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Opposition to Sherway power plant helped Liberals retain Mississauga

Despite some backlash over the gas-fired power plant on the Mississauga-Etobicoke border that was first approved by the McGuinty government, incumbent Liberal MPP Charles Sousa easily reclaimed his riding of Mississauga South Thursday night.

Mr. Sousa took 51 per cent of votes in the riding, totalling 16,237 with all but 10 polls reporting. He was trailed by Progressive Conservative candidate Geoff Janoscik, with 11,115 votes, and the NDP's Anju Sikka, with 3,376 votes.

The win is largely thanks to Mr. Sousa's reputation in the community, including his firm opposition to the plant, which was in the works for several years before he was elected in 2007. The Liberals, however, recently changed their tune on its construction, vowing to revisit their decision.

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Mr. Janoscik, a young, Osgoode Hall-educated lawyer, had a chance to turn the night into an upset – but didn't. By the end of the night, unofficial results showed him trailing by nearly 4,000 votes.

Mr. Sousa arrived at his campaign party at 10:15 p.m. to a group of screaming teenage girls all holding his election signs. He told reporters that his efforts as a constituency politician helped him get re-elected – he said he has "a long track record of getting results of the community. It's not what was done in the last 12 days, it's what was done in the last four years."

He touted the halting of the controversial Sherway power plant – a backtrack on years of effort by his boss, Mr. McGuinty – as one of the results of his efforts to give the community what they want.

The power plant was being built near a condo development and a mall, and residents feared it would lower air quality in the area. Mr. Sousa reacted to the negative press by working harder, he said.

"I never take anything for granted," Mr. Sousa said after his win. "We always work hard on behalf of our community and our constituents, and that's what I've done. I always work, and I always manage, as if we're coming from behind."

At the Brogue Inn at Hurontario and Lakeshore, Mr. Jaroscik called it a campaign well-fought.

"We worked hard to make sure we delivered our message of change," Mr. Jaroscik told The Globe and Mail. He said that people were upset about Liberal decisions like the power plant about-face, and he worked to prove himself as an alternative. He praised his team who worked tirelessly for his campaign. "The most important thing," he said, "is that if you do everything you can, you can hold your head up high."

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At the Port Credit Memorial Arena polling station in Mississauga South, voting was slow before polls closed Thursday – Elections Ontario official Frank Midghall said about 400 people had showed up to vote by 8 p.m., down from a usual 500. "It's been fairly slow compared to normal," he said, pointing to one issue that might have held voters back: the Toronto Maple Leafs home opener.

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