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Ford bests Smitherman; Wong-Tam takes Ward 27 in nail biter

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Ford bests Smitherman; Wong-Tam takes Ward 27 in nail biter

As purple confetti fell on a half-empty Guvernment nightclub, supporters of George Smitherman were struggling to figure out what to make of the results.

“We haven't seen the last of George,” said activist and Smitherman supporter Craig Knowles.

A few Smitherman supporters even cried as the gay former health minister walked through the crowd giving hugs.

Smitherman told the crowd that he set out to change the city, but the city changed him. He too got a little teary eyed.

But in a scrum afterwards, he was less ambiguous.


"I've won and I've lost," he said. "Winning is way better."

Rob Ford will be the next mayor of Toronto.

At Ford's victory party in Etobicoke, supporters snickered audibly at the mention of Smitherman's husband. But Ford told his supporters not to boo the second-place candidate, before launching into a typical Ford-style stump speech.

"Four years from tonight, you'll look back and say Rob Ford did exactly what he said he would do," he told the crowd.

Back at the Smitherman camp, gay United Church minister Rev John Mastandrea urged voters to get in touch with their new city councillor as soon as possible. City council could be a check on Ford's slash-and-burn platform.

"Whatever riding you live in, talk to your councillor tomorrow," he said. "Let Rob Ford know we're not sleeping."

In the end, it was the gaybourhood Ward 27 race that turned out to be the nail biter. Kristyn Wong-Tam beat out Ken Chan and 13 other candidates in a tight race. At lesbian hangout Slack's, Wong-Tam supporters, including activists Tim McCaskell and Anna Willats, spent the evening glued to the TV. For over an hour, Wong-Tam and Chan traded the lead as each new set of data was reported.

Gilles Marchildon, former executive director of Egale Canada, was onhand. Wong-Tam will be a progressive champion and stand up to Ford, he said.

Chan supporters at a restaurant near Yonge and Dundas Square greeted him with chants and applause; an even more boisterous crowd greeted Wong-Tam at Slack's at about 9:30pm.

Some Ward 27 residents were apparently waiting in line until 8:30pm. Chris Tindal, Simon Wookey, Joel Dick, Robert Meynell and Enza Anderson placed 3rd-8th, respectively.

Michael Erickson, the Ward 14 candidate who proposed a gay-specific homeless shelter for Toronto, placed third. The riding will go to incumbent Millerite Gord Perks.

In hotly contested Ward 18, Ana Bailão won, pulling comfortably ahead of Kevin Beaulieu, the former aide to Adam Giambrone, early in the night.

In Ward 6, the evangelical anti-gay pastor Wendell Brereton (subject of an awkward Ford press conference last month) won just 605 votes, behind three other candidates, including Mark Grimes, who took the seat.

In Ottawa, the swing was to the left, with gay-friendly centrist Jim Watson taking the mayoralty from business conservative incumbent Larry O’Brien in a walk. Just like in Toronto, the more interesting races were for individual council seats.

“There is an enormous responsibility for me to live up to the public’s expectations for one, and secondly I have to fulfill the commitments I made in my platform. And that is certainly going to drive me over the course of the next four years. The biggest challenge we have, obviously, in the short term is the budget for 2011," Watson told Xtra after giving his victory speech.

There will be 10 new councillors in Ottawa. In Capital Ward, former Green Party muckymuck David Chernushenko beat out the owner of a Byward Market nightclub to take the seat vacated by Clive Doucet.

Gaybourhood councillor Diane Holmes was returned to office.

"I am delighted. I work closely with my community neighbourhoods; it's a real vindication of the work I have been doing," Holmes told Xtra.

Two neighbouring councillors, Georges Bedard and Christine Leadman, were ousted in the gentrifying Ottawa neighbourhoods of Parkdale and Vanier. Bedard lost to 20-something Mathieu Fleury; Leadman lost to Katherine Hobbs.

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UPDATE: We're LIVE! Click on the CoverItLive module below to join our chat and catch the live updates from Xtra reporters at Toronto and Ottawa location hotspots!



 

 

  


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Comments

I wish Glen Murray had run
I wish Glen Murray had run for Mayor instead! Smitherman unclear position on the Pride Toronto funding debacle did not help him. Attending the Kyle Rae retirement party with Tracey Sandilands while the community was in turmoil over the issue, was a colossal miscalculation on his part. To me he came across as unprincipled and disturbingly self entitled. I voted for him, but with great reluctance. If he failed to capture the enthusiasm of his natural constituency how was he to counter the well orchestrated assault of the rabid homophobes? To those who love to bash immigrants for everything that goes wrong, please have a long and hard look at your own motivations before spewing such asinine and yes, racist assertions.
I second "Ford Not Best"'s
I second "Ford Not Best"'s comment. FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE PEOPLE - VOTE! VOTE DAMN IT! Especially you young ones - where were you?! Buying sneakers? The election is by far Toronto's biggest and most important event. If you think you're non-political you're nuts - not voting is a highly political action; a terrible one with serious consequences. This was clearly lost to disproportionate voter apathy. There are places on this planet where nobody votes, and we don't want to live like them but we will if you don't vote.
What interesting election
What interesting election results. Toronto elects Ford - enough said. Calgary elects an Ismaili muslim mayor who strongly supports the arts and marched in the Pride Parade and a lesbian alderman and in neither case is there even a question raised anywhere about either colour, religion or sexuality affecting the outcome. There was also one gay candidate who ran against a popular incumbent and came in a very healthy second, no question of him losing because he was gay, it wasn't even raised as a possibility. Very interesting indeed.
Great accessorizing! Angelina
Great accessorizing! Angelina and Madonna got nothin' on you.
This is too funny. Gay lib
This is too funny. Gay lib-left lunatics never met a third world immigrant they didn't bow down to, and in return the browns stab you in the back. Looks good on you silver spoon socialists. Vote conservative to keep Canada safe for gays.
I noticed that Rob Ford
I noticed that Rob Ford during his victory speech was bathed in the wreath of Sri Lankan (Tamil)colours.
I kept thinking of the homophobic radio Ad on Tamil Radio and then of the -Muslims don't vote for gays- signs posted in the hundreds around Vic park and Danforth.
We are living in terrible times, the modern day equivalent of the Dark Ages.
I suggest we all give Kristyn Wong-Tam as much support as possible.
Who elected Rob Ford as Mayor
Who elected Rob Ford as Mayor? All the people who did not vote. His win is your fault. Only 50% voter turnout. Ford's 48% win was actually a 24% win. Many of those preferred to have a cheezy buffoon as Mayor rather than to have a Gay man. Even the immigrants who Ford stereotypes and seems to look down upon would rather have him than a man who married another man. But it was those who did not vote who, by their absence, supported the biggotts. When the Gay/Lesbian/Trans and Pride funding is cut by the city of Toronto, it will be too late and too little to protest after the fact. Let this be a lesson for the future. GO OUT AND VOTE.
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