Year in Review: Federal election brought surprises; NDP’s MacGregor takes local seat

The entire country has experienced a profound change following November's federal election, with it's surprising result.

The entire country has experienced a profound change following November’s federal election, with it’s surprising result of majority rule for the Liberals.

It was certainly not what anyone would have predicted when 2015 began and the local riding associations began to choose their representatives.

Early out of the gate were Alistair MacGregor for the NDP, Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi for the Green Party and Maria Manna for the Liberals.

As the months wore on and the local Conservatives were silent about declaring a candidate speculation was rampant that they were looking to parachute in a star candidate, and eyebrows were raised when the writ was officially dropped in early August — heralding the longest campaign in Canada since 1872 — and the new riding of Cowichan-Malahat-Langford remained without a Conservative candidate.

Eventually, Duncan’s Martin Barker joined the race on the Conservative ticket, and Alastair Haythornthwaite rounded out the list of candidates, running for the Marxist-Leninist Party.

But the drama wasn’t finished.

Social media histories proved to be the downfall of a number of hopefuls across the country, as previous comments on a variety of issues had resignations flying. Among that number was the local riding’s Manna, who dropped out at the 11th hour over old posts where she questioned the legitimacy of the official account what brought down the twin towers in New York on 9/11.

She was replaced by Luke Krayenhoff, whose party wound up with the most to celebrate on election night.

“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.”

Barker expressed the surprise of many at the strong Liberal showing, even locally, where the party has not fared particularly well in the past.

“I believe it was this red tsunami that washed over us. We never foresaw our Conservative support going so thoroughly to the Liberals,” Barker said on election night.

Hunt-Jinnouchi expressed disappointment in what she saw as a desperation to remove Stephen Harper from office that effectively shut out her smaller party as people moved to vote strategically.

“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.

Though the NDP were disappointed with their showing nationally, it was all smiles for new NDP member of parliament MacGregor.

“The people of Cowichan-Malahat-Langford have sent a clear message tonight,” MacGregor said on Oct. 19. “You voted for change! Rejecting the politics of fear and division, you voted for a better and more inclusive Canada. And that was a good thing.”

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