Politics
Conservatives hang on to Oda's Durham riding in byelection

Credits: Conservative Party of Canada

JENNY YUEN | QMI AGENCY

BOWMANVILLE, Ont. -- Conservative Erin O'Toole captured the race for MP in
the Durham riding in one of three federal byelections held Monday, three months after former Conservative cabinet minister Bev Oda resigned.

O'Toole, a lawyer with Heenan Blaikie, and a 12-year veteran of the Canadian Forces, clinched roughly 50.6% of the vote against Liberal Grant Humes and New Democrat Larry O¹Connor with 188 of 236 polls reporting.

"This election was about stepping forward for our community," O'Toole said during his victory speech a legion hall in Bowmanville, east of Toronto.

"I did that this summer to seek the trust from the people of Durham and we've gained that tonight in an overwhelming fashion."

O'Toole's win means not only a new MP in Durham, but it makes him the second member of his family to represent the riding -- his father John is the Conservative MPP for the area.

His campaign promises include building a strong community in an area -- more than 600,000 residents within 2,471 square kilometres -- which has predominantly had a Conservative political history.

Part of that is keeping taxes low for families and seniors "until our economy can truly grow like I think it can in Durham," O'Toole said during his speech.

Oda left her seat July 31 after a series of scandals over her expenses and funding decisions. It was reported that during a 2011 conference on immunization of poor children, Oda stayed at London¹s Savoy Hotel at $665 per night for three nights, ordered a $16 orange juice and hired a limousine to take her between the hotel and conference.

She was also charged $250 for smoking in a non-smoking room, a bill which was footed by taxpayers.
Marven Whidden campaigned for Genny, his black Labrador retriever, to be on the ballot after he felt taxpayers were disappointed by Oda. He said he was disheartened his dog was barred from the vote because she isn't human.

"In a survey we conducted, the number of people that would have voted for Genny for no other reason than to make a political statement was overwhelming," Whidden said. "To allow an online party to run in this byelection was a slap in the face for us. Next election we will seek to register the 'Doing Only Good' party, or DOG party for short."

Meanwhile, results were still being tallied in the ridings of Calgary Centre and Victoria, B.C.
The Calgary Centre seat became vacant when Conservative incumbent Lee Richardson quit to take a job with Alberta Premier Alison Redford. Tory candidate Joan Crockatt was said to be in a close battle there with Liberal Harvey Locke.

In Victoria, B.C., the riding was up for grabs after NDP MP Denise Savoie left politics in August for health reasons. She won the riding handily in the 2001 and political pundits were expecting the riding to return another New Democrat.

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