Murray takes Toronto Centre

[attach]1226[/attach]The Liberals are two-for-two in Toronto byelections after Glen Murray was chosen to replace George Smitherman in Toronto Centre.

Murray won handily, taking 47 percent of the popular vote with all the polls reporting. His total was just below the 47.85 percent Smitherman received during the 2007 general election.

“In Rosedale and St. Lawrence we saw so many people carry Liberal badges and knocking on doors,” he told the jubilant crowd at his victory celebrations at Jack Astor’s in Dundas Square. “We had a rainbow coalition here tonight.”

During his victory party Murray reiterated his campaign pledge to come up with a community plan for each of his riding’s neighbourhoods within his first 100 days in office.

“We are going to get up tomorrow morning and start that,” he said. “Delivering that plan will be partially up to the provincial government. I have already talked to city councillors and Bob Rae — our member of parliament, business leaders, labour and community organizations (about working together).”

With reference to Rosedale, he said one of the key issues that neighbourhood faces is seniors housing, heritage preservation and access to public transit.

“Even affluent neighbourhoods have challenges,” said Murray.

While Murray is perhaps best known for his years as mayor of Winnipeg he paid tribute to his new riding and brushed aside the stereotype that Torontonians are cold.

“This is the warmest, greatest place to call home,” he said.

Over at the NDP headquarters spirits were high as the party’s Cathy Crowe polled over 14 points higher than her party’s 2007 candidate Sandra Gonzalez. And while Crowe didn’t succeed in becoming Toronto Centre’s next MPP she took pride in the campaign she ran.

“This election was about sending a message,” she told her supporters. “We sent that message. Things will be different at Queens Park.”

Finishing a disappointing third was Progressive Conservative Pamela Taylor, who finished almost five points lower than she did in 2007.

The Green Party’s Stefan Premdas came a distant fourth with 3.1 percent of the vote while four other candidates combined for a total of 1.4 percent.