MANITOULIN—Incumbent New Democrat Carol Hughes has secured a definitive Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing (AMK) victory during the 43rd Canadian federal election this past Monday, October 19, easily beating her closest opponent by thousands of votes.
“I’m certainly happy the campaign is finally over. It takes a lot of energy to be able to go across this vast riding. I’m just really elated that the people of Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing have put their trust in me and their confidence in me again to continue to represent them,” said an excited Ms. Hughes before heading into a victory party Monday night.
According to unofficial Elections Canada results for the AMK riding at press time, Ms. Hughes and the NDP secured 16,740 votes, equaling 41.6 percent of the total votes in the riding.
She said she was focused on transportation, affordability and healthcare in AMK as she prepares to return to work on Parliament Hill.
“Hopefully with a (Liberal) minority, we will be able to get more things done. That is one reason why the NDP also supports electoral reform. When you have a majority you tend to kind of run the show and put your agenda forward,” she said. “Now they have to work with the other parties.”
Ms. Hughes congratulated all of the candidates for their efforts in this challenging campaign.
“I know campaigning is difficult—especially when it’s their first time into it—in such a large riding, so I tip my hat for them putting their names in and I wish them all the best in whatever is to come,” she said.
Second place went to Conservative Dave Williamson who swayed 10,557 or 26.3 percent of voting electors. Mr. Williamson could not be reached for comment by press time but spoke with The Expositor later in the week.
“I was pleased with the campaign itself, in terms of the efforts of the volunteers who stepped up and reached out across the district and across the riding,” said Mr. Williamson. He said that the strong volunteer base and the opportunity to travel throughout AMK were highlights of the experience for him.
“I was very impressed with so many individuals in the riding and their outlook on the world at large. People talked with me who recognize that there are things that need to be improved upon and they’re prepared to commit to working on that improvement,” Mr. Williamson said.
He extended his congratulations to Ms. Hughes and commended all the candidates for running a clean campaign that was about the issues and not centred around personal attacks.
In third was Liberal Heather Wilson with 9,760 or 24.3 percent of the votes cast in AMK.
“Well, obviously we are a little disappointed, but the voters are always right,” said Ms. Wilson. “We tried really hard and ran a good campaign. This was the second time and we thought we could get better results, but Carol (Hughes) works really hard and the people of Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing think she is doing a good job.”
Green Party of Canada hopeful Max Chapman, new to the political scene, earned a respectable 2,145 or 5.3 percent of the AMK votes. He said he was pleased to have netted more than double the votes the Green Party received in 2015 (927).
“I think we really pulled ahead when we stuck to what positions we had that differed us from the other parties instead of constantly talking about where others had failed,” he said.
The idea of a minority government was positive for Mr. Chapman who said it would hold the dominant party to account and enable other parties to continue pushing for a proportional representation system.
“In four years I’ll be back and bilingual and ready to go across the riding right at the beginning,” he said.
In fifth was People’s Party of Canada candidate Dave DeLisle with 2.2 percent or 883 votes.
“I think I could have done better with a little more support,” said Mr. DeLisle. “We’re a new party and word hasn’t really been getting out there, plus the regular media has been pushing us off and avoiding us.”
“She ran a good campaign, but she’s well known,” Mr. DeLisle said of Ms. Hughes’ victory. “But she won and I give her credit. We’ll see if she can do some of the things she said she was going to do.”
Sixty-six percent or 41,535 of eligible electors voted in the 2015 election, which had the highest voter turnout in years. This year’s outcome of 40,209 voters or 61.46 percent marked a significant reduction, though this matched the national trend. Final national turnout numbers were roughly 64 percent as of press time early Tuesday, with nearly 98 percent of polls reporting.
This story was updated on October 25 to add Conservative candidate Dave Williamson’s thoughts on the campaign after he contacted The Expositor on that date.