Jul 28, 2023

By Jane Brown

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The Ontario Liberals now have their highest seat count in the legislature since 2018 at 9, after picking up a new seat and holding another in Thursday’s provincial byelections.

“It was a lot of hard work, but believe it or not, the real hard work starts now,” Andrea Hazell told her supporters after winning in Toronto’s Scarborough-Guildwood riding, which has been a Liberal stronghold.

“Scarborough has my heart and soul. I love this community. I am proud that I have spent more than half my life working for the people of Scarborough,” Hazell continued.

The business owner and community advocate beat out Doug Ford’s PC candidate, Gary Crawford, by nearly 1100 votes.

Crawford was criticized for stepping down as Toronto city councillor for neighbouring Scarborough Southwest at the last moment, collecting $120,000 in severance.

Had he remained on council and won the byelection, he would not have received the severance upon resigning at city hall.

In the Ottawa area riding of Kanata-Carleton, Liberal Karen McCrimmon won the seat by 651 votes over the PC candidate.

Premier Doug Ford made two trips to that riding in the waning days of the campaign.

Toronto Metropolitan University professor Myer Siemiatycki says it’s telling the Tories lost the seat despite the huge push.

He said there could be many issues prompting Kanata Carleton voters to elect a Liberal, from healthcare to the Greenbelt to concern over autism therapy funding.

The NDP candidates in both byelections placed third, but a statement from the opposition party says their vote share increased in both races from last year’s general election.

Turnout was low, with 35-percent of eligible voters casting ballots in Kanata-Carleton and 22-percent in Scarborough-Guildwood.

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