This is a risky blog post since it's coming late at night and my faculties, post-campaign party, are just not quite at 100%. There are a few things percolating on my brain, however, so here goes...
First off, congrats to our principal opponent Cheri DiNovo for winning this campaign, it must be said.
Now, it must also be said, we could have won Parkdale-High Park. Liberals out there, this is not an NDP stronghold. Look at the history. Tonight, we brought it back to the normal swing range. The 2011 federal election was an aberration and not in line with this riding's swing nature. Yes, it is a swing riding between NDP and Liberals. A few thousand votes either way always make that difference. Had we had another few days or a week, I think we could have swung it back. Parkdale-High Park needs to be targeted as a winnable riding next election, whenever that may be.
Which brings me to Cortney Pasternak. She gave an NDP heavy quite a run tonight. A first time campaigner. With a newbie campaign off the ground just in mid-August. I think we did well for three reasons. Number one, the Liberal record. It resonated with people at the door. With young mothers in particular, the full day kindergarten was gold. And we have some kind of baby boom thing going on in our riding (seriously). The HST barely came up yet some of us went into the campaign expecting it to be the biggest issue. There was lots to talk about beyond FDK by way of record and there was great receptiveness to it. No need to "fear monger" people into voting Liberal in order to avoid vote splits. The argument was relatively easy to make.
Number two, Cortney was likable. Likable candidates go a long way, to be captain obvious here:) If people met her, they liked her and wanted to vote for her. And she worked very hard to meet as many people as possible. We were right up there in terms of how we ranked with the NDP candidate in that regard, despite the NDP candidate's incumbent stature.
Number three, people in our riding definitely did not want a Tim Hudak PC government. Huge factor and a tad more important than the other two. But the other two had to be there.
Bottom line, Liberals, next time, put Parkdale-High Park in a winnable category. This is - again - a swing riding. Not an NDP stronghold, too much was made of the 2011 federal election. Compare:
2011 May federal election:
Nash NDP 24,046
Kennedy Liberal 16,757
Con candidate 7,924
2011 October provincial election:
DiNovo NDP 18,605
Pasternak Liberal 14,915
PC candidate 4,728
Big swoon in NDP numbers. When some issues like the Pearson-Union station air rail link in particular were thought to be even worse for Liberals during the provincial campaign. And note that Liberals got more votes than the winning candidate next door in Davenport.
We thought it was close, based on what we were hearing at the door. We thought there was lots of receptiveness to our message. Turns out we weren't that far off. We had a respectable result, a rebound if you will, to pivot off next time.
If people had taken our chances more seriously, maybe we could have been that one seat difference.
See you in four months for the next one...right?