Tabuns takes Toronto-Danforth

ORANGE CRUSH: NDP MPP for Toronto-Danforth Peter Tabuns celebrates his re-election with local councillors Paula Fletcher, left, and Mary Fragedakis.

8,000-vote victory marks three-peat for NDP rep

Like an orange boa constrictor, the New Democratic Party is not quite ready to stop its crush on Toronto-Danforth, as Peter Tabuns claimed his third electoral victory.

En route to his post as Member of Provincial Parliament in the 40th Ontario Legislature, Tabuns was ebullient — his cherubim smile radiating down to his followers as he spoke at the Sidewalk Café.

Toronto councillors, Paula Fletcher and Mary Fragedakis along with trustee Cathy Dandy shared in his victory, which tinged on homage to the late Jack Layton.

“You the people in this room stayed true to the course that Jack Layton set for us,” Tabuns said. “The people in Toronto-Danforth have put their confidence in me and the NDP to stand up for them in this province, to put them first and that’s just what we’re going to do.”

Afterward, he said the New Democrats fought well, achieving seven extra seats at Queen’s Park.

“We’ve come back from where we were at 10 seats,” he told the Town Crier.

Provincial leader Andrea Horwath was hoping the memory of Jack Layton would boost her party’s chances. When asked if voters are reticent to vote Orange with the memory of Bob Rae still present, Tabuns shed it like an old skin.

“I didn’t get much of that, particularly when I point out that Bob Rae is the leader of (federal) Liberal Party,” he said.

On a lighter note, though he declined to take a dip in the lake to celebrate, Tabuns laughed.

“I’m going to take the weekend off to celebrate,” he said, adding he wanted to thank the people of Toronto-Danforth for their votes.

His closest competitor was Liberal representative Marisa Sterling, who brought in 11,358 to Tabuns’ 19,998.

Her campaign, a more successful effort than 2007 rep Joyce Rowlands, was focused on seniors living in poverty, young families getting started and job security.

Enjoying the company of her dedicated red machine at Three’s Company on the Danforth, Sterling was buoyed by what she called a break-through in Toronto-Danforth.

“I’m actually considering what the media said three months ago when I entered this race,” she said, just after 11 p.m., when for a few minutes the Liberas looked to have another majority. “I am just thrilled that we’re at a majority because that’s obviously not what was being thought about at that time.”

There was support for Premier Dalton McGuinty when she went canvassing door-to-door, even if voters felt a need to paint the province another colour.

“I recognize a lot of people have an itch for change, for the sake of change,” Sterling said. “It’s a natural thing … but enough people, when you have the chance to talk to them, they realize, ‘No, change for change’s sake is not a good decision, but change for reason is a good decision.”

Rounding out the four parties in the East York riding were Rita Jethi of the Progressive Conservatives and Tim Whalley of the Green Party with 3,484 and 1,321 votes respectively.

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