Tilson wins 5th term as MP but with reduced plurality

October 21, 2015   ·   0 Comments

Tabitha Wells

Tabitha Wells

By Tabitha Wells

Election nights tend to be fi lled with worry, stress and anticipation, and this year’s Federal Election was no exception to that.

Not only were the results of the highly controversial campaigns leaving people waiting with baited breath, but the Jays were also playing game 3 of the American League Championship Series.

In fact, at least two of the Dufferin-Caledon candidates’ parties had the election results on one screen, with the Jays game up on another. The Jays took a big lead early on, finally winning 11-8 over the Kansas City Royals.

In fact, their earlier lead over the Royals (11-3 at one point) seemed to flow in unison with the early sweeping of the Liberals over Atlantic Canada. With poll results beginning to pour in shortly after 7 p.m. it quickly became clear that the Atlantic Provinces, who were strongly blue and orange in the previous two elections were coming in as a deep red.

The polls closed offi cially at 9:30 p.m. local times for all provinces except B.C., which ran until 10 p.m. EDT. Within the first half hour, the Liberals already held a hefty lead over the Conservatives nationwide, with the NDP, Bloc Quebecois and Green Party even farther behind.

Locally, by 10 p.m. Dufferin-Caledon’s Conservative incumbent, David Tilson, was in the lead by 100 votes over Liberal candidate Ed Crewson at 1685 votes to 1584. Nancy Urekar of the Green Party was trailing at 314 votes, with the NDP’s Reyha Yazbek at 274.

By midnight, while a number of poll results across the nation had yet to be reported, it was confirmed that the Liberals had won a majority government under Justin Trudeau, and David Tilson had won a fifth term in the House of Commons, but this time with a sharply reduced plurality and a seat on the Opposition benches.

The final count in Dufferin-Caledon showed that Mr. Tilson received 27,929 of the 60,613 votes cast, reflecting a turnout of 65.56% of the 92,461 eligible voters.

The Conservative vote Monday was close to the 28,647 votes Mr. Tilson got in 2011, which then was 59.01% of all votes cast, but just 4,319 more than Mr. Crewson got, 23,610. Ms. Urekar got 4,576 votes and Ms. Yazbek 4,498. In 2011, Mr. Tilson received more than three times the votes given any of his three opponents.

“It feels great,” said Mr. Tilson in an interview following the election. “Elections are a challenge to go through; they’re nerve-wracking, and you really don’t know how things are going to go. You can have a good feeling going through the doors, but there have been plenty of politicians who had a good feeling and lost.”

And while the Conservatives did not see a win at the Federal level, Mr. Tilson’s mood and demeanour was not dampened at the prospect of a Liberal government headed by the eldest son of Pierre Trudeau.

“The people have spoken, and as I have said in other interviews, I will do my best – as all Conservatives who are elected, new and old do – we will hold him to account,” he said.

With the new government formed, Mr. Tilson added that he intends to continue to stand up for his constituents and for Canadians and to challenge policies that may not benefit Canadians.

“The philosophies of the Liberals are quite different,” he said. “The philosophy of the Conservatives was not to increase taxes, not to go into a deficit, not to increase the debt of the country and pay what you can afford.”

He continued, noting that Mr. Trudeau intends to create a deficit of at least $10 billion each year over the next three years, resulting in a $30 billion debt.

“It takes a long time to pay that off,” said Mr. Tilson. “How are you going to pay that off? The Conservatives think that’s the wrong philosophy to take. People today who have a household debt, get to the point if you can’t afford it, you don’t get it. We don’t think that Canada can afford to get into a heavy debt with our finances.”

Late Monday evening, it was also announced via a press release that Stephen Harper has resigned as Conservative leader.

Conservative Party President John Walsh explained via a statement that he had spoken to Mr. Harper, who had instructed him to appoint an interim leader from the newly elected 99-member parliamentary caucus as well as to implement the leadership selection process through the party’s national council.

Prior to the press release, Mr. Harper stated in a concession speech in Calgary that he accepted the evening’s defeat with- out hesitation, but did not mention his resignation.

For local Liberal Candidate Ed Crewson, the election was a bittersweet one; the leader he had placed his support in would now lead the country, but his own personal campaign had come to an end.

“I’m happy for the country,” said Mr. Crewson. “We have chosen hope over fear, fairness over injustice and action over inertia. For the nation it’s a great thing. I’m just sorry I’m not going to be a part of it. I met so many good people along the way that it’s made the whole nine-month adventure [since his selection as candidate] worth-while and rewarding for me; I’ve enjoyed it.”

Now that the election is over, the long- time Shelburne mayor will be returning to running his business, Crewson Insurance, in Shelburne. During the election, he explained, his daughter as well as staff were working hard to cover for him so that he could focus on his duties as a candidate.

“At this point, I have lots of work to do at my office,” said Mr. Crewson. “I’m a passionate guy, I like to see and be engaged [in the community]. When I stopped being mayor and the Liberals came along, I was happy to be their candidate. And I’m still happy with the fact that we got over 20,000 votes.”

In fact, the final numbers showed Mr. Crewson’s more than 23,000 votes put him only about 4300 votes behind Mr. Tilson. Considering Dufferin-Caledon has been a solidly “Blue” riding since it was created in 2003 from parts of Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey, that in itself was an achievement.

His support was more than three times the 6,313 votes won in 2011 by Liberal can- didate Bill Prout of Alton.

“We worked hard, we knocked on 15,000 doors, had 16,000 phone conversations and put up all the signs that we purchased,” added Mr. Crewson. “There was nothing more we could do. This area is very Conservative. I said right off the bat that our biggest challenge was how Conservative our riding is.”

He added that he doesn’t see his loss as anything to do with himself specifically.

“I don’t consider this a rejection of me, I consider it a rejection of the Liberal Party and Justin Trudeau,” he said. “I’m not taking it personally that a lot of people have to vote Conservative, it’s simply who they are. [But] the country is in good hands. I don’t know what role David Tilson will play with the new government. It will be interesting to see how effective he’ll be for this riding.”

Following the delivery of the results, Jus- tin Trudeau made his acceptance speech amidst a crowd of supporters, friends and party members, celebrating that Canadians chose change in this election.

“Canadians from all across this great country sent a clear message tonight,” said Mr. Trudeau. “It’s time for change in this country my friends, real change. A positive, optimistic hopeful vision of public life isn’t a naive dream. It can be a powerful force for change.”
After thanking his supporters and the volunteers who helped make his campaign a success, he spoke of his opposition and Stephen Harper, thanking him for his role in the Canadian Government over the last decade.

“Stephen Harper has served this country for a decade, and as with anyone who has devoted their life to this country, we thank him for his service,” he said. “I want to remind everyone, as I’ve said many times over the course of this campaign: Conservatives are not our enemies, they’re our neigh- bours. Leadership is about bringing people of all different perspectives together.”

He concluded his speech, speaking about Canada’s diversity as a blessing brought by previous generations of Canadians who fought discrimination and prejudice in all forms, adding that this culture Canada has created did not happen by accident.

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