NEW BRUNSWICK SOUTHWEST – In what can only be described as a landslide, incumbent Conservative MP for New Brunswick Southwest retained his position last night in the federal election, beating Liberal newcomer, Jason Hickey by near as makes no difference to 10,000 votes.
Williamson received 17,523 votes for 49.8 per cent, Hickey 8,346 for 23.7 per cent, the NDP’s Richard Warren grabbed 4,753 for 13.5 per cent, Meryl Sarty of the People’s Party of Canada saw 3,015 for 8.6 per cent, and John Reist received 1,529 for 4.3 per cent for the Green Party.
In a phone interview after his win, Williamson said he felt he was successful because of the tone he set throughout the campaign. “We worked hard,” said Williamson. “We took it seriously. We talked to people, but we really listened to them as well. It’s why I like to knock on doors; hearing from constituents.”
Williamson said while he can’t pin down a single priority given the size and variation within the riding, rural internet will be at the top of a long list, as it is an “over-reaching priority”.
“This day and age, high speed internet is what families and businesses need,” said Williamson.
“People are working from home, studying from home, living at home; it’s a big issue.”
Williamson also heard his constituents when they talked infrastructure.
“Infrastructure priorities,” said Williamson, “it’s an issue throughout the riding. Small craft harbours so fisherman can get their product from sea to market as an example.”
But ultimately, Williamson says it’s not up to him to determine what municipalities in his riding need, it’s his job to listen to them and help them achieve what municipalities tell him each community needs.
“I’ll be trying to advance projects municipalities say are important to their communities,” said Williamson.
“And try to work on projects for all our communities. It’s not my job to tell municipalities what they need.”
Federally, the status quo remains much the same this morning, as the Justin Trudeau Liberals have once again won a minority government, claiming 158 seats, a mere 12 shy of the majority Trudeau had aimed for.
The Conservatives under leader Erin O’Toole sit with 119 seats, the NDP and Jagmeet Singh have 25, the Bloc Quebecois and Yves-Francois Blanchet sit with 34, Annamie Paul and the Green Party have two seats and Maxime Bernier and the People’s Party of Canada failed to secure a single seat.
“I hear you when you say that you just want to get back to the things you love,” said Trudeau in his victory speech, “not worry about this pandemic, or about an election. That you just want to know that your members of parliament of all stripes will have your back through this crisis and beyond.
“You have given this parliament and this government clear direction.
“And if you did not vote for us, I want you to know that we will stand-up for you, and work for you every single day.”
The hard work will now begin for Trudeau and Liberals who will be forced to discuss the economic points of pandemic recovery, and how the funds spent will be re-cooped; taxes are sure to be a hot topic in the coming weeks.
Looking at voting across the country, you’ll see the Conservatives and the NDP consumed the greatest geographical voting regions, dominating the west, and even Ontario. The Atlantic Provinces offered a surprise as large portions of both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland went uncharacteristically blue rather than the normal red. Prince Edward Island remained a predictable Liberal stronghold, and New Brunswick stayed true to form by remaining predominantly Conservative.
While some hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots are still being counted, it’s unlikely the resulting votes will see much change in last night’s outcome.