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Todd Smith heads to fourth term at Queen’s Park

As wife Tawnya watches, Todd Smith is congratulated by MP Ryan Williams. – Tom Harrison photo

By Tom Harrison and Sue Capon
Todd Smith sailed through with 49.3 per cent of votes in the Bay of Quinte riding Thursday night to begin his fourth term at Queen’s Park.

Doug Ford’s PCs easily won a second majority government in Ontario, on a night that saw both the NDP and Liberal leaders announce they would resign. The PCs won 76 ridings in 2018 but the party was down to 67 seats when parliament was dissolved for the election due to expulsions and resignations.

Though all polls were not in, nearly one hour after most had closed at 9 p.m. the PCs were leading in, or projected to win at least 83 of 124 seats at Queen’s Park. Sixty-three seats are required for a majority. The NDP will form the official opposition party and the Liberal party looks unlikely to receive enough seats to regain official party status. Voter turnout is expected to be around 45 per cent.

About 150 people celebrating Smith at the Belleville Club cheered as the incumbent MP thanked them for supporting him. Smith was first elected in 2011.

“Bay of Quinte is the best place to live,” he declared, ending his speech with a shout of ‘Bay of Quinte’ that drew loud cheers and applause.

Smith said the pandemic showed “cracks” in things “that needed to be fixed” especially around health care and infrastructure.

“Over the last four years I’ve worked hard,” said Smith. “I don’t mail it in.”

Smith pointed to plans for a new St. Gregory’s Catholic school and to the County’s new hospital moving forward as examples of his work.

“I fully intend to be there four years from now when we turn the sod on that new hospital,” he added.

Smith also noted Bay of Quinte residents appreciated the government’s kept promises on keeping Ontario “naturally green”, and mentioned ending wind turbines, which were cancelled when the Ford government won its first majority in 2018.

“It was a hard-fought campaign,” he said, adding “you may have seen my largest margin of victory.”

Smith most recently has served as the Minister of Energy and said he’d be honoured to continue to serve in the new Progressive Conservative cabinet.

“I hope to be back, but ultimately it’s the premier’s decision.”

NDP candidate in 2018, Joanne Belanger with husband Terry Cassidy, joined in the celebration of Alison Kelly’s campaign. – Tom Harrison photo

“The campaign went by really fast” said New Democratic Party candidate Alison Kelly, who joined family and supporters at the Beaumont Pub in Belleville on election night.

Spirits were high with the small crowd as first returns showed the NDP with an early lead over the Progressive Conservatives, and Kelly winning several Picton polls. She ended the evening with almost 21 per cent of the votes.

Overall, Kelly said she was pleased with her campaign and voter response.

“It was overwhelming that so many people who I didn’t know were coming out, and believed in the plan, believed in vision of what an NDP government could do,” she said.

At the doors, people were mainly concerned about health care and affordability.

“Many in our community feel that it doesn’t welcome them anymore – the cost of housing, cost of food, the cost of gas,” means it is increasingly “hard for people to keep their heads above water,” she said.

Kelly had stepped down from her position as a public-school trustee for the Hastings Prince Edward District Board to run, but stated she won’t be running again later this year. Kelly also said she has no plans to seek another elected office, though will continue to be involved in the community and wants to “support and makes space for diverse leaders.”

Kelly was pleased to welcome NDP Leader Andrea Horwath to Bloomfield on Tuesday afternoon.

Horwath won her riding while making a fourth run for the premier’s office but announced she would pass the torch to a new leader, though she noted pride in the party’s back-to-back success as official opposition with 31 seats showing as leading and elected. This tally was the NDP’s second-best result since forming government in 1990.

Liberal leader Steven Del Duca was defeated in his riding for a second time and also announced he would step down as the Liberal tally showed just eight seats – four short of official party status.

Ontario Greens’ Mike Schreiner was re-elected in his riding. He became Ontario’s first Green MPP in 2018.

Unofficial results from 87 Bay of Quinte polls:
PC Todd Smith 21,351 votes (49.3%)
NDP Alison Kelly 9,058 votes (20.9%)
Liberal Emilie Leneveu 7,997 votes (18.5%)
Green Erica Charlton 2,719 votes (6.3%)
New Blue Rob Collins 1,128 votes (2.6%)
Ontario Party Noah Wales 1,062 votes (2.5%)

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