With over 175 polls reporting, incumbent MP Nathan Cullen has captured approximately 60 per cent of the vote and will look to return to Ottawa as part of an much larger NDP caucus that will form the official opposition.
With 175 polls reporting, Cullen had 58.6 per cent of the 23,487 votes with 13,771. Clay Harmon was second with 7,516 followed by Kyle Warwick of the Liberals with 899, Roger Benham of the Green Party with 787, Rod Taylor of the Christian Heritage Party with 397 and Maggie Braun of the Canadian Action Party with 117.
“It feels humbling. It looks like we’ve increased our vote count and a lot of people came out. I really want to savor this because we ran a campaign of integrity that focused on the issue and not get into the mud slinging,” he said, adding that his first priority will be to bring forward the issues of importance to the riding.
“I’m just so honoured. I take the idea of trust very seriously and I thank everyone who voted.”
Nationally the election resulted in a Conservative majority government, with the NDP making up the official opposition with more than 100 seats in the House of Commons – up from just 36 – while the Liberal party fell from 77 to around 35.
“It’s stunning. It’s historic. Has any one party done so dramatically well from one election to the next? We just ran with integrity and with our policies, we did what we thought was right and it paid off…For the first time in 20 years the voice of Quebec is not one of separatism but one of national unity,” he said, noting that he hasn’t yet thought about a possible position in the NDP shadow cabinet.
“All I can say is that I look forward to continuing to hold the government to account, but this time in a much more powerful position.”
Cullen also said it is important to recognize the efforts of his opponents in this campaign.
“I just want to thank them for throwing their hats in the ring. It’s not easy, this is a big riding and a big sacrifice by their families. I also appreciate their ideas and what I try to do each election is to take some of what I heard in the debates with me to Ottawa,” he said.
Of note, Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff have been declared defeated in their respective home ridings, while Elizabeth May will be the first Green MP in the House of Commons.
Despite losing Conservative candidate Clay Harmon is happy about the Conservative majority.
“It means that our country will have some strong leadership and it will be certain over a period of time- there will be stability,” Harmon said, adding that it was important to have a Conservative majority federally, even though the NDP holds the Skeena – Bulkley riding.
He did say he was worried that the riding will not have representation in Ottawa because of the NDP win here and because of that, businesses may be cautious about investing in the region.
“Mr. Cullen will be in opposition,” he said.
“So any of the initiatives that happen, if he votes the party-line, he will be against those initiatives.”
“So that will hurt the riding I think, and it’s most unfortunate,” Harmon added.
He said a benefit for the country will be the ability to move with certainty into phase two of the Conservative government’s Canada Economic Action plan.
“On the down side we are going to have somebody who is going to be working against business in our riding,” Harmon said.
Harmon said he enjoyed meeting all kinds of people because of his travels during the campaign.
“My best wishes to Mr. Cullen and his family,” he said.