He came from the west and stood above the rest.
Gord Johns of Tofino, and the NDP, will be the Member of Parliament for the riding of Courtenay-Alberni after a resounding victory Monday night in the federal election.
“We fought hard and got our message out,” Johns said to a happy crowd at the Quality Inn Bayside in Parksville. “We had more than 300 volunteers, people from across political lines. I want to thank my family for supporting me.”
Johns earned 26,595 votes (38.1 per cent) to Conservative John Duncan’s 19,631 (28.2 per cent). Liberal Carrie Powell-Davidson had 15,166 (21.8 per cent). More than 76 per cent of registered electors in the riding cast a vote.
“It was a hard campaign,” said Johns. “John Duncan served Vancouver Island for two decades. Glenn Sollitt ran a hard campaign and Carrie Powell-Davidson came a long way. We won this race because we had an incredible campaign team — there were a a lot of people who didn’t sleep. Tonight let’s enjoy our victory, tomorrow let’s get to work.”
Duncan was in Courtenay as the results came in.
“Obviously it’s a sad night for a lot of my friends, my colleagues. This was not the result I was anticipating at all,” Duncan told The Comox Valley Record. “It’s kind of tough … it’s kind of tough, yes. I know that everyone worked as hard they could and I actually thought we had a good message.”
Duncan said the national campaign swayed voters, and added “there’s no way around it. That’s what happens. And obviously on this occasion, that’s what happened big time.”
Duncan was a Member of Parliament from 1993-2006 and again from 2008-2015.
“All good things do come to an end at some point.”
Meanwhile, a red wave was sweeping across the country after early returns in the federal election Monday, with a Liberal majority government predicted by most news outlets by 8 p.m. A party needs 170 seats for a majority. When parliament was dissolved for this election, the Conservatives had 159 seats, the NDP 95 and the Liberals 36.
On Monday, the Liberals won 184 ridings, the Conservatives 99 and the NDP won 44. The Bloc Quebecois won 10 seats and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has her party’s only seat.
Local Liberal candidate Powell-Davidson offered her congratulations to Johns and said she had no regrets about her campaign.
“We’re a little disappointed in not getting this riding but we’re absolutely thrilled with the way it went nationally, so we’ll be celebrating regardless,” Powell-Davidson said Monday night. “My team and I worked our tail feathers off for the last year, I’m really satisfied with the job we did and the way we built the presence of the party in this riding.”
Green candidate Sollitt said from Qualicum Beach: “All things considered, actually it’s going OK. I had so many positive interactions. I feel silly saying this, but I wouldn’t have been shocked to have won tonight. It felt that good going in…I’m just trying to reconcile the extent to which I was wrong.”
“We see such a willingness from so much of the population to embrace the change we felt we had, yet it didn’t transfer into votes,” Sollitt added. “Are we incorrect in our assumption of what people want? If it was a real close race I would have blamed fear and fear alone in people. We’ll have to re-assess and figure it out.”
Read Thursday’s edition of The NEWS for more facts, figures, photos and reaction from Monday’s federal election.
— With copy from Auren Ruvinsky, Candace Wu and The Comox Valley Record
BY THE NUMBERS:
COURTENAY-ALBERNI (90,998 registered electors on list)
(all numbers from Elections Canada)
272 polls of 272 reporting
69,719 votes counted – 76.62 per cent of registered electors
Barbara Biley (Marxist-Leninist) – 137
John Duncan (Conservative) – 19,631
Gord Johns (NDP) – 26,595
Carrie Powell-Davidson (Liberal) – 15,166
Glenn Sollitt (Green) – 8,190