The contest for the Unionville (Provincial) Liberal Party candidacy is over. Markham Ward#6 councillor Amanda Yeung Collucci won the race on Sunday August 27 at the Markham Fairgrounds. Our earlier interview with her can be found here: http://chinesenewsgroup.com/news/662295
Markham Unionville is a newly remapped (2015) provincial riding with 57% of Chinese constituents. The other ethnic groups are: 21.1% White, 10.9% South Asian, 1.9% Black, 1.9% Filipino, 1.5% Arab, and 1.1% West Asian. The heritage vote factor is high and strongly favours a candidate of Chinese origin in the upcoming provincial election in 2018. As expected, only two nominees were entered into the race – the other being Sophia Sun (a financial entrepreneur).
It was clear from the start that this will be a very polarized contest divided between ethnic groups. Sophia with her mostly Mainland and Mandarin speaking followers and Amanda with the support of mostly Cantonese speaking Chinese and the rest of the ethnic votes. There were 1187 votes counted for the contest and the claimed number of signed-up Liberal members for the riding was over 6000. Both contestants were well organized and voters were seen entering the venue in well directed groupings from each camp.
杨绮清的支持者包括万锦市长斯卡皮蒂，约克区议员阿姆斯特朗（Nirmala Armstrong），Oakridges-Markham选区省议员雅各克（Helena Jaczek），以及列治文山选区省议员莫瑞迪（Reza Moridi）。孙晓明的支持者包括万锦市第二选区的市议员何胡景（Alan Ho），士嘉堡西南选区的省议员布莱尔（Bill Blair）。令人惊讶的是，这两名提名人都没有得到安省国际贸易厅长陈国治的支持，他在2014年这个新选区划出之前就是这个选区的省议员。
Amanda received endorsements from Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Nirmala Armstrong (regional Councillor), Oakridges-Markham MPP Helena Jaczek, and Richmond Hill MPP Reza Moridi. Sophia's endorsements came from Markham Ward#2 Councillor Alan Ho, and MP Bill Blair (Scarborough Southwest). It is surprising that both nominees were not endorsed by Michael Chan (Ontario Minister of International Trade) who is the incumbent in this riding in 2014 before the redistribution of its boundaries.
Since the margin of victory was not announced (and probably will never be) publicly, we cannot draw definitive conclusions out of analysis made ahead of the results. From what I can observe prior to the Nomination meeting, Sophia was focusing on many commercial and cultural groups with Mainland connections. While Councillor Ho did make a pitch for Sophia and try to make the connections to Cantonese speaking Chinese, they were not overly effective as many of the targets were well aware of the Mayor's support for Amanda. Sophia was able to garner many votes when she unsuccessfully went for the Regional Councillor position in 2014 but that format is different from this race. She did not run head-to-head with Amanda but was simply one of about 10 candidates for the voters to cast their 4 votes each.
On the other hand, Amanda picked up Cantonese speaking Chinese votes benefiting from the heritage factor. With her English fluency and strong support from both the Mayor and councillor Nirmala Armstrong, she simply cleaned up on all of the other available votes outside of the Chinese community.
So what would be the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario's response to a Chinese female candidate for the Markham Unionville riding in the next provincial election? For them, the logical answer is to find a candidate with comparable name-recognition and credentials, preferably from within the Markham City Council. I think most of the readers here can guess who this candidate may be! Many have speculated it to be Regional Councillor Joe Li.
After the Liberal nomination meeting, many residents on Facebook questioned if it is fair to have Markham councillors (Amanda and Logan Kanapathi) seeking provincial election posts before completing their municipal terms. They put their focus on Amanda as it is her first term on Council. They also feel that the candidates should resign from City Council as they will not be able to devote themselves full-time to municipal affairs while working to get elected at the provincial level.
There are no rules governing this situation at present. May be it is time to look into this scenario as it will not be the last time this will happen. Councillor Amanda advised that she will take a leave of absence from city council once the formal writ period is called for the election. As for whether she can serve her constituents with the same dedication and effectiveness throughout her term, we will have to wait and see.
The Unionville Liberal Party Candidacy is now settled. Let us check on the upcoming nomination meeting for the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario later. Unlike the Liberal nomination with only two nominees, that one is guaranteed to have multiple nominees participating in the contest!
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