by Mohammad Arshad, Centennial Journalism
The people in riding of Scarborough-Agincourt showed that they were still loyal to the Liberal party.
Liberal candidate Soo Wong won the riding with a strong showing that saw her receive 47 per cent of the popular vote. Progressive Conservative candidate Liang Chen placed second and received 32 per cent of the vote while NDP candidate Paul Choi finished third and received 16 per cent of the vote. The Liberal party won 53 seats in the election and will form a minority government.
Coming into this election, there was a lot of uncertainty as to who would win the riding of Scarborough-Agincourt. The riding was seemingly up for grabs after Gerry Phillips, the Liberal MPP who had held this seat for the past 24 years, retired prior to this election.
“I’m thrilled to see that the people of Scarborough-Agincourt believe and trust in what the Liberal government stands for,” Wong said Thursday during a scrum at her post election party at Queen Victoria’s Pub and Catering located at Midland Avenue and Progress. “I’m thrilled that they believe in us and continue to let us serve this community.” Listen to an interview with her here.
The atmosphere at the pub was upbeat and happy as soon as the early poll counts showing Wong in the lead started appearing on large televisions mounted on walls all over the pub. Shortly after the polls declared her the early winner, Wong arrived at the pub to loud cheers and standing ovations. She was immediately surrounded by reporters and photographers and participated in a small scrum before breaking off to hug her supporters and staff members. After a little while when she was declared the official winner, Wong and Phillips took to a stage where Phillips first said a few words congratulating Wong and her team which was then followed by a speech from Wong.
“Soo has a reputation for getting things done and we were lucky to persuade her to be our candidate,” Phillips said. “She’ll be a perfect fit for Scarborough-Agincourt and I’m thrilled that tonight she’s been elected.”
Though she supported all the issues outlined in the Liberal platform, education and health care were the two most important issues Wong campaigned on. Her focus on these two issues comes from her career as a registered nurse for 25 years and also a nursing and pharmacy professor at Humber College. Wong has also served as a Toronto District School Board (TDSB) trustee for Ward 20 Scarborough-Agincourt since 2006. She was also the head of TDSB’s operations and facilities management committee which is responsible for managing the TDSB’s capital assets.
“Today marks a new milestone for families across Scarborough-Agincourt for strong public education and health care,” Wong said in her victory speech. “It marks a new milestone for our students from junior kindergarten to post secondary and for our seniors.”
In her speech, Wong also thanked everybody involved in her campaign and credited them for her win. She specifically focused on thanking Phillips who she said “was like a mentor” to me and her campaign manager Han Dong. She also acknowledged the six candidates from the other parties in the riding who ran against her and said that each of them had a purpose and a plan for this area and they were to be commended for running and trying to achieve them. Wong reserved her highest praise for her “beloved students” and thanked them for being there for her since the very beginning and bringing energy to her campaign. Wong promised them that she would always continue to be there for them.
Answering questions about her trustee job and her career in education, Wong said that she intended to step down from the TDSB but not necessarily abandon the field of education. She said she still intended to serve the TDSB “in a bigger capacity” and to support it from Queen’s Park in “different avenues of care and concerns.”
When asked about her immediate future, Wong joked that there would be no breaks for her and she vowed to continue her daily routine of attending local school events and programs. She’ll also continue to maintain the weekly reading program she organizes for kids.
Wong ended her speech by vowing to her supporters that she would always support them.
“Together we will fight for what’s right and what’s just for Scarborough-Agincourt,” Wong said. “You’re now my number 1 priorities at Queen’s Park. You’re concerns are mine. You’re issues are mine. You’re progress is ours. You’re successes are ours.”
After Wong finished her speech, she and Phillips clasped each other’s hand and raised them in the air signifying the start of a new era for this riding.