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'We gave it our best': Liberal Roy concedes Newmarket-Aurora

UPDATE: What happened, where do the Liberals go from here? Former local MPP reflects on tonight's results

Update, 11:40 p.m. 

Steven Del Duca has resigned as Liberal party leader after losing in his home riding in Vaughan-Woodbridge. 

Newmarket resident and former Liberal MPP Charles Beer, who was at The Lion Pub and Grill supporting Roy, said the party needs to take some time to regroup and plan ahead. 

“There’s going to be another four years of the Conservatives, so there’s no rush,” he said. 

He said there are a number of candidates who could be promising moving forward, including the current house leader John Fraser. 

“It would be good to see if there’s some new blood there,” Beer said. 

Before the party can think about a new leader, he said they need to talk about policy. 

“We should just take our time,” he said. “I think we need to get beyond this election and be thinking about what are the issues down the road.” 

On the regional level, Beer said there may not have been the level of campaign required for the Liberal candidates to secure more seats. 

“In York Region, you need a strong central campaign to help. For a variety of reasons, it just didn’t happen,” Beer said. 

Cathy Gapp, president of the Newmarket-Aurora Liberal Provincial Riding Association, said part of the problem was people didn't know Del Duca well enough. 

“People don’t know our leader and if they don’t know our leader they didn’t know to look for what our policies were,” she said. 

For the party to move forward, she agreed that the focus needs to be on the issues. 

“I think the party needs to decide quickly what it stands for, what policies it wants to promote and spend the next four years promoting them,” Gapp said. 

While the local result was disappointing, she said this riding has voted Liberal before and with the right people, could do so again. 

“If we have a strong charismatic leader with good policies, we’ll vote Liberal again,” she said. 

Former Newmarket mayor Tom Taylor was among Roy's supporters on election night. He and his wife had both worked on the campaign; putting up signs, canvassing, and doing some fundraising. 

When asked if Roy was a good fit for the Newmarket community, he said, “Very good, without hesitation. He’s a doctor, a married man with three children, an extremely hard worker, and an ethical man. Yes, I have no reservations." 

He said if Roy had spent more time in the riding, it might have been a different story. 

“In this riding, Sylvain made some gains over last time. If they were here longer, I think those gains would be more significant,” Taylor said. 

Despite the results, everyone who worked on the campaign shared the same sense that they wouldn't do anything differently. Many, including Roy himself, said they hope to see him run again in the future and said they think he is an excellent candidate. 

*****

Newmarket-Aurora Liberal candidate Dr. Sylvain Roy is keeping spirits high despite his loss tonight. 

“The people spoke and we will respect that. It’s a democracy and we gave it all the best. I want to congratulate (Conservative) Dawn (Gallagher Murphy) for her win tonight,” he said. “She’s got big shoes to fill at this time being a new elected representative and I wish her the best." 

He also offered congratulations to Doug Ford as a Progressive Conservative majority government was called. 

Roy said while it was not the result they were hoping for, he will keep advocating for better health care, better education, and better seniors care. 

This was his first run for office and already he is looking ahead to the next one and seeing what he can learn from this campaign. 

“At the end of the day, we gave it our best and most of us will be back in a few years and again we’ll learn from some of those experiences and do better,” he said. 

He spoke to a crowd of supporters gathered at the Lion Pub and Grill in Newmarket. Despite the result, spirits are high in the room with supporters reminiscing and socializing. 

Co-campaign manager and former Liberal MPP from Kingston Sophie Kiwala said everyone is still happy because “we have an absolutely fantastic candidate.”

She said there are political tides, something she experienced first hand when she was voted in 2014 and then swept out in 2018. 

“There are certain things that happen in politics that you can’t affect as an individual person but in terms of the campaign itself, as Sylvain said I also would not have done anything differently,” Kiwala said. “I think the campaign itself went really well. We had some absolutely fantastic people." 

One of those volunteers was Nicole Gaudet, a retired teacher who worked in the campaign office and did a lot of phone canvassing. She estimates that she made around 300 phone calls in the course of the campaign. 

“We gave it our all. We worked all day everyday, we worked at night,” she said. 

While Gaudet is feeling disappointed by the result she said she doesn't think this is the end for Roy. 

“I believe he can go places. He is going to come back,” she said. 

Roy was announced as the provincial party's candidate on Feb. 10, after the other potential candidate Shameela Shakeel was ousted during the vetting process. 

As a neuropsychologist, mental health services were an important issue for Roy. 

“I am seeing a massive uptick on need, and those services are not always available,” he said. “On a mental health front, it is really assessing the workforce and key populations like our children, and deciding on a plan of action to help them cope and recover from this pandemic." 

He told NewmarketToday the most pressing issue in this election is affordability, specifically the cost of food fuel and housing. 

Autism is another provincial file that means a lot to Roy. He is married with three young children, one of whom has autism, meaning he has seen first hand how changes to the program impact families. 

As occurred in ridings across the province, Conservative Gallagher Murphy — former constituency manager for MPP and health minister Christine Elliott who announced she wouldn't be running for re-election in the riding —  took an early lead in the race.

With 46 of 60 polls reported at about 10:30 p.m., Gallagher Murphy led with 45.2 per cent of the vote, followed by Liberal Roy at 30.5 per cent, NDP Denis Heng at 12.9 per cent, Green Carolina Rodriguez at 5.8 per cent, New Blue Iwona Czarnecka at 3.8 per cent, Ontario Krista McKenzie at 1.3 per cent, and Ontario Moderate at 0.4 per cent.