Like in any race, there can really only be one victor, and while all the candidates worked tirelessly to represent their party platforms, only one MP could be elected.
With NDP Alistair MacGregor taking the winner’s mantle this time around it leaves Liberal Luke Krayenhoff, Conservative Martin Barker, Green Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi on the sidelines.
For much of election night second place swung between Krayenhoff, whose party swept to a majority government in Ottawa, and Barker, who saw his party pushed from power.
“There were a few Conservative ships dashed upon Liberal shores tonight, and ours was one of them,” said Barker at his headquarters in Duncan where a small crowd had gathered to watch the results roll in.
“Congratulations to Justin Trudeau,” Barker said. “They ran a good campaign and the people have spoken.”
“We really did well. I believe it was this red tsunami that washed over us. We never foresaw our Conservative support going so thoroughly to the Liberals.”
Conservative leader Stephen Harper had said before voting day that should his party lose he would step down as party leader. On election night party president John Walsh released a short statement saying Harper has instructed him to reach out to the elected caucus with the goal of naming an interim leader, though Harper himself made no immediate announcement about his future Monday night.
Barker said he was also surprised by the local results.
“The result here surprised me, not in the NDP victory, but in the numbers themselves. The Liberal tide that washed over Canada also washed over Cowichan-Malahat-Langford.”
He took the time to acknowledge all of his competitors for the local seat. “My heart goes out to Luke, Fran and the other Alastair, [Haythornthwaite] because I know what goes into it,” Barker said.
Krayenhoff, who came into the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford race at the last moment following the resignation of Maria Manna, gave kudos to winner MacGregor. Krayenhoff noted, however, the Liberals made an impact in a short time.
“The Liberals have made a strong showing in this riding,” he said.
“We’ve got everything to be proud of,” Krayenhoff said.
Of his party’s national accomplishment, he added, “We had no idea it would be such a strong success. We’re just over the moon.”
While the pre-election polls hinted at the Liberals forming at least a minority government, he downplayed their importance.
Among the changes he said the Liberals plan on implementing is a change from the first-past-the-post system that essentially gives Western voters little chance on affecting the overall result.
“We’re going to look at all options, but we want one where people can just vote on principle more than being so strategic all the time.”
In fourth place Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi picked up a respectable vote tally with more than 10,000 marking their ballots for the Green candidate.
Alastair Haythornthwaite of the Marxist-Leninist Party was well behind with less than 300 votes total.
Hunt-Jinnouchi felt good about her own campaign and the people she was able to reach.
“I actually feel very proud of my team and how they were able to mobilize and get out our message of hope and standing up for the environment in a way that got people listening and starting to get involved,” she said. “My canvassing coordinator is only 18. I had people on my team that had never voted before. It was inspiring to see what we did accomplish.”
Nationally was another story.
“It’s very disappointing because we are at such a crucial time in Canadian history, to bring a Green perspective and voice to making decisions that are going to impact our future,” Hunt-Jinnouchi explained.
The way the campaign played out was less than ideal, with a “story of fear” leading to a “heave Steve” mentality and strategic voting, which may have affected the outcome for the Green Party.
“When I look at what’s happened, I feel that Mr. Trudeau ran a sincere campaign and people saw through the fear-mongering,” she concluded.
Haythornthwaite, too, noted the strategic vote.
“The election results show Canadians were fed up with Stephen Harper and voted tactically to deny him another mandate,” he said. “The Liberals were the beneficiaries of the swing vote because their platform reflected Canadians’ dislike of austerity. The NDP hoped to appear the safe choice by promoting balanced budgets but people support the Liberal idea of infrastructure improvements.”
For Haythornthwaite, personally, it was an exercise in democracy.
“I am pleased I was able to add another dimension to our election process and speak out for democratic renewal, something all Canadians can embrace,” he said. “All the candidates in Cowichan-Malahat-Langford represented their parties well and I congratulate them on their successes.”
With files from Don Descoteau, Goldstream Gazette