Beaches—East York has a new Member of Provincial Parliament, and she’s a Beacher.
Rima Berns-McGown, who has lived in the area with her family for 25 years, was left speechless by the cheers and applause by her supporters, volunteers and staff who were gathered at the Firkin on Danforth to watch the election results roll in on several big-screen TVs. She was ready to talk to Beach Metro News about her win shortly thereafter, touching on her concerns about housing, healthcare, education, childcare, eldercare, energy and transportation. Although the newly elected MPP has no previous political experience, she has a long history of working with people, for the people.
“I’m really excited. I’ve never done this before, but I’ve certainly had a lifetime of standing up for people and standing up for human rights and people who need change—I’m excited to put ideas into action,” she said.
After her win, Berns-McGown says she felt exhilarated and grateful for her team of volunteers and supporters because “it does take a village” to go through an election like this.
Ryan Singh, a volunteer for the Berns-McGown campaign and a friend for 12 years, said her win was a true reflection of how the neighbourhood and the province needs and deserves change.
“She’s incredibly empathetic and human. People resonate with her and I wanted people of this riding to believe in her and see her the way I see her. The results prove that they do, and they were ready for change,” said Singh.
The Progressive Conservatives took the lead early in the evening with Ford Nation sweeping areas north of the city and knocking the Liberals out of official party status. Berns-McGown’s win was a community success and attendees at Firkin on Danforth were happy to send a New Democrat to Queen’s Park.
“I will continue to fight for what’s important to me and continue to build momentum. We will work with the Progressive folks who win and we will fight against any legislative change that will harm people,” she said.
Born in South Africa, Berns-McGown holds a PhD in international politics. She was a professor at the University of Toronto, Mississauga, teaching diaspora studies, and later entered the Institute of Corporate Directors’ Director Education Program to work with its board and senior management team to help rid organizations of systemic racism and oppression.
Other area winners included Peter Tabuns, who has been serving the community since 2006. Tabuns was re-elected in his riding of Toronto—Danforth.
Doly Begum, who took the Scarborough Southwest region, also made history on Thursday evening as the NDP candidate won the riding and the honour of being the first Canadian citizen from Bangladesh to win in the election according to The Daily Star.