Newspaper article The Canadian Press

19-Year-Old PC Elected to Ontario Legislature; Liberals Hold Ottawa-Vanier

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

19-Year-Old PC Elected to Ontario Legislature; Liberals Hold Ottawa-Vanier

Article excerpt

Tories, Liberals hold seats in byelections

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Ontario's Liberals and Progressive Conservatives each held their own in two provincial byelections Thursday, but the Tories made history by electing the youngest ever member of the legislature.

Sam Oosterhoff, a 19-year-old Brock University student, took over 50 per cent of the vote in Niagara West-Glanbrook, a riding that had been held by former Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak since 1995.

"Today we sent a very strong message to Premier (Kathleen) Wynne: people are fed up. People have had enough of soaring hydro rates. People have had enough of cuts to health care," Oosterhoff said to cheering supporters at his campaign celebration in Grimbsy.

Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown said instead of campaigning on their record, the Liberals attacked Oosterhoff for his social conservative beliefs.

"The Liberals resorted to a smear campaign on Sam, but Sam focused on jobs. Sam focused on how we're going to get Ontario back on its feet," said Brown.

Brown had been accused of muzzling Oosterhoff after the home-schooled social conservative who lives with his parents won the party's nomination, in part by courting people opposed to the 2015 update to Ontario's sex-ed curriculum.

Brown himself had flip-flopped on the sex ed issue in a September byelection in Toronto's Scarborough-Rouge River riding, eventually saying he backs the curriculum changes. And he said Oosterhoff now supports the party's position.

But Oosterhoff repeatedly refused to say if he would try to repeal the sex-ed update if the Conservatives win the 2018 general election.

He described himself as "100 per cent pro life," but wouldn't say if he'd vote with the Conservatives to support a Liberal bill that would update the definition of families to recognize the rights of same-sex couples by using the word parent in place of father or mother. …

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