Ontario Liberal candidates have been elected in Kitchener Centre, Cambridge and Guelph as the party secures a majority in Ontario.
Liberal Kathryn McGarry unseated Progressive Conservative incumbent Rob Leone in Cambridge, the first time a Liberal has been elected in the riding since it was formed in 1975.
Meanwhile, in Kitchener Centre, journalist Daiene Vernile prevailed in a riding that was vacated by Liberal John Milloy. She beat out PC candidate Wayne Wettlaufer, who was previously the MPP for Kitchener Centre, but was ousted by Milloy in 2003.
"Over the last three weeks I did notice that there was some concern about the 100,000 job cuts that were announced by our Ontario party," said Wettlaufer.
"Was it an unwise announcement? Not necessarily. However the way the announcement was made, maybe it could've been done in a different manner, in a better manner."
The Liberals also retained Guelph, where Liz Sandals fended off PC Anthony MacDonald, and Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner. With 99 per cent of polls reporting, Schreiner had secured 19.1 per cent of the vote, good for third place among candidates, preliminary results indicate.
In Kitchener-Waterloo, New Democrat Catherine Fife held on to her seat, keeping Liberal Jamie Burton and PC Tracey Weiler at bay.
"When you win in a byelection, people don’t always take it to heart, they think it’s a one off,” said Fife. “So it was really important to win this riding in a general election.”
For years, the riding of Kitchener-Waterloo was a stronghold of the Progressive Conservatives under Elizabeth Witmer, who resigned in 2012 when former Premier Dalton McGuinty appointed her to head the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
News of a Liberal majority win did not sit well with PC supporters in the riding. Weiler finished third with 26.2 per cent of the vote.
"I always felt it was close and I thought it would be tough for the Conservatives to get the most seats, but I didn’t think the Liberals would get a majority at all,” said Jim Lernout. "I’m quite concerned and I hope that the Liberals will finally realize that they’re going to have to make some big changes in how they manage government."
The Progressive Conservatives were able to hold on to a number of suburban and rural ridings around Waterloo Region, highlighted by Kitchener-Conestoga, where PC incumbent Michael Harris was re-elected, fending off Liberal challenger Wayne Wright.
Other projected Tory wins include:
- Perth-Wellington, where Randy Pettapiece edged Liberal Stewart Skinner.
- Oxford, where Ernie Hardeman defeated New Democrat Bryan Smith.
- Huron-Bruce, where Lisa Thompson beat Liberal Colleen Schenk.
- Bruce Grey-Owen Sound, where Bill Walker beat Ellen Anderson.