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Updated: Fri, 02 Aug 2013 12:17:45 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Ontario opposition leaders trumpet wins after byelections

Ontario opposition leaders trumpet wins after byelections

Ontario's NDP and Progressive Conservative leaders both claimed last night's provincial byelections were a success, a day after the parties took three of five ridings from the ruling Liberals.

- Complete byelection coverage and results

The NDP, led by Andrea Horwath, took two of five seats up for grabs that were all previously held by Liberals.

The Progressive Conservatives, headed by Tim Hudak, earned their first win in Toronto since 1999.

In a Thursday morning news conference, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said she would be surprised if the Liberal minority government makes it to the scheduled end of its mandate in 2015.

At the same time, she was coy about whether she would bring the government down, saying the party would take it a day at a time.

She said she was "over the moon" about the results — victories for Percy Hatfield in Windsor-Tecumseh and Peggy Sattler in London West.

It was a bad night for the Liberals, she said.

“They went from five very strong seats that were held by high-profile cabinet ministers to barely holding on to two seats."

'We broke through'

Hudak trumpeted the win of Conservative candidate Doug Holyday in Etobicoke-Lakeshore as the Conservatives first win in Toronto since 1999.

"We broke through…We’re going to take more Toronto and GTA seats," said Hudak, who spoke Thursday morning with Holyday by his side.

Pressed by the assembled media about winning only one seat, Hudak repeatedly noted that the Conservatives received the most votes across both Ontario and Toronto in both byelections.

He congratulated the NDP, but characterized their support as a union-supported protest vote that won't work as well in a full general election.

Holyday said he wouldn't have run for the Tories if he didn't think Hudak is the right leader, and blamed losses in Ottawa South and London West on the Liberals' calling a byelection in the middle of the summer.

The Liberals held onto two seats.

Mitzie Hunter kept the Toronto-area riding of Scarborough-Guildwood in Liberal hands and John Fraser will succeed former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty in Ottawa South.

Deputy Premier Deb Matthews conceded that the scandal surrounding the costly cancellation of two Ontario gas plants had taken its toll.

"I think people sent us a message loud and clear that they expect better," Matthews told CBC News on Thursday morning.

Wynne is expected to speak to the media at 11:45 a.m. ET.

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