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NEWS: Bell re-elected in University–Rosedale (July 2022)

July 18th, 2022 · No Comments

Annex backs NDP, province backs PCs overall

By Carly Penrose

New Democrat Jessica Bell won University-Rosedale by 4,000 votes while Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives won a sweeping majority in the bid to lead Ontario’s government.

“It’s an honour to be chosen again to be the MPP for University-Rosedale,” Bell said in an interview with the Gleaner. “It’s a huge privilege and great responsibility. It’s my commitment to give it my all to serve our riding and fight for the values we care about.” 

In 2018, Bell won 50 per cent of the vote. The NDP has won this riding in the past seven provincial elections.

“I’m feeling reflective,” said the runner-up Andrea Barrack, who added that she “was just really grateful for the residents of University-Rosedale who took the time to talk with me and our canvassers.”

She also encouraged residents in the riding and throughout the province to engage with provincial politics and vote. 

“I just feel very strongly it’s something we should treasure,” said Barrack. 

The third-place finisher, Carl Qiu of the Progressive Conservatives shared the same message.

“We need to vote. We need to get our voices heard, regardless of who you support,” he said.  

There was record-low voter turnout this election. In University-Rosedale, turnout was 43.5 per cent, an almost exact mirror of provincial numbers, which saw 43.53 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot. This  election was notable for having the lowest voter turnout in Ontario’s history. 

Despite the record-low turnout, the Progressive Conservatives were the clear winners of the night. The party gained seven seats in the legislature, while the NDP remained the official opposition, but with fewer seats. The Liberals gained only one seat compared to their 2018 finish, and the Greens maintained their caucus size of one. An independent MPP was also elected to the legislature which is a rare occurrence in Ontario politics. 

Though Qiu, the PC candidate in University-Rosedale came third in the riding, he said he was feeling good after the election results. 

“I recognize downtown is challenging,” he said, referring to the voting history of downtown Toronto ridings which regularly go to NDP and Liberal candidates. 

Qiu said he believed “the premier was able to reach out to nontraditional ridings,” and he pointed to the Essex and Windsor-Tecumseh ridings which flipped from orange to blue after not electing a conservative candidate in more than 60 years.

The overwhelming win by Ford’s PCs also saw the resignations of party leaders Andrea Horwath and Steven Del Duca on election night. Del Duca lost his riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge to PC candidate Michael Tibollo. Meanwhile, Mike Schreiner was re-elected in Guelph by a margin of over 18,000 votes, the biggest blowout of the election.

In University-Rosedale, Green Party candidate Dianne Saxe managed to get twice as many votes as the Green candidate in 2018. 

“The overwhelming PC majority is very bad news for Ontario,” said Saxe. “Three climate disasters within a week and a half of the election—but that wasn’t enough to get people to think [about the] climate crisis.”

Still, Saxe said she was proud of the work her team did and mentioned how “wonderful it is to work on the biggest issue of our lifetime with a wonderful team.” 

As Bell prepares to return to Queen’s Park, she says she is excited to have four more years to “build power” and work with the community to achieve common goals like action on climate and housing affordability, two of the top issues she heard at the door. 

Bell also gave credit to Barrack and Saxe whom she faced in multiple local debates. She said their strength, awareness, and engagement are a testament to the people who live in University-Rosedale. 


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