Conservatives sweep local ridings | The Woodstock Sentinel Review

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Three area Conservatives won their ridings in Monday’s federal election averaging 48.3 per cent of the counted ballots.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hung onto power on Monday, saying the Liberals had won a clear mandate to govern although he fell short of his goal for a majority win.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, whose party placed second, conceded defeat as results trickled in late into the night.

Trudeau spoke to supporters shortly after, pledging to work with other parties for the good of all Canadians.

“You are sending us back to work with a clear mandate to get Canada through this pandemic and to the brighter days ahead,” Trudeau said to a small crowd gathered in a hotel ballroom. “What we’ve seen tonight is that millions of Canadians have chosen a progressive plan.”

“It’s a Groundhog Day election,” said Gerald Baier, a professor of political science at University of British Columbia. “It seems that ambivalence has stayed (from the 2019 election).”

“Our support has grown, it’s grown across the country, but clearly there is more work for us to do to earn the trust of Canadians,” O’Toole told supporters, while suggesting that he planned to stay on as leader. “My family and I are resolutely committed to continuing this journey for Canada.”

OXFORD

Dave MacKenzie claimed his seventh straight win Monday night in a landslide victory that was never in question.

The longtime Conservative member of Parliament thanked his dedicated staff for helping return him to Ottawa, describing them as “always every helpful.”

“They’re not political,” MacKenzie said Monday. “They just want to help and they do a great job.”

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With his emphatic win, MacKenzie said he remains committed to addressing Canada’s growing national debt.

“A priority for me is to see a majority government,” he said. “I have concerns about our debt. I think about what this will mean for our grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.”

MacKenzie, a former Woodstock-area police chief, said he is ready to again represent Oxford, a community he knows.

“We are always here,” MacKenzie said, “and that really means something when people know who you are.”

47.4% Dave MacKenzie, Conservatives (28,473)

20.2% Elizabeth Quinto, Liberals (12,135)

18.1% Matthew Chambers, NDP (10,837)

10.9% Wendy Martin, PPC (6,535)

2.7% Bob Reid, Green (1,617)

0.8% Allen Scovil, Christian Heritage (468)

HALDIMAND-NORFOLK

Haldimand-Norfolk rolled out the blue carpet for riding newcomer Leslyn Lewis Monday, providing her a comfortable margin of victory in a federal election that doesn’t appear to have changed very much on Parliament Hill.

The result wasn’t completely unexpected, given that incumbent Conservative MP Diane Finley, who announced her departure from federal politics last year, had held the riding each election since 2004.

“I’m really happy that the warmth that I felt and received translated into votes,” Lewis said at a private get-together in Simcoe Monday after the polls closed at 9:30 p.m.

The Toronto lawyer said she learned a lot about the voters in her adopted riding and the top-of-mind issues that excited them during this campaign.

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Lewis said many local voters were impatient with the vitriol and personal attacks which, at times, defined this campaign, which Liberal leader Justin Trudeau declared in mid-August.

Thanks to the pandemic and increasing problems of affordability across the board, Lewis said many local voters wanted to talk about the nuts-and-bolts issues affecting their lives as well as potential solutions to the challenges facing struggling households.

“People didn’t want the pettiness or the attacks,” she said. “They wanted to talk about issues because they have not experienced such hardship.”

Lewis concluded from this that her low-key, analytical style was an asset on the campaign trail.

“People had a low tolerance for the bickering, and I think that worked to my advantage,” she said. “I try not to deal in that level of negativity.”

Lewis, who has moved with her family to Dunnville in the east end of Haldimand-Norfolk, turned heads across Canada last year with an impressive, cerebral campaign for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada.

A relative unknown before the campaign without a seat in the House of Commons, Lewis placed third behind former Progressive Conservative MP Peter McKay and the eventual winner Erin O’Toole.

With the federal Liberals poised to return to power with another minority government, Conservative MPs are preparing for O’Toole, as Leader of the Official Opposition, to name a shadow cabinet and a B-list of parliamentary assistants.

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Lewis declined to state a preference when asked if there was a specific critic role she was interested in pursuing.

“I would be happy to serve in any capacity,” she said. “I see myself bending to Haldimand-Norfolk and to the people of Canada. I haven’t given any thought to anything specific. I’m just happy to serve Canadians in any capacity.”

47.5% Leslyn Lewis, Conservatives (28,716)

27% Karen Matthews, Liberals (16,332)

13.4% Meghan Piironen, NDP (8,089)

10.7% Ken Gilpin, PPC (6,486)

0.9% Charles Lugosi, Christian Heritage (546)

0.4% George McMorrow, VCP (254)

ELGIN-MIDDLESEX-LONDON

In Elgin-Middlesex-London, Karen Vecchio of the Conservatives cruised to victory, easily beating back an aggressive campaign from Chelsea Hillier of the People’s Party.

“I’m so excited to see these results tonight. We worked so hard. It has been a very strange campaign with little voter contact, but I’m so happy,” Vecchio said.

50% Karen Vechhio, Conservatives (30,444)

19.3% Afeez Ajibowu, Liberals (11,765)

16% Katelyn Cody, NDP (9,718)

11.9% Chelsea Hillier, PPC (7,272)

2.2% Amanda Stark, Green (1,368)

0.5% Michael Hopkins, Christian Heritage (332)

– with files from Barbara Geernaert, Monte Sonnenberg, Norman De Bono, and Postmedia staff.

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