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Liberals Win Toronto Byelection

Ontario’s Liberals held on to a longtime Toronto seat Thursday despite opposition attacks on the party’s controversial tax harmonization plan and spending scandals at government agencies.

Dr. Eric Hoskins won the midtown riding of St. Paul’s, which was held by former cabinet minister Michael Bryant before he left politics in June.

Bryant’s departure triggered the vote in the Liberal stronghold. He’d held the riding since 1999 but resigned to take a position with Invest Toronto. However, Bryant left that position after cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard was struck and killed on September 1.

Bryant has since been charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.

Dr. Hoskins beat out Sue-Ann Levy, running under the Progressive-Conservative banner; NDP candidate Julian Heller; and Chris Chopik from the Green Party.

The New Democrats and Progressive-Conservatives focused their campaigns on the single sales tax, hoping to capitalize on voter anger over higher costs the scheme will trigger in July on everything from coffee, to fast food and funerals.

In the days leading up to the byelection Premier Dalton McGuinty admitted his controversial HST plan might hurt his party, but residents in the downtown riding opted to maintain the status quo.

With files from The Canadian Press