What was supposed to be a close election in the Guelph riding turned into a Green tsunami Thursday night as Mike Schreiner ran away with the victory.
Schreiner made history, becoming the first Green MPP in Ontario, finishing with 29,082 votes, 15,000 more than runner up Ray Ferraro of the Progressive Conservative party.
It was the biggest margin of victory in Guelph in at least 20 years.
The Liberals, who have won the past four elections in Guelph, finished in fourth place with 6,537 votes, 15,500 less votes than they garnered in the last election.
“Together, we have shown what can happen when you vote for what you believe in,” Schreiner told his supporters during a victory celebration at the Holiday Inn.
“Tonight we stand up for the people and places we love in this community and in this province,” he said.
“We are so blessed to live in Guelph and live in Ontario. It is also a privilege to live here, one that carries with it a great responsibility of leaving this place a better place for our children, our grandchildren and the next seven generations.
“I got into politics because I want to leave a livable future for my children,” Schreiner said.
He called the election the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.
Schreiner put the spotlight on Doug Ford for a moment.
“You said in the debate that you believe that climate change was real and that people were causing it, so he’d better listen to the Green MPP from Guelph,” Schreiner said to loud cheers.
Voter turnout in Guelph was 64,576, which was 11,551 more than what voted in the 2014 election.
Schreiner thanked his local opponents for running “such a civil campaign in Guelph,” outgoing premier Kathleen Wynne and outgoing Guelph MPP Liz Sandals “for her years of service to this community.”
Final votes were:
Schreiner (Green Party): 29,082
Ferraro (PC): 14,084
Mlynarz (NDP): 13,928
Castaldi (Liberal): 6,537
Taylor (None of the Above: 358
Riehl (Libertarian): 297
Mooney (Ontario Party): 181
Burnett (Communist): 109
In the rural riding of Wellington-Halton Hills, longtime Tory MPP Ted Arnott cruised to victory, finishing with over 17,000 more votes than runner-up Diane Ballantyne of the NDP.
Runner-up Ray Ferraro said the victory was bittersweet, given that the PC party won a provincial majority, capturing 74 of the 122 ridings.
“Obviously, we got outgunned by the Green Party but we are very happy about the way we ran our campaign,” Ferraro said at his campaign office. “I would like to congratulate the other three candidates as well.”
Speaking to supporters at NV Lounge in Downtown Guelph after the riding of Guelph was called in Schreiner’s favour, NDP candidate Mlynarz thanked them for all of their support and promised she isn’t going anywhere.
“Tonight, I challenge you to not go anywhere as well,” she said.
“Stay true to what really matters, what makes us people, what makes us caring individuals — because it’s going to be a hard four years and it’s going to be an uncertain four years because that’s what Doug Ford has presented us with in the last four weeks,” said Mlynarz.