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After election landslide, Sorbara to start digging into subway plan

Double victory for Liberal strategist as he sweeps to re-election in Vaughan and his party wins second majority

Greg Sorbara, Ontario’s once and future finance minister, predicted in his nomination speech back on Sept. 6 that he would “sweep Vaughan from every corner of the riding”.

Sorbara will soon be trading in the broom for a shovel in the new majority Liberal government.

During his campaign, Sorbara said his priorities would be continuing his government’s support for the subway extension, community health centre and hospital.

“The thing that will make my day, over the course of the next six months, is putting the shovel in the ground for the subway,” Sorbara told Vaughan Today before making his victory speech. “We’ve got more work to do on the hospital, and that of course is a huge priority for this community.”

The incumbent’s hard work has paid off for him, as the second in command won by a landslide.

He won 25,562 votes, good for 62.2 percent and 17,945 more than PC candidate Gayani Weerasinghe who garnered 7,617 votes.

“I’m very grateful for the support that I have received from the people,” he said. “I’m also thrilled of the province-wide vote for what looks like a second majority government.

That’s been our hope and intention over the course of the past six months,” he added.

Sorbara’s victory was declared moments after the polls closed at 9 p.m. Shortly after, he entered the Montecassino Place Banquet Hall in Woodbridge to thank his elated campaign staff and supporters.

Described by Patrice Dutil, associate professor of politics at Ryerson University as possessing the political might of a “dragon” and a strong possibility to succeed Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty, the victorious Sorbara steered his party to its second majority.

At press time, the Liberal Party had won or was leading in 70 ridings. The threshold to form a majority government is 54 seats.

From the outset, political observers were confident of a Sorbara victory. Regional Councillor Joyce Frustaglio, who lost to Sorbara in a 1999 byelection, said early in the campaign that the lack of a “serious, high-profile challenger” would mean an easy win for “the second most powerful person in the province”.

The NDP’s Rick Morelli finished third behind Weerasinghe with 11.5 percent of the vote. Green candidate Russell Korus received 2,625 votes, good for 6.4 percent. Independent Savino Quatela finished a distant fifth with 560 votes.

Before leaving to make his speech, the big player mentioned that he spoke with the Premier on election day.

“I spoke with Dalton earlier this afternoon, he was in good spirits,” Sorbara said. “And I think after tonight he’ll be in even better spirits.”

Vaughan Today
Friday, October 12, 2007
Page: 3
Byline: Philip Alves and Brian Baker