In the midst of her election victory celebration June 2, Newmarket-Aurora MPP-elect Dawn Gallagher Murphy said she believes the Progressive Conservative message resonated with voters.
The Conservatives spoke of economic recovery, critical infrastructure, bringing costs down and improving the health-care system.
But when asked about reaching out to those who supported other parties, she said she would be willing to listen — something that helped her on the campaign.
“To me, what’s important is listening to people, and I think that’s what I’ve been doing through this election, is really listening to people,” she said. “To me, what our residents want is an MPP who would sit down and who will listen to them, understand what their concerns are, and then let me take it from there.”
Congratulations came in throughout the riding as Newmarket-Aurora residents reacted to the election June 2. With all polls counted, Gallagher Murphy earned 44.9 per cent of the vote, 18,649 votes in all, 5,601 more than closest contender Liberal Dr. Sylvain Roy. She is now a member of an 83-seat majority government led by Doug Ford.
In her victory speech last night, she said she would work to support the Southlake Regional Health Centre expansion and fight against discrimination. The former private-sector entrepreneur said business would also be important to her.
“It’s important we have a thriving local economy, and I think the best way to do that is to work with our local businesses and see how we can assist,” she said.
The Newmarket Chamber of Commerce offered congratulations and said it wants to do exactly that.
“We look forward to a continued collaboration with the provincial government on the important issues facing our local businesses,” the chamber said on social media June 3.
Southlake Regional Health Centre president and CEO Arden Krystal also offered her congratulations and expressed a desire to work with the new MPP.
“Congratulations Doug Ford and the Ontario PC Party on your re-election. Together, we’ll be able to get a new Southlake built to serve our rapidly growing communities for decades to come,” Krystal said on Twitter.
Although election day was a day of celebration for some, the occasion was less joyous for opposition parties and some advocacy groups. Environmental groups opposed to the Bradford Bypass — which the Conservatives are backing, but the Liberals, Greens and NDP oppose — said many remained concerned about the project, and their advocacy efforts would continue.
“Projects that ignore science, logic, and evidence must, and will continue to be challenged. Our efforts to stop this project and implement solutions that are scientifically sound and supported by evidence will continue,” the groups said in a letter.
Better Richmond Hill executive Graham Churchill is part of a collective concerned about the pace of intensification around the future subway expansion. They put out a questionnaire during the election that no Conservatives responded to.
He said he expects conflict around the pace of development in the area, and throughout the GTA.
“It’s inevitable. Something has to give and Ford is going to push his way through,” Churchill said. “He’ll just break all the norms in roder to make it happen … We are going to be fighting for reasonable development and sane development.”
Other local parties were left to consider what comes next, but both Liberals and NDP candidates expressed hope to run again in the future. Roy also attended the Conservative headquarters June 2 to offer congratulations.
Voter turnout was down in this year’s election at 43.55 per cent, down from 57 per cent in 2018. Newmarket-Aurora’s turnout was only marginally better at 44.15 per cent, the lowest turnout since the riding's creation in 2006.
Gallagher Murphy, who is taking over from former MPP and health minister Christine Elliott, said she was not yet ready to discuss the possibility of getting a cabinet role in the new government.
But she said she wanted to thank every voter, regardless of whom they voted for.
“Whether they voted for me or not, this is the democratic process we have and I thank every individual for casting a vote,” she said. “It’s been an amazing experience, and the good work starts now.”