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Liberal Bill Morneau takes Toronto Centre

New MP-elect promises to focus on trans rights

“We’re going to make a better Canada. We’re going to make it better because we’re going to invest in the things that matter,” Morneau told a jubilant crowd in Toronto Centre, Monday, Oct 19, 2015. Credit: Nick Lachance

The Liberals maintained their 22-year hold in Toronto Centre in Monday’s vote with a first-place finish over the trailing NDP.

Liberal candidate Bill Morneau won the riding easily with 57.9 percent of the vote (29,090 votes).

“We’re going to make a better Canada. We’re going to make it better because we’re going to invest in the things that matter,” Morneau told a jubilant crowd at the Paintbox Bistro at Dundas and Sackville, Monday, Oct 19, 2015.

Repeat NDP candidate Linda McQuaig came in second with 26.6 percent (13,382 votes) and Julian Di Battista was well behind in third with 12.2 percent (6,131 votes). Green party candidate Colin Biggin and independent Jordan Stone received 2.6 percent (1,306 votes) and 0.3 percent (147 votes), respectively.

Toronto Centre, roughly bordered by Bloor Street, Bay Street, the Don River and The Esplanade, has been a Liberal stronghold since 1993. The riding contains Toronto’s gay Church-Wellesley Village.

“I feel my role, not only because of this riding but as a member of Parliament, is to focus on many things, including rights for all individuals across the country,” Morneau said, when asked by Daily Xtra how he would act on behalf of his LGBT constituents.

“I think we should start by focusing on trans rights, which obviously is something that got left behind by the last Parliament in the Senate, and I know we’re committed to doing that.”

Morneau is the former chair of the CD Howe Institute and executive chair of human resources consulting company Morneau Shepell.

The redrawing of electoral boundaries after the 2011 federal election meant the riding did not have an incumbent. Chrystia Freeland of the Liberals won Toronto Centre in the 2013 by-election, but ran and won in the newly created riding University-Rosedale for the 2015 election.

Conservative candidate Julian Di Battista was running for the first time, and felt his party made big strides in the riding from the by-election, where it had received 8.7 percent of votes.

“It’s quite clear that Canadians wanted change. Whether or not we see change is something we’ll have to see,” Di Battista, a bank analyst and long-time Conservative Party supporter, said.

Morneau said he’ll be bringing messages about jobs and immigration from the riding back to Parliament.

“In this riding, we heard people are really concerned with jobs for their children and their grandchildren,” he said. “We absolutely heard people very frustrated with the way immigrants are treated in this country, very concerned with Bill C-24 . . . And we did hear about people who want to find a way to do better, who are struggling to get by.”

NDP candidate McQuaig declined a request to comment.