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Saturday, June 21, 2014
Liberal candidate Indira Naidoo-Harris wins Halton in Ontario election
Liberal candidate Indira Naidoo-Harris shattered a longstanding Conservative stronghold in Halton, beating out five-time Conservative MPP Ted Chudleigh in a race to the finish.
Naidoo-Harris had widened the gap between her and the Conservative incumbent by a margin of 3,000 votes, enough to declare her the winner.
“Welcome to my retirement party,” Chudleigh joked to a cramped Milton bar after the news broke.
The Halton riding contains voters from Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills.
The riding has traditionally voted conservative, with Chudleigh holding the seat since 1995. In the last term, Chudleigh served as the opposition critic for tourism and culture as well as colleges and universities.
Naidoo-Harris, a former TV journalist, challenged Chudleigh’s winning streak again this year. Of the 58,000 votes cast in the 2011 election, Naidoo-Harris lost by 3,000 ballots.
The riding, one of the wealthiest in Ontario, was reformed in 1999 by combining part of Halton Centre with all of Halton North.
Transit was a key issue this election, with various projects currently in motion, including the Metrolinx Plan, The Big Move and the electrification of GO trains.
Chudleigh has said that a Tory majority would expand transit by uploading the service of Toronto subways and regional highways, such as the Gardiner Expressway, to Metrolinx. Naidoo-Harris’s plan included fully electric GO trains over 10 years.
Candidates were divided on a proposed super-highway that would connect the GTA to the Niagara region by cutting through the Niagara Escarpment, a valued piece of land and a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
Naidoo-Harris and NDP candidate Nik Spohr said they refused to support the project, while Chudleigh said the Conservatives would support the project but “draw the line” at encroaching on the Niagara Escarpment.
The prospect of opening a Wilfrid Laurier University satellite campus was also on the local radar. During his campaign, Chudleigh said he would ensure the years-long wait for the campus “wouldn’t get any longer.” Plans for the university have been put on hold pending approval from the province.