Spadina Fort York election results might be the most bizarre in all of Canada
Though polls closed at 9:30 p.m. Monday, there were three Toronto ridings that were so close that they could still flip by Tuesday morning, including Ward 10—Spadina-Fort York, which is extra contentious this year.
The large, oddly-shaped downtown constituency spans from the islands in the south to as far as Dundas Street in the north, its boundary running down Bay and across the Esplanade to the DVP in the east, and as far as up Dufferin, across the GO Transit Railway and up Dovercourt in the west.
Though tenured Liberal MP Adam Vaughan has represented the ward for seven years, he announced last month that he would not be seeking re-election, leaving the community wondering who would take his place.
In came Kevin Vuong, a military officer who chairs multiple community boards and has participated in global summits representing Canada. Unfortunately, it was also revealed in recent days that he has a sexual assault charge in his past, which was just dropped in 2019.
Step down. Sexual assault is never tolerated and as a MP you represent a community. There shouldn’t be anyone that votes for you. Rape and sexual assault is traumatizing and you owe it to the victims to step down and do the right thing!— KranTrain (@KrainTrain) September 17, 2021
Though Vuong has asserted that the allegations are false, they are obvious cause for concern, and led the Liberals to ask Vuong to put his campaign on pause as they reviewed the claims, which were somehow brand new news to them. He is also under review by the Canadian Armed Forces over the matter.
The party dropped Vuong on Sept. 18, meaning that if elected — which it appears at this point he has been — he will not be a member of the Liberal caucus, and will sit as an independent. With the dropped charge only coming to light mid-September, it was far too late to have the candidate's name removed from the ballot.
Understandably, the situation has left many voters angry and beyond confused: how did the Liberals not vet the candidate well enough to uncover such an allegation so recent in his past, and how was he able to win when he is no longer affiliated with the party?
Many are unsure what this will mean for the riding and for Vuong, who notably still has "@Liberal_Party candidate in Spadina-Fort York" in his social media bios, though his dedicated page on the party's website has been taken down.
Not that many votes counted but it looks like Kevin Vuong, the guy who asked to stop campaigning as Liberals candidate after dropped sexual assault charge resurfaced, leads in Spadina-Fort York.— 翠花, 上酸菜! (@stevenzzhou) September 21, 2021
Not sure what happens if he actually wins it. #elxn44vote
On top of the withdrawn assault allegation, which Vuong said he fought vehemently against and which the complainant determined she "didn't have the energy" to further pursue at trial, he is also involved in a $1.5 million lawsuit that claims he unfairly cut his female business partner out of a mask-making company after a handshake deal that ensured she would be considered a founder and partner.
Though Vuong had a lead of approximately 1,300 votes over NDP candidate Norm Di Pasquale as of 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, there are still mail-in votes and one remaining poll (of 129) to be taken into account.
He currently has 37.9 per cent of the vote (vs. Di Pasquale's 35 per cent), with 99.22 per cent of polls counted. This is compared to Vaughan's 55 per cent sweep last election.
And folks in Spadina-Fort York are still in line hours after the polls closed in Ontario.— Rob Gillezeau (@robgillezeau) September 21, 2021
Imagine if the margin in this race with Kevin Vuong, whose sexual assault charge came to light so late in the campaign, wins the day by a small margin.
Voters in the riding were, like many in the GTA, lined up for hours after polls closed last night.
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