There’s no getting around it: the election results were heart-breaking.
Even the joy of entering the Post Harper Era was dulled by the blow our party received on Election Day, losing some of our finest Members of Parliament, and crushing our attempt to take the Liberal stronghold of Toronto Centre.
Of course, the disappointing results here in Toronto Centre in no way reflect on our campaign, which was truly excellent and inspiring. Even the intensely Liberal Toronto Star twice referred to our campaign as “spirited.” Campaign manager Cim Nunn and a thoroughly dedicated campaign staff were tireless in their efforts, as were dozens of truly committed volunteers. The hard work and perseverance of everyone involved simply astounded me.
When people outside the campaign would comment on how draining the 11-week campaign must be, I would think – 11 weeks? Hell, our campaign began in earnest last February!
And it only got more intense as the weeks passed, until the final push – when Stephen Lewis made a second personal visit to our office to fire us up, when it was impossible for me to go anywhere in the riding without bumping into teams of our volunteers out canvassing, when the office was buzzing with massive E-Day preparations until well after midnight. And on the big day itself, we had a massive army of more than three hundred volunteers.
Indeed, even now, still stinging from the pain of defeat, I look back on the campaign with a mixture of sadness and joy. What a wonderful, inspiring group effort that was! I came across a quote recently that nicely captured how I feel. I can’t remember the exact words, but it went something like this: joy is feeling part of a collective effort fighting for a cause that matters.
Our campaign was distinctive in many respects. We made a point of reaching out to marginalized groups that are typically ignored by the other parties. The massive apartment towers of St. James Town, for instance, have tended to receive little attention during campaigns, since many of their occupants are newcomers to Canada who are ineligible to vote or are believed to lack the motivation to vote. While the other parties put little effort into this economically-depressed area, we had a truly dedicated team of volunteers who really came to know and relate to the people of St. James Town. Our signs – and our signs alone – were visible everywhere there. I visited every one of the 19 residential towers, and was truly moved when kids from Rose Avenue Public School showed me school projects they were doing on my campaign.
One of my fondest memories of the campaign was the day that a team of volunteers and I spent several hours talking to the hundreds of people lined up for Thanksgiving lunch at the Good Shepherd Refuge on Queen Street. We talked to them about their lives, about the issues in the campaign and the importance of voting. Whether or not many of them actually voted, I felt we connected with them in a way that left me feeling that politics can actually be about democratic engagement.
In the end, however, we were defeated, our campaign swamped along with so many others by the intensity of the popular desire to get rid of Stephen Harper and the mistaken notion that voting Liberal was the only way to ensure this.
Of course, there’s been a lot of criticism of the NDP’s national campaign. I agree that there were things that could have been done differently, and should be done differently in the future. Still, I remain convinced that, overall, our party had the most progressive platform: a national childcare program, $15 an hour federal minimum wage, repeal of Bill C-51, the toughest greenhouse gas reduction targets of any of the parties (including the Greens), higher corporate taxes after years of needless corporate tax cuts, repeal of the outrageous tax break for CEO stock options...I could go on.
But what I really want to do here is express my deepest gratitude to everyone who worked so hard on my campaign, and who have personally supported me, starting with my wonderful daughter Amy.
After we lick our wounds for a while, let’s all rise again to fight for a better world. As Margaret Mead so beautifully put it: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
With fondest regards,
The Toronto Centre NDP Executive Committee is actively preparing for a federal candidate nomination meeting in advance of this fall's federal election. We are anticipating a contested nomination and will notify members as soon as a nomination meeting date is confirmed.
What an historic night in Toronto Centre!
Earlier this evening, I spoke with David Morris and Meredith Cartwright. I want to thank them both for their commitment to public service and their grace and hard work throughout the campaign. We are fortunate to have such dedicated people among our neighbours in Toronto Centre.
I am ecstatic to tell you that our patience and efforts have been rewarded. I am deeply humbled that our community has placed their trust in me to represent the wonderful and diverse communities of Toronto Centre at Queen’s Park.
As your MPP, I will strive to be open, available, and committed to listening to the voices of all of Toronto Centre’s constituents. I will carry with me the progressive values that brought me this far – values of equity, fairness, inclusion, and justice.
There are more people to thank than I can do justice to right now. I am grateful to Trevor, my family, my whole campaign team, every supporter, and to absolutely every Toronto Centre resident who took the time this election to vote for a better future.
I extend the warmest congratulations to my New Democrat colleagues across Ontario who gave this campaign the full extent of their love and abilities. Though we must continue to wait for the New Democrat government Ontario needs, our organization is stronger than ever and our resolve to continue to work for change for the better has never been more firm.
Thank you for your support and trust.
It is an enormous honour to be trusted with the provincial NDP nomination in Toronto Centre. To see first hand the commitment, diversity, and resiliency among New Democrats in Toronto Centre has been humbling. I pledge to represent you as best I can.
Over the past weeks and months, I have been inspired by the work and activism of Kevin Beaulieu and Michael Erickson. I look forward to working together for many years to come, and I commend them for their superb campaigns. I must also thank my supporters, volunteers, donors and cheerleaders for carrying me to the finish line. My family, especially my husband Trevor, have stood next to me the whole way and I am forever grateful for their love and support.
I truly believe this year we will send an NDP government to Queen's Park. Careerist Liberals, including our former MPP, have not even had the dignity to complete their mandates. The Conservatives are leaderless and mired in scandal of their own. The NDP has never been better positioned to form government - and with your help, I will be part of it.
To win in Toronto Centre, we need to work together. I will need your advice, your time, certainly your vote and yes, sometimes your money to make it happen. But we cannot wait any longer for Toronto Centre to have effective representation at Queen's Park.
I am starting today. Will you help today too?
Here's what I need to start this campaign on the strongest footing.
- Spreading the word - Tell your friends, family, and neighbours that I am running to represent you at Queen's Park. Let me know if there's an event or get together I can join to meet more of our community.
- Keep up to date! Follow me on Facebook or Twitter.
- Volunteers - Sign up to volunteer
- Money - Donate Online Now
Stay tuned for more updates as this campaign for Queen's Park gets rolling.
See you soon,
-- Suze Morrison
NDP Candidate, Toronto Centre