Eli Ridder | Report
In Thursday’s sweep of the province that brought Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservative Party to power there were two University of Guelph-Humber alumni that won seats in the Ontario’s legislature.
Suze Morrison of the New Democratic Party and Kaleed Rasheed of the PCs won in the ridings of Toronto Centre and Mississauga East-Cooksville, respectively, in races significant to their parties.
Ms. Morrison, who graduated Guelph-Humber’s Media Studies program with a specification in public relations, swept her Toronto riding with a strong majority of 54 per cent, over twice the support of the runner-up Liberal Party candidate David Morris.
Kaleed is a 2009 university graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration, and won his riding in a tight race where he beat out the Liberal candidate by just over 10 per cent but failed to take a majority of the ballots.
A third Guelph-Humber graduate, Simmer Sandhu, who was part of the inaugural class of the business program, won the nomination of the hotly contested Brampton East, but resigned from the race on May 17 citing anonymous allegations after his employer announced an investigation into a data breach.
Mr. Sandhu, who graduated Guelph-Humber as part of its inaugural business class, won the nomination in December to run for the PC Party in Brampton East and is featured on the university’s website as a notable alumnus.
In a statement posted via social media, Sandhu said he had “recently been made aware of allegations anonymously made against me pertaining to both my work life and my nomination campaign,” calling the accusations “totally baseless”.
Sandhu made clear that he would “vigorously defend” himself and he is confident he will be found not guilty, without going into detail into exactly what the allegations are.
“However, I feel it is impossible for me to continue as PC candidate in Brampton East while doing so,” explaining that he didn’t want to take attention away from the efforts of the Progressive Conservative campaign.
Sandhu worked for nine years at 407 Express Toll Route as a team leader for collections litigation, the company that owns a toll road through the Greater Toronto Area.
The former PC candidate was invited to attend The Panel, a provincial party debate hosted by The Avro Post on Mar. 23 on Humber College’s North Campus but declined to show due to a last minute “scheduling conflict” despite confirming attendance weeks previous.
The Avro Post has reached out to both winning candidates in requests for further comment.
Ellis loses race
Justice Studies head Dr. Gary Ellis ran for the Tories in Scarborough Southwest where he placed a distant second-place to the New Democrat MPP-designate Doly Begum but garnered 13,592 ballots in favour.
Dr. Ellis was appointed in a last-minute string of candidates chosen by now Premier-designate Doug Ford in late April, an action that is usually taken to fill slots where there was no nomination or there was contention.
The department head started his employment at Guelph-Humber in September of 2010 and ran in a previous election as a PC candidate in 2011, where he came a distant second behind Scarborough-Guildwood’s Liberal candidate.
Ellis told The Avro Post in a statement on Friday that, despite his loss, he ran a positive campaign and engaged in a democratic process “envied by people around the world”, and that he was supportive of his party’s win.
“I support our new premier and his strong team of elected members,” he wrote, saying that he believes “the new Ontario government will serve all of us to improve our lives now, and into the future.”
When asked if his campaign experience would help him as an educator, Ellis said that he finds “lived experience [to be] the greatest teacher.”
“Running in this election has given me experience on many levels that will help me as an educator. The whole experience is like completing a graduate degree with deep learnings in many areas. ”
The former candidate added that “we take for granted our country and it’s freedoms.”
“The campaign demonstrated to me how truly fortunate we are to openly discuss differences and then allow the people to make their decisions in a peaceful way.”
Ellis said he will be returning to role at the university next week, after taking a leave-of-asbsense typical for those running in political campaigns.
More coverage to follow. Images of candidates from multiple files.