by Sunnie Huang, Centennial Journalism
Ontario New Democratic Party candidate Evan Wiseman placed third in the October 6 provincial election with 5,951 votes, or 14.4 per cent. The Liberal incumbent, Joe Dickson, repeated his 2007 success and won by a comfortable margin of 47.1 per cent of the vote, followed by the Progressive Conservative candidate Todd McCarthy who received 35.6 per cent of the vote.
Although the riding, with a population of 117,183, according to the 2006 census, is only four years old since its 2007 distribution, many have predicted that Thursday’s election would be full of drama thanks to the high-profile candidates. Wiseman is the son of James Perry Wiseman, a NDP member of the provincial parliament from 1990 to 1995 for the former riding of Durham West. Dickson was a city councillor, a regional councillor and also the deputy mayor of Ajax before successfully transitioning into provincial politics. McCarthy is a lawyer and partners with federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty at their firm Flaherty Dow Elliott & McCarthy in downtown Toronto.
Wiseman was unavailable for comment after the majority of the votes were counted, according to Justin Arjoon, vice-president of the Ajax-Pickering NDP riding association. Family members and close to 50 volunteers and colleagues had gathered at Wiseman’s home in Ajax, flipping through different TV news channels as the numbers quickly came in.
“We doubled our previous polling numbers and the NDP is doing well in this campaign,” said Joanne Azevedo, president of the association, who also joined Wiseman at his house. “We are feeling really, really pleased with the result.”
Wiseman is planning to run again in another election, according to Azevedo.
The rookie candidate has been very vocal, both on social media and during interviews with local news outlets, against the proposal of the construction of the North Pickering International Airport, referring to it as “a relic from the Trudeau era” and citing the concerns of current and potential home owners that the proposal would adversely affect the home value of the neighbourhood.
In an earlier interview, Wiseman vowed to take his fight to Ottawa.
“I’m willing to do whatever it takes, even if that means going to Sussex Drive and knocking on Mr. Harper’s door and say, ‘Hey, move that airport!’ ”
His top three priorities also include affordable transit and hospital funding.
Wiseman, 22, had his first taste of politics at a young age, handing out campaign flyers and putting up lawn signs with his father. Names like Trudeau, Mulroney and Chretien always found their way into dinner table discussions, he said in an earlier interview.
“My parents definitely raised me and my sisters with the idea of a very strong empathy towards others,” said Wiseman, the youngest of three and the only boy. “So when I hear people saying they are having a hard time making ends meet, I just want to help people pay their bills.”
“I’m an NDP through and through,” he added.
His father acted as his campaign financial officer and his sister handled media relations for his campaign team.
The recent grad said in an earlier interview that, if he were to not run in the election, he would pursue continuing education or attend law school to achieve one of his many dreams of becoming a Crown attorney.
Wiseman graduated from the University of Toronto at Scarborough this past summer with a bachelor of arts degree in history and political science. He continues to be heavily involved with the tri-campus club University of Toronto Model United Nations (UTMUN), a student society where members act as delegates of different countries and simulate UN discussions through both in-house debates and national and international conferences.
“It was a matter of quite simply having the majority of people on my side as often as I could.” said Wiseman, now the president of the club, as he explained the strategy behind grabbing the Outstanding Delegate Award at a McGill Model UN conference in Montreal this January.
The Model UN veteran has applied much of what he learnt from the club to his political campaign. After the all-candidate debate on Rogers TV, his very first televised debate, Wiseman said debating with three candidates is like “a nice vacation” from the mayhem of battling 300 delegates at a typical Model UN conference.
Described by friends as “friendly” and “very approachable,” Wiseman enjoys creative writing in his free time and has a penchant for Japanese comics and manga. He also has a black belt in mixed martial arts.