Thunder Bay·ONTARIO VOTES 2022

Vaugeois takes Thunder Bay-Superior North as NDP snap Liberal stronghold

The voters of Thunder Bay-Superior North are sending the NDP's Lise Vaugeois to Queen's Park.

Lise Vaugeois holds off PC challenger Peng You and Liberal candidate Shelby Ch'ng

Lise Vaugeois enters the NDP's celebration at Magnus Theatre on Thursday night after winning election in the Thunder Bay-Superior North riding. (Logan Turner/CBC)

The voters of Thunder Bay-Superior North are sending Lise Vaugeois to Queen's Park.

The NDP candidate's victory turns the riding orange, after Thunder Bay-Superior North and the former Port Arthur riding had been held by the Liberals for 27 years.

With just over 34 per cent of the vote, Vaugeois defeated a field that included PC candidate Peng You, who finished 800 votes behind as the runner-up, and Liberal hopeful Shelby Ch'ng, who placed third at just over 1,400 votes back. 

"It was a very strong race from all the participants and an interesting race," Vaugeois said. "I don't think we really knew until it was over. I also know I had an incredible team that worked around the clock, working the phones, figuring out the polls, and all those things. That certainly contributed to our success."

Liberal Michael Gravelle had represented the area since he was first elected in 1995. He announced just weeks before the campaign began that he would not be running again for health reasons.

The Liberals tapped Ch'ng, a two-term Thunder Bay city councillor, to run in the riding just as the campaign got underway.

"I feel very disappointed on behalf of my supporters. I know they really wanted this for me," she said.

"I came onto this with all the right intentions. I knew I had a short turnaround time. It was the ride of my life, to be totally honest. I just felt so alive and so invigorated talking to people and getting back out there."

Liberal candidate Shelby Ch'ng placed third in the Thunder Bay-Superior North riding. (Logan Turner/CBC)

Vaugeois previously ran in 2018, when she finished second to Gravelle by about 800 votes. She is an adjunct professor at Lakehead University, small business owner, and has served on the board of directors for a number of community organizations.

"I have spent a lot of time talking to people in the region, talking to people in Thunder Bay and trying to get a grasp of really what people need, and how as an MPP I might be able to help bring those funds and services to the people of our region," she said.

Vaugeois mentioned funding for health care and education as some of her priorities, along with housing.

The riding includes the north side of Thunder Bay, a number of municipalities along the north shore of Lake Superior, the vast Greenstone municipality, as well as several First Nations including Ginoogaming, Aroland and Long Lake 58.