Reaction Roundup: the seven top responses to yesterday’s Liberal victory in the Toronto Centre byelection
“Liberal candidate wins in Liberal stronghold” is not a very exciting statement, but you wouldn’t know that from reading the avalanche of coverage from yesterday’s byelections in Toronto Centre and three other ridings.
Sure, the turnout in the downtown district was only 38 per cent, and sure, history shows that byelections are rarely harbingers for future polls, but that didn’t stop the flow of opinion. Pundits and columnists seem to agree that last night was a victory for Justin Trudeau (although not a huge one), while party hacks continue to read the byelections’ entrails for glimmers of hope for their party.
We read through all the commentary on the races so that you don’t have to. Here, the seven key takeaways.
“This is the first act of the 2015 election…[Stephen Harper] should watch out. We are on the rise. Canadians want an alternative to the Conservatives and they have found that alternative in the Liberal Party.”—Chrystia Freeland, MP-elect of Toronto Centre
“We did better than we’ve ever done in Toronto Centre. Consider this just a trial run for the real thing…We knew this was a Liberal stronghold and it would be an uphill battle, and it was. We fought on. The real point is, what happens in 2015.” —Linda McQuaig, private citizen (former NDP candidate in Toronto Centre)
“The NDP is no longer the party of hope and optimism of (the late leader) Jack Layton. It’s now the negative, divisive party of Thomas Mulcair. Because it is the Liberal party tonight that proved that hope is stronger than fear, that positive politics can win out over negative.” —Justin Trudeau, Liberal leader
“I really badly want a national transit strategy so we can solve traffic gridlock. This riding is important, but the NDP haven’t won the riding or a long time…But tonight is really sending a message to Stephen Harper.” —Olivia Chow, MP for neighbouring riding, Trinity-Spadina
“In Toronto-Centre, Trudeau had to work far harder than anyone expected to keep the long-held riding Liberal.” —Alison Crawford, CBC News
“There was more Harperphobia than Trudeaumania in Monday’s byelection results…In the long-shot battle for those traditionally Liberal seats [Toronto Centre and Bourassa], the NDP put up as good or better a fight as it had under Jack Layton and against Michael Ignatieff in 2011.” —Chantal Hébert, Toronto Star
“NDP MP Peter Tabuns expressed hope that the redrawing of Toronto Centre before the 2015 election…will buoy the [NDP’s] prospects. The party could never make inroads with ‘the fortress of Rosedale,’ Tabuns says. With southern areas redrawn, Linda ‘could own it’” —NDP MP for Toronto-Danforth Peter Tabuns speaks to Anne Kingston of Macleans.ca
(Images: Tabuns: petertabuns.ca; Hébert: Toronto Star; McQuaig, Freeland: courtesy of their campaigns; Crawford: Alison Crawford/Twitter; Chow: Olivia Chow/Facebook; Trudeau: liberal.ca)