New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate Craig Scott (C) celebrates between Olivia Chow (L) and interim NDP leader Nycole Turmel after winning the Toronto-Danforth federal by-election in Toronto, March 19, 2012. The Toronto-Danforth seat has been vacant since the death of NDP Leader Jack Layton this past summer.
Credits: REUTERS/Mike Cassese
TORONTO -- The legacy of late NDP leader Jack Layton will live on in the federal riding of Toronto-Danforth, with New Democrat Craig Scott scoring a victory over Liberal candidate Grant Gordon.
Scott won Monday's byelection with around 58% of the vote, reaffirming the riding's NDP roots and securing himself a seat in Ottawa. Gordon, Scott's main opponent during this bout, ended up with around 28% of the vote.
Scott, an Osgoode Hall law professor, won the nomination to compete for Layton's old riding in early January after Toronto-Danforth was left vacant following Layton's death last August.
"The first thing I plan to do is follow up with ... the people and organizations I've been privileged to meet and learn more about in terms of mapping the riding," Scott said, explaining that he has had help in getting a better handle on issues facing the riding, "from environmental issues, to transit, to housing and child care."
He said another local issue he'll be "keeping (his) eye on" is the development of the portlands in the south end of the riding.
Once in Ottawa, Scott said, he'll see that "all hands will be on deck to take on ... (a) wide range of cuts" he says will be brought forth by the ruling Conservatives.
Scott has some big shoes to fill. Locally, Layton had held tight to the riding since winning it in 2004.
The NDP leader was a popular face in the ethnically diverse area and won the riding in last May's election with 61% of the vote. At the same time, he hoisted his party to official Opposition status.
Attempting to fill Layton's large shoes has at times been a "daunting" endeavour.
"I'm always one for a challenge," said Scott, who had the backing of Layton's widow, NDP MP Olivia Chow, and Layton's son, Toronto Councilor Mike Layton.
"But (Layton) got so much done and I get to build on it."
It was a tough slog for Gordon, with the Liberal candidate at one point saying that competing against Scott was like running against two candidates - a reference to Layton's popularity in the riding.