Michael Prue holds Beaches–East York
Liberal's Helen Burstyn ran 11 points behind
On election night, longtime Beaches-East York MPP Michael Prue enjoyed the taste of victory with a glass of champagne.
Clad in the East York sweater his wife Shirley knitted him after his first election win at East York council, Prue was toasted by the party faithful who gathered at the Naval Club on Gerrard Street East to celebrate his fourth provincial election win.
“I woke up this morning and I was just feeling a little nervous,” he said explaining why he donned the 23-year-old sweater. “It has brought me total luck.”
Seconds after Prue’s victory speech, councillor Janet Davis brought out a bottle of bubbly in celebration of Prue.
Though polls and pundits during the campaign had suggested Beaches–East York as possible close race between Prue and Liberal candidate Helen Burstyn, the former mayor of East York ended the night with a comfortable lead.
Prue garnered almost 47 percent of the votes, with Burstyn following at a distant 36 percent. PC candidate Chris Menary gained 14 percent, while candidates from the Green Party, Freedom Party and an independent each received less than three percent of the vote.
Flanked by his wife, Davis, and NDP MP Matthew Kellway, Prue thanked his longtime supporters and the community.
“Tonight, I think the people of Beaches–East York have said we are a team, all of us, and all of them — together,” he said.
Speaking with Town Crier later in the evening, Prue said he wants to spend the next four years addressing issues like the Ontario Municipal Board’s influence in planning local neighbourhoods, and accessible child care.
Prue said with a Liberal minority government this term, his party will be able to make headway with private members bills, he said.
“Now they’re going to have to compromise,” he said. “Now they can’t say ‘no, we’re not going to let your stuff go through’.”
But despite a loss the mood wasn’t any less celebratory at runner-up Helen Burstyn’s campaign party, held at a Danforth Avenue restaurant.
Speaking to the large crowd of supporters, Burstyn said several times that this wouldn’t be her last attempt at entering the political sphere.
“I have a passion for public service, for community service and I was able to find it seeking political office so that’s why I’ll go for it again,” she said to cheers.
Burstyn thanked her four daughters for bearing through a tough campaign, but saved the last acknowledgment for her late husband, civic leader David Pecaut, who she said has been with her every step of the way.
Pecaut lost a battle with cancer in 2009.
In an interview afterward, Burstyn said she would return to work in the non-profit and private sectors for the time being. Burstyn is the former chair of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and runs The Partnership Project, a government initiative designed to strengthen the not-for-profit and voluntary sectors.
Burstyn said Ontarians made the right choice in re-electing a Liberal government with a platform designed not just “to get elected, but to govern responsibly for the long-term.”
She said the government still has its challenges ahead, including providing better services for vulnerable communities.
Alfred Apps, a friend of Burstyn’s and president of the Liberal Party of Canada told the Town Crier that despite Burstyn’s loss, he was heartened to see another Liberal government.
“Given our defeat last May it’s wonderful to see the Liberal party still earning the confidence of Canada in important provinces it means we can come back nationally.”
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