More than 200 supporters clad in their best orange attire crowded into Sala San Marco on Preston Street to celebrate the victory of NDP candidate Paul Dewar on Monday night.
Dewar’s win marks his third consecutive win in Ottawa Centre. In 2008, Dewar received just shy of 25,500 votes, slightly more than his 2006 margin of 24,609.
With all polls reporting, unofficial results showed Dewar as the winner with 33,0704 votes, or 52 per cent.
Dewar’s votes more than doubled Conservative candidate Damian Konstantinakos, who came in a surprising second with 21.7 per cent of the votes.
Liberal Scott Bradley faced a disappointing third-place finish, slightly behind Konstantinakos 20.1 per cent of the voters.
Jen Hunter of the Green party came in fourth with 3,262 votes, considerably down from 2008 when she received 6,348 votes.
None of the other four Ottawa Centre candidates, including Radical Marijuana, Communist Party, Marxist-Leninist or Independent candidate Romeo Bellai were able to to acquire more than one per cent of the votes.
Voter turnout in the riding, at 74.6 per cent, was considerably higher than the national turnout of about 61 per cent. According to Elections Canada, 64,831 votes were cast in the Ottawa Centre riding.
Dewar’s arrival was followed by an introduction by former federal NDP leader and Ottawa Centre MP Ed Broadbent, who wrested the riding from the Liberals in 2004.
A burst of applause and cheers erupted in the room as Dewar took to the stage alongside his wife and two sons.
Dewar made a special acknowledgement to young voters for showing Canadians “what politics is all about. They will be with us and not behind us to lead us to our future.”
Dewar offered a message of community support and the importance of working together.
“Let us not demonize people,” he said. “Let us find common cause for the issues that have been left unattended and propose solutions together.”
For the riding, Dewar, the NDP’s foreign affairs critic in the last Parliament, said he wants to work to protect impoverished seniors, work with the immigrant and First Nations community, and advocate for better access to childcare and affordable housing.
Just a few blocks down on Preston Street, an emotional Bradley thanked his supporters for their efforts in trying to “bring the Liberals back” to Ottawa Centre.
Despite his third-place finish, Bradley said he was “100 per cent content.”
Back at Sala San Marco, Dewar said that the NDP brings to Canada a kind of positive message that “people were yearning for.”
“This was about change that was led by people,” he said.
Dewar’s statements were in reference to the surprising surge of support for the NDP among young voters as well as in Quebec ridings.
Dewar said the support in Quebec is indicative of that province’s desire to feel a part of Canada.
“They (people of Quebec) have embraced us and we must respect that,” he said.
His party would listen, he said, solve problems and not “engage in hot rhetoric and accusation.”
Thanking his supporters and leaving the stage, Dewar offered one final thought.
“Let us work together,” he said. “And friends, dream no little dream.”
–with files from Richard Coelho