Laurel Collins calls more seats in the New Democrat arsenal a win in what she deems an unnecessary election.
The incumbent in the Victoria federal riding, Collins claimed her second term in Ottawa on Monday night in a seat the party has held since 2006.
“We’re going to keep fighting for the issues that really matter,” she told Black Press Media after her win was declared.
With roughly 92 per cent of polls reporting, Collins was carrying more than 45 per cent of the vote and sat with more than 21,000 votes, over 9,000 ahead of runner-up Nikki Macdonald of the Liberals.
Of the NDP’s modest projected gain of two or three seats, Collins said, “It’s exciting to be building, especially in a pandemic election where the Liberals were expecting and aiming to get a majority. It shows this election was unnecessary and people across Canada are sending more NDP members to the parliament.”
The Liberals are projected to win enough seats to form a minority government, leaving the NDP with the balance of power, along with the Bloc Quebecois – the same scenario as prior to this election.
“I think that democracy is better served when we have people working across party lines. Minority governments are good for policy and the country,” Collins said.
She voiced gratitude for the time and energy spent by campaign volunteers, as well as by competitors MacDonald and Green candidate Nick Loughton, who was battling Conservative candidate Hannah Hodson for third place.
Safe, affordable housing, environment, active reconciliation and ensuring the wealthiest pay their fair share remain top mandates for the NDP, Collins added.
People’s Party of Canada candidate John Randal Phipps wound up fifth, followed by Communist Janis Zroback and Jordan Reichert of the Animal Protection Party.
Macdonald didn’t sound too surprised at the absence of change in the national picture.
“That’s probably quite natural through a pandemic, where people are saying, ‘I wan’t to stick to the status quo, this isn’t a time of big change for me.’ So that’s what I expect Victorians were saying as well,” she told Black Press Media.
After an #Elxn44 campaign she said was hard caught by friends, family and staff alike, Nikki Macdonald, Liberal MP candidate of Victoria, addressed her team at 2039 Oak Bay Ave. @VictoriaNews pic.twitter.com/7q1rua2u65— Kiernan Green (@kiernang19) September 21, 2021
Despite not having a Liberal elected on the Island, Macdonald said it won’t change the kind of programs her party will put in place. Among the promises made by the Liberals in this campaign were to make housing more affordable through initiatives such as tax-free savings accounts for first-time home buyers, and a $4 billion investment via municipalities to ramp up home building.
“It will put the onus a little more on the incumbent MP to work harder to make sure she’s getting the support we need here in Victoria,” Macdonald said. “There’s excellent funding support for housing, transportation and addiction, but it does require leadership to get it.”
Two points of note were evident looking at the numbers this time around.
One was that Collins’ level of support was far higher than the 33.2 per cent she took of the popular vote in 2019. The other was the dramatic drop in voter turnout from roughly 73.5 per cent to around 50 per cent, not including those who registered on election day and mail-in ballots.
While all the major parties were impacted by the drop in turnout, the Green Party saw a devastating loss of support, going from more than 21,000 votes and a second-place finish in 2019 to a result in the neighbourhood of 6,000 votes on Monday.
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