PENTICTON - It was a night of surprises, both at the national level and for local constituents in the newly formed riding of South Okanagan-West Kootenay .
While the Liberal party took a majority win overall, locally NDP candidate Richard Cannings was elected as the new member of Parliament.
“I have no idea. I will find out. It’s all very new to me right now, although I feel very good right now," Cannings said of what comes next for him.
Cannings is happy with his result, but is disappointed with how his party did nationally.
"We’re all a little surprised with the national results, but we’re very happy with what’s happened here,” Cannings said prior to meeting with party faithful and volunteers in Penticton following the ballot count last night, Oct. 19. “There was the big red surge that we got caught up in and happily we managed to ride on top of it here. I must admit I’m happy Stephen Harper is no longer our Prime Minister, but I’m willing to work with any party and cooperate and collaborate, I think we need more of that in Ottawa.”
Cannings said the South Okanagan-West Kootenay race appeared pretty tight at first, but he wasn't too concerned early on.
“We could see where those votes were coming from at the start. The polls we were seeing were from parts of Penticton we generally don’t do as well in, but when the other polls came in we were very happy,” he said. "Obviously, a lot of them voted Liberal and a lot of them voted NDP. I think (the Conservatives) lost votes to both of us and the Liberals took votes from both of us as well. It’s a complex system that we have in terms of how people decide they’ll vote, but I’m very happy that we came out on top.”
Liberal candidate Connie Denesiuk, who stopped by to congratulate Cannings on his win, said she was pleased with the party’s performance in the riding, and thrilled about the party nationally.
"Justin Trudeau is the new Prime Minister of Canada, and tomorrow Canadians will wake up to a hopeful Canada, and one with real change for the better. People in Canada wanted change, and that’s exactly what they’re going to get, and I couldn’t be more pleased about that,” she said. "In terms of our own riding, we know we came from between six and seven per cent of the popular vote in the last federal election in this riding, to what looks to be about 30 per cent at this point. And we did it all on a shoestring budget, with a crew of volunteers... so I’m thrilled, very pleased with the result, and I think we’ve come a very long way with my team.”
Canning’s New Democrats accounted for 24,823 ballots, or 37.2 per cent of the popular vote, while Conservative Marshall Neufeld accumulated 19,894 votes, 29.8 per cent. Denesiuk finished roughly 1,000 votes behind Neufeld, at 18,727 votes and 28.1 per cent of the popular vote. Green Party candidate Samantha Troy received 2,851 votes, at 4.3 per cent of the popular vote and independent candidate Brian Gray received 432 votes, 0.6 per cent of the popular vote.
The riding registered a 73.57 per cent voter turnout.
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