Sam Oosterhoff is now a well known name; the 19-year-old, Progressive Conservative candidate, has become the youngest person elected to the Ontario legislature. He celebrated his victory this past Thursday night with PC Leader Patrick Brown at the Casablanca Inn.
The devout Christian is known for his controversial social conservative views on the sex ed curriculum and for being vehemently pro-life. He captured nearly 54 per cent of voters, which amounted to 17,000 votes.
Brown says the Liberals resorted to a “smear campaign” against Oosterhoff throughout the by-election, but said he focused on the betterment of the province. “Sam focused on how to get Ontario back on its feet.”
New Democrat and former Hamilton police officer Mike Thomas of Binbrook came in second, with about 25 per cent, or 7,800, of the votes cast.
Liberal candidate and Hamilton lawyer Vicky Ringuette of Binbrook finished in far-away third. She had about 15 per cent, or 4,700, of the votes cast.
After former PC leader Tim Hudak stepped down, the riding, traditionally a conservative stronghold, was suddenly made vacant. Many believed the riding was open to competition, citing Oosterhoff’s young age and his opposition to abortion and the new sex ed curriculum. The Liberal government made sure to make it an issue by raising concerns about his views and the fact that he wouldn’t answer simple yes or no questions.
“Today we’ve sent a strong message to Kathleen Wynne that people are fed up…” Oosterhoff said in his victory speech. “People are fed up. People have had enough of soaring hydro rates. People have had enough of cuts to health care…”
Oosterhoff added his thanks and praise for the trust that the community has put into him. “When we work together we can make better a reality.”
The Conservatives had been convinced voter anger over the soaring prices of electricity would cost the Liberals in Ottawa-Vanier, however, the Liberals managed to hold onto that riding. The Liberals were never in danger of losing the riding they’ve represented since 1971.
The Brock University student confirmed that he intends to resume his studies in political science starting January on a part-time basis, while continuing to perform his duties to his constituents full-time.
Elections Ontario said Thursday night that there were 102,219 registered voters on the list for Niagara West-Glanbrook. The voter turnout was only about 30 per cent. In Ottawa-Vanier, there were 83,137 registered voters and the turnout was about 28 per cent.
-Loredana Del Bello, Assistant News Editor