Latest posts by Chris Marchand (see all)
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Ontario voters reject bold PC platform, install Wynne to majority government
By Chris Marchand
Voters in the Kenora/Rainy-River Riding restored NDP candidate Sarah Campbell to her post in a decisive win in a June 12, provincial election.
What appeared to be a tight two-way race between incumbent Campbell and Progressive Conservative challenger Randy Nickle in the final days of the election was, in the final count, not even close.
Campbell secured over 55 per cent (12,872) of the 23,217 votes cast in the riding — a gain of about 6 per cent over her showing in 2011 when she first won the job.
Operating in a minority government situation over the past few years, Campbell says the win bookends a long period of heightened political intensity.
“It often felt like the campaign didn’t end in 2011,” said Campbell in a room full of supporters and campaign volunteers in Dryden on election night. “It’s felt like one very long election campaign. So, to a certain extent it’s nice to have a little bit of clarity and finality to it.”
As for her thoughts on the voting dynamic in the region, Campbell said her party was certainly less mired in divisive ideology and scandal.
“I think it was a combination of things,” she said. “The NDP has a good track record in this riding of raising the issues and fighting earnestly for the issues of concern to people and I think I’ve continued along that vein. I’ve worked very hard over the past two-and-a-half years. But I think people are fed up — they’re tired of the Liberal scandals and they’re terrified of the job cuts the Conservatives were proposing.”
Liberal candidate Anthony Leek made notable gains over his 2011 showing raising his share of the vote count from nine per cent to 16 per cent (3,729). Green Party candidate Tim McKillop earned three per cent of the vote. Just over 47 per cent of registered voters participated in the election.
Provincewide, a profound rejection of the Progressive Conservative’s bold platform, which sought to eliminate 100,000 public sector jobs as part of a plan to stimulate private sector job creation, manifested itself in a majority government for Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal Party. PC leader Tim Hudak has since resigned.
Kenora business owner Randy Nickle (PC) garnered less than half of Campbell’s support, finishing the election with 5,905 votes, or 25 per cent.
Nickle says his party paid the price for a bold move.
“In the last election the PC party came up short because the election was too much about what the other party did wrong,” said Nickle. “This time Mr. Hudak and the party decided to make sure voters knew where we are. The decisions that we made may not have been the best for the party with the losses, but I think those things had to be said.”
As for his future in politics, Nickle isn’t counting out a return to the scene.
“I’d say it’s a good likelihood,” said Nickle. “Right now the timing was good for me to get involved. In four years I don’t know what I’ll be involved with but for the time being it’s something I’ll follow up with. We have an opportunity to bring in a new leader, so hopefully I’ll be a part of that.”