NORTH DURHAM: As the red wave of change swept the across the country last night leading the Liberals to a majority government, local voters opted to reelect incumbent Conservative MP Erin O’Toole.
After a marathon campaign stretched over 78 days, on Monday, Oct. 19, voters chose to send Mr. O’Toole back to Ottawa, where he most recently served as Minister of Veterans Affairs under Stephen Harper. With the Conservatives now forming the official opposition, Mr. O’Toole told The Standard that he is looking forward to his new role in the House of Commons.
“The opposition is there to hold the government accountable,” commented Mr. O’Toole. “I will be there as an MP to make sure change doesn’t mean setting Canada back and ensure that we can keep Canada moving forward. Canadians have spoken. They wanted change, and I only hope some of the enormous economic progress we’ve made is not part of that change.”
More than 68 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot in Durham, with Mr. O’Toole winning with slightly more than 45 per cent of the vote, ahead of Liberal challenger Corinna Traill with 35.7 per cent. Rounding
out the field in Durham was NDP hopeful Derek Spence (16 per cent), Green Party candidate Stacey
Leadbetter (2.6 per cent) and Andrew Moriarty of the Christian Heritage Party (0.6 per cent).
Speaking before a boisterous crowd of supporters at the Clarington Older Adults Association in Bowmanville, Mr. O’Toole credited his win to the work of his dedicated team of volunteers, and vowed to continue working to provide the best representation of local residents in Ottawa.
“It was your hard work over 78 days and your faith in me that allows us to celebrate here tonight, when many of my colleagues are not,” added Mr. O’Toole. “I’ll continue to take an active role in the community, just as I did before I was in office. It’s important to have roots and an amazing team, which was evident tonight.”
Elsewhere in North Durham, Uxbridge residents will now be represented by a Liberal MP, with former Pickering Regional Councillor Jennifer O’Connell claiming victory in the newly formed riding of Pickering-Uxbridge.
With more than 67 per cent of voters in the riding casting a ballot, Ms. O’Connell earned just over 50 per cent of the vote, as she bested incumbent Conservative MP Corneliu Chisu, who finished second with 38.2 per cent of votes cast, Pamela Downward finished in third place for the NDP with 9.2 per cent and Anthony Navarro of the Green Party rounded out the contenders with 2.3 per cent.
To the north, the riding of Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock will remain in Conservative hands, with Jamie Schmale heading to Ottawa, replacing the man who he once served as campaign manager, outgoing Conservative MP Barry Devolin.
Mr. Schmale was swept into office with nearly 45 per cent of the vote, as close to 68 per cent of those eligible in the riding cast a ballot. Former Brock Township Councillor David Marquis finished second under the Liberal banner with 31.7 per cent of the vote, third place saw 19.5 per cent of ballots cast in support of NDP candidate Mike Perry and Bill MacCallum finished fourth, taking 4 per cent of the votes for the Green Party.
Mr. Schmale told The Standard that the opportunity to represent the area in the House of Commons is his “dream job” and added that he is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that will come with being part of the opposition.
“We will be a strong opposition and hold the Liberals to account. They promised increased infrastructure spending, and I’m going to be working hard over the next four years to make sure that as much as possible comes to this area.”
There was a huge jump in voter turnout across the country, with more than 68 per cent of eligible Canadians casting a ballot, an increase of more than 7 per cent compared to the previous election in 2011. Monday’s election saw the highest turnout since 1993, when coincidentally, the Liberals replaced an incumbent Tory government.