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Holyday win in Etobicoke-Lakeshore gives PCs long-awaited Toronto riding

Doug Holyday (centre) celebrates his win in the Etobicoke-Lakeshore byelection with Ontario PC Party leader Tim Hudak in Toronto on Aug. 1, 2013. CITYNEWS

Doug Holyday has clawed his way to Queen’s Park, earning the Conservatives their first Toronto riding in more than a decade after edging Liberal candidate Peter Milczyn in Thursday’s Etobicoke-Lakeshore byelection.

The former deputy mayor of Toronto was already looking to the future for the Conservative party during his victory speech.

“I think we can win more seats here (in Toronto) and win more seats in the province and we can form the government,” he said.

The Holyday vs. Milczyn battle may have been the most intriguing byelection storyline, but the bottom line is the scandal-plagued, minority Liberals managed to hold on to just two of the five seats up for grabs.

Dalton McGuinty’s former riding of Ottawa South was retained after John Fraser edged Conservative candidate Matt Young, and Mitzie Hunter wrested Scarborough-Guildwood from Ken Kirupa (PC) and Adam Giambrone (NDP) in what was a tight three-way race for most of the night.

While the Liberals watched as three seats were snatched away by voters, the NDP gained the ridings of Windsor-Tecumseh (Percy Hatfield) and London West (Peggy Sattler).

Premier Kathleen Wynne accepted the results, and said the Liberals would have to do more to earn the public’s trust after a series of scandals – most recently the cancelled GTA gas plants that cost taxpayers at least $585 million.

“We lost some ridings tonight,” said Wynne. “There are fewer Liberal MPPs…I’ve said repeatedly that byelections are opportunities for citizens to send a message to government…and we hear that. That message was sent. We’ve heard it loud and clear. People expect more of us.”

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said voters expressed their desire for change.

“We won’t take that trust for granted,” she said from Hatfield’s headquarters in Windsor.

The battle for Etobicoke-Lakeshore played out at the polls, and in the media, with the Ford brothers vocally backing Holyday, and Transportation Minister Glen Murray criticizing them for meddling in a provincial election.

Murray called Holyday a “Ford mouthpiece” and a “surrogate candidate.”

But Mayor Ford didn’t mince words when expressing his disdain for the Liberal party.

“The people are sick and tired of this Liberal corruption,” he said.

“I want to see change, if you don’t want to vote Conservative, vote NDP,” he fumed before the byelection.