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Look out, Mike Harris. The NDP just got a whole lot stronger in the Ontario Legislature after CUPE National Executive Board member Blain Morin won a by-election on Thursday.

Brother Morin, Regional Vice President for Northern Ontario, captured more than 40 per cent of the vote in the Sudbury-area riding of Nickel Belt. His victory is the ninth straight NDP win in the riding and ensures working men and women have another friend at Queen’s Park.

“I won because of the 460,000 CUPE members across Canada who gave me the issues people care about - health care, education, good municipal services and, most of all, jobs,” said Brother Morin. “We ran on CUPE issues and it was a natural fit.”

He also said it’s clear only one party truly opposes the Harris agenda, calling the Tories and Liberals in Ontario “Blue and Blue Light.” Brother Morin said the attack on Ontario’s health care system, the mess in education and workers’ compensation are in keeping with the Liberal plan presented in the last provincial election. At one all-candidates’ debate, he read from the Liberal platform and the audience thought he was talking about Mike Harris.

Ontario NDP Leader Howard Hampton was with Brother Morin for his celebration last night and said it’s a taste of things to come as Ontarians realize the Liberals share the Harris agenda.

This isn’t entirely a good news story, though. As a result of his election, Brother Morin will be leaving the NEB, “something I cherished and really hate to give up.”

National President Judy Darcy sent CUPE’s congratulations to Brother Morin, saying that the NEB will miss him too, but that she knows he’ll be fighting for CUPE members at Queen’s Park in Toronto.