Brampton East goes NDP orange with election of Gurratan Singh
Christina Zisko and Catherine Koshy
A jubilant Gurratan Singh triumphed for the New Democrats in the riding of Brampton East on Thursday night in the Ontario general election.
Entering his campaign celebration on the shoulders of his supporters, hand-in-hand with his brother, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, Gurratan Singh pumped his fists in the air to the song “God’s Plan” by rapper Drake.
Singh secured 17,606 votes or 46.85 per cent of the vote ahead of rival Sudeep Verma of the Progressive Conservatives, who received 12,631 votes or 33.61 per cent.
One of five ridings in the city of Brampton, the new Brampton East riding has a population of 122,000. This new riding was created in the 2015 redistribution, carved out of Bramalea-Gore-Malton and Brampton-Springdale ridings.
Brampton East has seen controversy throughout the campaign, piquing the interest of voters over the last few weeks.
The PCs were forced to make a last-minute switch when candidate Simmer Sandhu stepped down from the position after allegations of data theft. He worked for 407 ETR as a litigation analyst, and was accused of leaking the names, addresses and phone numbers of 60,000 motorists to other Progressive Conservative candidates.
While Sandhu adamantly denied the anonymous allegations leveled against him, he resigned from the race mere hours after 407 ETR announced it would be conducting an investigation.
In his place, the PCs appointed small business owner Verma.
On his website, Verma touted his values of “hard work, strong family, integrity and an independent entrepreneurial spirit.”
The controversy did not end there for the riding when the NDP’s Gurratan Singh, brother of federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, became the next politician caught in the spotlight.
Photos surfaced of Singh holding a sign reading “F— THE POLICE” right beside two police officers during a 2006 protest in Toronto.
Singh was quick to apologize and express regret for his actions when the photo became public.
Andrea Horwath, the leader of the Ontario NDP, defended Singh, saying he had turned his life around and went on to become a criminal lawyer, as well as campaign co-chair and strategic advisor for his brother.
On his website, Singh vowed to “fight for change for the better and bring Brampton East the leadership people need in order to access better health care, seniors care and education.”
— Scott Savard (@Scavard) June 8, 2018
.Congratulations to @GurratanSingh on becoming our new MPP for Brampton East. I look forward to working closely with you over the next four years on the issues that matter most to Bramptonians.
— Linda Jeffrey (@LindaJeffrey) June 8, 2018
Liberal candidate Parminder Singh, a medical doctor, is best known as the founder of Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi.
Singh, on his website, promised to continue working towards a better Ontario “through free tuition for 210,000 students, free prescription drug coverage for children and youth, 100,000 affordable childcare spaces, and a $15-an-hour minimum wage.”
Raquel Fronte of the Greens, a flight attendant, touted the importance of “clean, renewable energy” to which she finds “no great technological or economic barriers.”
Daniele Cerasoli of the Libertarians and Gurdeep Dhothar of the Trillium Party of Ontario were also vying for the seat.
Before the 2018 election, Bramalea-Gore-Malton elected NDP candidate Jagmeet Singh with a plurality of 5,646, or 44.32 per cent of the vote.
Brampton-Springdale consistently voted Liberal, with Harinder Malhi taking 40.06 per cent of the vote in the last election, or 3,414 more votes than the NDP runnerup.