Liberals rally behind Tony Genco

5 Nov
Liberals rally in Vaughan

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff addresses a crowd of supporters while Vaughan Liberal candidate, Tony Genco stands onstage flanked by Liberal MP's

By Joshua Freeman

Michael Ignatieff didn’t say outright a Liberal defeat in Vaughan would be a devastating blow to the Liberal Party. But looking around the room at the Woodbridge banquet hall where he stood last night, he didn’t have to. The guest list said it all at the packed rally for Vaughan’s Liberal candidate Tony Genco.

Clearly rallying the troops to give his candidate a big push out the gate, Ignatieff was joined by no fewer than a dozen elected officials, past and present, from the Liberal pantheon. They included Vaughan MPP Greg Sorbara, who introduced Genco, as well as MP’s Joe Volpe, Ruby Dhalla Judy Sgro, Ken Dryden and others. Even past Liberal reps Susan Kadis and Mario Racco turned up.

“You always know something big is happening when you’ve got a dozen MP’s and senators up here,” Ignatieff said. To cheers and music he told the audience of 250 “we must win Vaughan.”

He echoed that message after the rally, telling reporters the party is taking nothing for granted, despite having held the riding for the past 22 years.

“By-elections are always an important test of opinion,” Ignatieff said. “We don’t take anything for granted. We have to earn every single vote.”

Although mayor-elect Maurizio Bevilacqua has held the seat easily for the past two decades, his margins of victory have been declining over the last few elections. Add to that the name recognition of Conservative candidate Julian Fantino and it seems clear the Liberals will have to work hard if they want to hang on a bit longer.

To that end, Ignatieff signalled he’d be dispatching area MPs to canvas for Genco in the coming weeks, following up a day of joint campaigning with MP Justin Trudeau.

In addition to MPs, the rally was mainly attended by long-time Liberal supporters. While many of them said Genco is a new face to them, they were optimistic about his chances.

“He’s new to me. I wanted to meet him actually and see how he is,” said Tina Lore, a Woodbridge resident and longtime Liberal supporter. “I loved it.”

An older Woodbridge resident said he still holds fond memories of Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and said that while he doesn’t approve of the Liberals’ support of gay marriage, he’ll still vote for Genco.

A large number of Liberal supporters from outside Vaughan also expressed optimism about the race.

“I think this by-election is going to be a referendum not only for the people of Vaughan but on Conservative policies. The Liberal party’s not going down without a fight,” said one young man from outside Vaughan.

During the speeches Ignatieff and Genco said they’d focus on issues like post-secondary education as opposed to military spending if elected.

Click here to read a full interview with Tony Genco from earlier this week.


8 Responses to “Liberals rally behind Tony Genco”

  1. Ron November 5, 2010 at 6:24 PM #

    The Liberal Party is saying the number at the rally was 1,200 ( )

    Why the discrepancy in numbers?

    • vaughanelection November 5, 2010 at 6:56 PM #

      Hi Ron
      Great question! People came and went throughout the night, so maybe numbers were different at different times. But I called Supreme Banquet Hall. The gal on the phone says the room could fit between 500 and 600 max., depending on how it was set up (but she wasn’t working last night).
      So maybe we low-balled. But as the gal on the phone said “Oh, people always exaggerate that.”
      Hope that helps.

      • Joseph U November 5, 2010 at 8:21 PM #

        I was there and my modest estimate of attendance at the height of the rally (Tony Genco’s speech) was over 800. I have some pictures on my Flickr account but they were taken in the front of the crowd. No matter what the turnout the crowd was electric. I have seen Mr. Ignatieff speak 6 times live and this was the best speech I have seen him give, to date.

        – JU

      • Ron November 5, 2010 at 9:33 PM #

        The room holds 500 – 600 max but we get numbers like 1,200, and in the comments 800.

        So unless fire regulations were blatantly broken, which I doubt, something doesn’t add up

        Any pictures of the crowd?

      • vaughanelection November 6, 2010 at 6:02 PM #

        Reporter JF took some pics but I didn’t get a chance to look at them Friday. Will take a look Monday to see if there’s any crowd ones. It’s so hard to estimate these things!


  1. By-Election Riding Check-In « Pundits' Guide to Canadian Federal Elections - November 6, 2010

    […] Vaughan, there were competing crowd counts for the Ignatieff-Genco rally on Thursday night.  Vaughan Today: 250. 1,200. Young Liberal Joseph Uranowski on Twitter: >800. The Supreme Banquet […]

  2. Stephen Taylor – a blog on Canadian politics » Tony Genco’s Greatest Hits - November 8, 2010

    […] Today reports on Michael Ignatieff’s comments in Vaughan, “You always know something big is happening when you’ve got a dozen MP’s and […]

  3. Tony Genco’s Greatest Hits - November 16, 2010

    […] Today reports on Michael Ignatieff’s comments in Vaughan, “You always know something big is happening when you’ve got a dozen MP’s and […]

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