NDP gain Kitchener Centre as Lindo ousts Vernile

Anyone looking for an example of the switch in support among Ontario’s progressive-minded voters during Thursday’s election could find exhibit A in Kitchener Centre.

The urban riding, which had voted for the party that went on to form government in every election for more than 30 years, sent Laura Mae Lindo to Queen’s Park as its first NDP MPP since Will Ferguson left office in 1995.

Lindo, the director of diversity and equity at Wilfrid Laurier University, replaces one-term incumbent and former CTV Kitchener broadcaster Daiene Vernile.

Lindo garnered 20,512 votes, or 43.4 per cent of all ballots cast.

“It is humbling, really," Lindo told CTV News in an interview.

“It cements for me the amount of work that needs to be done, and the power that you have when you are committed to community.”

Mary Henein Thorn of the Progressive Conservatives was in a distant second place with 13,070 votes. Vernile finished third, with 9,499.

They were followed by Stacey Danckert of the Greens at 3,234 votes, Jason Erb of the Libertarians at 439, Chris Carr of the None of the Above Party at 429 and Martin Suter of the Communists at 87.

Vernile won the riding handily in 2014, receiving 18,472 votes compared to 11,550 for her closest challenger, Wayne Wettlaufer of the PCs.