When stalwarts like Yasmin Ratansi can lost in Don Valley East, no Liberal riding was safe in the GTA. Yet, Scarborough Rouge-River was one riding Liberals could have held on. Instead, the Liberal candidate Rana Sarkar lost to NDP's Rathika Sitsabaiesan (18,856 votes and 40.5 per cent support). In fact, he came third, with Conservative Marlene Gallyot placing second (source: The Star).
Having grown up there, and knowing many of the families through sports and recreational meets, here's why I think the Liberals lost.
1. Well known and liked MP Derek Lee was standing down, so there was no incumbency factor.
2. Rana Sarkar was relatively unknown; in fact I am told he lives downtown (so was not even a resident of the area). Rathika Sitsabaiesan was someone who lives in the area and was involved in activism (she was involved in the University of Toronto student council).
3. Rana Sarkar was an Indian-Candian in a riding that has a huge Tamil population. In fact, I felt someone else, preferably a Tamil candidate, should have taken Derek Lee's position. My choice would have been Shamoon Poonawala, someone close to Derek Lee's campaign, and also a Tamil. In fact, I was surprised Neethan Shan, who ran a credible municipal candidate, was also not tapped (even though he leans NDP).
Lesson for the Liberals - local candidates matter.