by Georgia Williams, Centennial Journalism
Margarett Best has secured her seat in the 40th legislative assembly of Ontario. The residents of Scarborough—Guildwood re-elected Liberal candidate Best with a landslide victory. In a race
said to be very heated with Conservative candidate Gary Ellis, Best won the riding with 49 per cent of the vote, while Ellis came second with 27 per cent.
Best, alongside her family, campaign staff, volunteers, and supporters celebrated a successful campaign at the Prague Restaurant, located at 450 Scarborough Golf Club Road in Scarborough.
The restaurant specializes in Eastern European fare which is characteristic of the distinct community Best referred to in her acceptance speech late Thursday night.
“Scarborough—Guildwood is one of the most diverse ridings in Ontario,” she told the multicultural crowd , a fitting backdrop for the re-election of the first black woman to provincial parliament in Ontario. The room, decorated in posters of Best, was filled with a legion of Liberal supporters. Many wore red shirts with the word “Best” in bold letters across them and gallantly cheered as another Liberal candidate was declared victorious on the television screen.
As Best was confirmed re-elected at 9:30 p.m. the jovial, celebratory mood was thick in the room early in the evening. Several times throughout the night the room erupted in a chant of “Four more years.” One supporter blew a vuvuzela, the instrument that gained popularity during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Best drank a celebratory and symbolic glass of red wine as she greeted and thanked her supporters.
Best, who emigrated from Jamaica, has lived in Toronto for 35 years and attended the University of Toronto at Scarborough, which happens to be in the riding she represents today. She then went on to study law at Osgoode Hall. Best practiced law and was very active in the community before delving into politics five years ago.
Surrounded by her three children Ryan, Colin and Kiesha she spoke of her struggles to succeed. Being a single mother while attending post-secondary school ,she raised her three children, worked in a law office, and had two part-time jobs. She was orphaned at 11, and was raised by her older sister Clair ,who was also at the victory party. Best recounted a conversation she had with her son, Colin, the day prior to the election in which she admitted she was stung by reports that labelled her a weak candidate and only a mother.
“He said ‘Mom, that’s the best job to have’,” she told the crowd.
In an interview earlier in the evening, Best was asked how she felt to have a second term in office.
“I’m very excited. I feel honoured and privileged to serve under the leadership of the premier and to serve the people of Scarborough-Guildwood as their representative again.”
When asked about poll results showing a strong support for the Liberal party in Ontario, Best attributed the success to the, “good work we have done in the past eight years in the province, we have a good record to stand on despite the global economic challenges. Ontario has come out better than most places in the world in health, education and the economy.”
With a large number of provincial Liberal candidates re-elected Best believes the people of Ontario are saying, “we need a stable hand in uncertain times as Premier McGuinty has said and I think the people in Ontario have agreed with him, they have also adopted our slogan that ‘We are going to go forward together’.”
Best’s closing words were a reference to her favourite Bob Marley song “One Love”, and with four more years Best promised she will continue to foster that unifying spirit throughout her riding and throughout the province, as she now awaits word if she will continue on in her post of minister of sports promotion and health in the next cabinet.