premier chooses to call one). Given the scandals and the ballooning deficits, their only recourse is to throw money at the voters consistently till election time. Will the unions and voters still support this ailing Liberal party? Will the silent voters come forward next time and demand changes? The writing is on the wall and the clock is ticking!
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