Kingston & the Islands remains a red riding

Liberal candidate Sophie Kiwala succeeds John Gerretsen as MPP, securing 19-year Liberal hold for the area

John Gerretsen, left, and Sophie Kiwala on election night.
John Gerretsen, left, and Sophie Kiwala on election night.
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After a month and a half of campaigning, Liberal candidate Sophie Kiwala has become the first new MPP for Kingston and the Islands in 19 years.

According to unofficial results from Elections Ontario, Kiwala won with 20,833 votes, or approximately 41 per cent.

NDP candidate Mary Rita Holland came in second with 14,811 votes. Progressive Conservative candidate Mark Bain received 10,645. Green Party candidate Robert Kiley received 3,561, and Freedom Party candidate Jonathan Reid received 241.

Kiwala’s victory means that Kingston will remain a Liberal riding. For the last 19 years, Kingston has been represented by Liberal MPP John Gerretsen.

Liberal Kathleen Wynne, ArtSci ’77, was re-elected as Premier. Wynne became the first female and first openly gay premier to be elected in Ontario. The Liberal party went from 48 to 58 seats in the legislature, earning a majority government. The Progressive Conservatives fell from 37 to 28 seats, and the New Democratic Party remained at 21.

Kiwala told the Journal in May that she thought the most important issues facing students were rising tuition costs and finding a job after graduation.

Ontario has the highest average undergraduate tuition fees in Canada, at $6,975 in the 2012-13 school year.

She’s now planning to meet with student groups to work on these issues.

“I’ll be setting up meetings in the fall as the students come back to school, and I would like to hear from them directly on what their ideas are on how we can best serve their needs,” she said.

She said she’ll be meeting with the Queen’s Young Liberals over the summer, and hopes to reach out to the AMS as well.

Kiwala also intends to address youth unemployment by working with the business community to encourage them to employ more students.

“I would also like to … talk to them throughout the course of the summer to see if I can encourage more of them to take student interns and co-ops,” she said.

“This has been a large part … of the discussions that I’ve had in the community during the election campaign, and I feel the mood is very receptive.”

She added that students have worked in the federal constituency office since Peter Milliken was in office, starting in 1998.

“It’s been a tremendous advantage to both our office and to the students involved. They’ve all gone on to have absolutely amazing jobs, and I think that getting something substantial like that on their resume as soon as they’re out of school is a very big advantage,” she said.

With the Liberals still in charge of the provincial government, their post-secondary policies will continue.

The Liberals are seeking to expand post-secondary education by 15,000 students, as well as launch Ontario Online, an online course hub that will offer courses from several universities and colleges.

“I think that one very significant and obvious ramification is the continuance of the 30 per cent off tuition [grant],” Kiwala said.

“I think that makes a big difference. It was one thing that students did mention to me while I was canvassing, and as we were working on this campaign I think that’s been very much appreciated.”

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