NDP candidate Linda McQuaig may have lost the Toronto Centre byelection on Nov. 25, but you wouldn’t know it from her “victory party” at downtown’s upscale Hot House Café.
“Lin-da! Lin-da! Lin-da!” the packed crowd cheered repeatedly, throwing in a few hoots and wolf whistles while the former Toronto Star columnist read a gracious concession speech.
“I do want to congratulate Chrystia Freeland on her victory,” McQuaig said. “The results aren’t quite what we’d hoped for. We always knew this was a Liberal stronghold, and that it would be an uphill battle, and it was.”
McQuaig received 36 percent of the vote, coming second to Freeland with 49 percent.
But McQuaig went on to say the evening’s byelection was simply a “trial run” for the next federal election in 2015, eliciting another round of chants.
“We could have done better, but … we did better than we’ve ever done in Toronto Centre,” McQuaig said, to further chants. “We didn’t back down. We addressed the issues in this riding.”
McQuaig said it was most important that her campaign address Canada’s dramatic increase in inequality in Canada during the past three decades.
“The dramatic increase in inequality that we’ve seen in Canada is not some inevitable development,” McQuaig said. “It’s the result of Liberal and Conservative policies that have been put in place by Liberal and Conservative governments.”
Laura Casselman, NDP riding association executive, echoed McQuaig’s sentiment and said a loss for the party did not mean it would give up.
“We’re going to continue until 2015,” she said. “There’s a really strong core team here in the riding, and we’re going to continue knocking on those doors and continuing the groundwork.”