In a region that seldom sees surprises on election night, Chandra Pasma and the NDP delivered a big one in Ottawa West-Nepean— one that was four years in the making.
Pasma defeated Progressive Conservative Jeremy Roberts by almost 900 votes to score a surprise win for the New Democrats and join reelected Ottawa Centre MPP Joel Harden as part of the official opposition.
"It feels amazing, we are celebrating a huge accomplishment tonight, it was a lot of work and a lot of persistence but it really paid off," Pasma said from her election party Thursday night at the Barley Mow on Merivale Road.
Four years ago she lost to Roberts by just 175 votes, something she said provided a "spark of hope and confidence."
"We worked hard to build on that with patience and persistence over a four-year period," she said.
PCs hold in other ridings
In the first Ontario election since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the electoral map in and around the nation's capital had relatively few other changes.
After more than two years of uncertainty and concern, most voters decided to stick with the politicians and parties they elected in 2018.
Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservatives increased their majority at Queen's Park and held on to their other seats in Ottawa.
In Kanata-Carleton, Merrilee Fullerton was reelected. Goldie Ghamari, in Carleton, also held on to her seat and already knows what she wants to focus on when she heads back to the legislature.
"I want to see more schools built, more infrastructure. To continue being a strong voice for the people of Carleton," said Ghamari at her victory party at the Manotick Legion.
Lisa MacLeod, an MPP for the past 16 years and part of Ford's cabinet, was reelected in Nepean. But MacLeod, who has faced criticism from her own party leader over a housing allowance she received from her riding association, wouldn't let media in to hear her acceptance speech.
NDP looking for new leadership
Pasma joins Joel Harden as representatives of the NDP, but they'll do so without the party's leader, Andrea Horwath, who announced her resignation on Thursday night.
"I want to congratulate Andrea on leading us four times into four election campaigns," said Harden."I think we need a change in leadership. I do."
Pasma said she'll advocate for issues she heard while campaigning.
"Housing and affordability," said Pasma. "The NDP had a really strong platform on those two issues."
Liberals pick up win in Kingston
Liberal incumbents Stephen Blais in Orléans, John Fraser in Ottawa South, and Lucille Collard in Ottawa-Vanier all held on to their seats, but their party leader Steven Del Duca was the second of the night to resign.
"It's not what we were hoping for. It's not the message we were getting from Ontarians. So again, we have to figure out what happened, why it happened and how we move forward," said Collard.
Ted Hsu, who left federal politics as MP of Kingston and the Islands in 2014, has been elected MPP for the riding, which has previously been held by Ian Arthur of the NDP.
PCs gain two seats, two new members
In Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, controversial, independent MPP Randy Hillier didn't seek reelection and will be replaced by the Progressive Conservative's John Jordan.
And Stéphane Sarrazin won back the riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell from Liberal Amanda Simard. She had run and won as a PC candidate in the 2018 election, but later that year left the party and joined the Liberals.
"I think people wanted somebody with a strong voice in Toronto and that's what I had to offer," said Sarrazin after his win. "It wasn't easy for the Ford government with the COVID and everything that went on, they needed another four years to show what they can do."
Three long-time Progressive Conservative MPPs kept their seats in other parts of eastern Ontario.
Steve Clark, representing Leeds-Grenville Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes and a cabinet minister under Doug Ford, kept his seat, as did John Yakabuski, reelected in Renfrew-Nippissing-Pembroke. Todd Smith in the Bay of Quinte will soon begin his fourth term in office.
Two newly elected members will continue to represent the PCs: Nolan Quinn takes over in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry and Ric Bresee will take a seat in Hastings-Lennox-Addington.