Despite having a tough opponent, newly appointed Richmond Hill MPP Reza Moridi won the riding for the second straight term.
Moridi won by gaining 4,000 votes (a total of 18,040 votes) more than the runner up, PC candidate Vic Gupta.
Lawyer and Moridi campaign lead volunteer, Behrouz Amouzegar, said Gupta “wasn’t an easy person to go against.”
“Tim Hudak canvassed with Vic Gupta three times in Richmond Hill,” Amouzegar told Salam Toronto. “So the leader of the (PC) party was really trying to put his support behind this guy to make sure he got it.”
The federal election last May resulted in a majority Conservative government and a shakeup in Ontario’s political landscape, federally. Much of the support for the Conservatives unexpectedly came from southern Ontario and York Region, including Richmond Hill. Amouzegar said the Moridi team was uncertain what to expect this year.
“Given the federal election and the municipal election in Toronto, we were pretty scared of the Conservatives,” said Amouzegar. “That was really good because it made us volunteer and work for the party full force because we felt like we were a little behind in the race.”
Then came the tipping point. Hudak was widely criticized after calling the Liberal immigration policy – where tax credits would be given to train highly-skilled new Canadians – an affirmative action plan for foreign workers.
“The Conservatives had taken a stance that proved to be quite controversial, in particular, by calling these voters foreigners,” he said. “They’d stirred up some controversy and a lot of voters wanted to talk about it.”
The Liberals then went on the offensive against Hudak and his remarks.
Moridi, during an all-candidates debate in Richmond Hill, also attacked the Conservative misstep by calling their actions “unfortunate and disgraceful.”
Amouzegar thinks the PC party made another mistake during their campaign that benefitted Moridi and the Liberals.
“If you listened to their statements, they would mention the term Dalton McGuinty a lot more times than they would actually talk about Tim Hudak and what he has to offer,” said Amouzegar, who also mentioned that most Iranian-Canadians he met while canvassing were fully supportive of Moridi. “A lot of it was this negative campaigning that didn’t work well.”
“But I think Reza truly showed what the people of Richmond Hill wanted and the kind of support he had behind him,” said Amouzegar.
Another Moridi volunteer, Michael Jolliffe, agrees with Amouzegar and said the campaign was a positive one.
We’re fortunate in Richmond Hill to have someone like Reza Moridi as our MPP and Liberal candidate,” Jolliffe told Salam Toronto at Moridi’s victory party last Friday. “All of the things he’s done have paid off for Richmond Hill and now they’ve paid him back.”
“It’s another opportunity for our
community,” said Moridi supporter Mohammad Zohouri. “We have to have a voice in the government. He’s a very good representative of the average community member in Richmond Hill.”
Two sisters part of Moridi’s campaign team for the last four years, Gazal and Najva Amin, said despite it being a tough campaign, teamwork and organization were two keys for success.
“It was a tough one but it was definitely worth it now,” said Gazal. “We all worked together perfectly, every event. It was always an amazing time.”
“It was lot more organized than the first one,” said Najva. “We were a dedicated team that worked endlessly, 24 hours every day.”
Liberals dominate Yonge Street corridor
Within the Yonge St. corridor, between ridings in Toronto and Newmarket-Aurora where much of the Iranian-Canadian population resides, the Liberal Party dominated.
Among the eight ridings – Don Valley East and West, Willowdale, Thornhill, Richmond Hill, Oak Ridges-Markham, Newmarket-Aurora and Vaughan – only two non-Liberal parties won, making the area’s political landscape look dominantly red.
The Liberals won each of the said ridings aside from Thornhill and Newmarket-Aurora, In Thornhill, Progressive Conservative Peter Shurman rallied to beat Liberal Bernie Farber by less than 3000 votes. In Newmarket-Aurora, the historically Conservative riding, Frank Klees was re-elected. The Liberal Party won the rest of the ridings.
The results were not surprising, as several public opinion polls suggested similar outcomes. The controversial issue in the aftermath of the election was the increasingly low voter turnout. Roughly 4.1 million, or 49.2 per cent of eligible voters, filled out ballots, according to Elections Ontario. Of the eight corridor ridings, voter turnout ranged from 41 to 53 per cent. Vaughan had the lowest with 41.8 per cent turnout and Richmond Hill wasn’t far behind at 43 per cent.