The applause began slowly, but once Liberal incumbent Yasir Naqvi stepped through the doors at The Preston Bar and Grill in Little Italy, enthusiastic supporters broke into loud cheers and chanted, “four more years, four more years.”
As polls closed and results came in, Naqvi blazed ahead, and he won by a comfortable lead over NDP candidate Anil Naidoo. In his victory speech, Naqvi thanked his opponents before turning to his own campaign.
“It was a campaign about ideas; it was a campaign about the kind of Ottawa Centre we want to build to ensure that we have a vibrant downtown right in our city,” he said.
He spoke of the importance of working with members within his riding to build a strong community.
“Being an elected representative, being a member of provincial Parliament for a diverse community like Ottawa Centre is not something you do by yourself. You do it with a lot of help with community members, you do it with consultation with them, you do it by listening to them, by working with them and coming up with positive, practical solutions. And that is something that I have strived to do over the past four years,” he said.
James Cano, wearing his red volunteer T-shirt, stood listening. He has been a supporter of Naqvi for the past several years and a volunteer with the Liberal Party for much longer.
“He’s a great guy and he has done great things,” Cano said. “The Liberals as well, several parts of their platform, like the tuition freeze, affect me directly. And also, I have health problems and I have benefited from the increased spending to healthcare, and I hope to continue to benefit from it.”
Naqvi commented on the Liberals win, saying, “[McGuinty] has been a strong leader who has believed in Ontario, who has believed in the potential of Ontario and Ontarians. That is what people have responded to.”
Before Naqvi was called away to join his supporters he spoke of returning in November to begin knocking on doors, saying that he has never taken his job for granted.
“I don’t think there is any door left in the riding that I have not been to personally, and I will continue with that. It is something I am very proud of. It makes me a better member of provincial Parliament because I get to know the dreams, the aspirations, the ideas of my community.”