October 20, 2015 - 4:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - Cleanup efforts are underway at Conservative campaign headquarters in Kamloops and while member of Parliament Cathy McLeod topped the polls, she calls the change from incumbent to opposition ‘bittersweet.'
McLeod’s win for the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding was one of the 99 seats won by the Progressive Conservatives in last night’s Federal Election, but Oct. 19 turned the country red with new Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau taking a solid majority government.
“The polls had been indicating the Liberals were starting to close the gap. We were hoping for a minority, but the sweep of the Maritimes indicated a different night,” McLeod says.
After her re-election, McLeod’s role will remain the same; she’ll continue to assist constituents. And while her efforts can still impact change, it will be met with a more ‘formalized’ approach, she says, instead of just grabbing coffee with a federal minister and talking candidly.
“It becomes more formalized,” she says. “I would never suggest you can’t effectively achieve results. Obviously the opposition have a chance to put more heat on issues.”
Despite her role changing, McLeod says she’s excited to tackle issues left on the table prior to campaigning. She plans to work on a softwood lumber agreement, agricultural issues and initiatives for First Nation property ownership. With the election results comes her departure as a parliamentary secretary, which she says will allow her to take on private members’ business.
She says she looks forward to celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday as an MP.
While McLeod’s successful campaign guaranteed her seat as MP, the percentage of votes in her favour dropped from 52 per cent in 2011 to 35 per cent in this election, with the remainder divided nearly in half between the Liberals’ Steve Powrie and New Democrat Bill Sundhu. McLeod attributes the results to more turnout at the polls. This year 74 per cent of registered voters filled out a ballot, up nearly 11 per cent from 2011.
"Kamloops had an awesome turnout; new people were inspired to come to the polls. That’s a positive outcome,” she says. "This riding, like many ridings across the country, was impacted by the dynamics of the larger campaign."
As for who will lead the Progressive Conservatives now (Stephen Harper declared he would step down) McLeod is averting speculation for now.
“Given results of the election, it’s going to be an opportunity to refocus and renew (the party),” she says.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015