James Lunney, re-elected to represent Nanaimo-Alberni in Ottawa for a fifth consecutive term, said his win is vindication for his party nationally, the way he has represented the riding and the good work of his staff.
“The opposition parties made a lot out of us not serving the communities,” he said but, “I’m very proud of the service provided by our staff.”
He said the majority will make for a more stable government and allow him to be home more, serving constituents personally.
“I get beat up over expenses,” he said, “but this is a larger riding, we get a supplement for that and we have more than the average population, so we get a population supplement and I’m always on budget.”
He said he spends 18 to 20 hours a weekend traveling back and forth to Ottawa.
Without worrying the government will be defeated late on a Friday, he said he’ll be able to leave earlier and provide more local service.
On the national results he said it was interesting to see that, “of the three parties that worked together to defeat our party, two leaders are gone.”
He also suggested Jack Layton will have a challenge managing his large caucus with many rookie MPs.
“They’ll have a very steep learning curve. I think voters in some ridings will be asking themselves what have we done?”
He said the broad strokes of the budget introduced before the election will be the same when they bring in a new one in the next term, but there will be some adjustments.
He said he will be addressing some local issues, such as a way to keep the Island rail system running in some form of joint agreement with the province.
He’ll also be keeping an eye on the Nile Creek fish hatchery as a model of local ecosystem management and he’s optimistic a solution to its current troubles will be negotiated at the local level.
He said he has a number of files to followup on that came up during the busy election.
Among others, he said he’s excited about the ribbon cutting on the Nanaimo cruise ship terminal, which he added will help business throughout the region as they hope bus tour groups will take day trips to places like Cathedral Grove and shopping at the Coombs Market, Parksville and Qualicum Beach.
Votes for Lunney increased by about 1,500 for the same 46.5 per cent as last time.
Lunney conceded the New Democratic Party (NDP) made up some ground, with Zeni Maartman getting 5,000 more votes than in the previous election.
Local votes for the other parties declined.