Tuesday May 3, 2011

Feature Story                                                                                                           

A New Day Dawns In Canadian Politics

Tories power through to election win and NDP oust Liberals

Craig Hill/Voice photos



Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon Conservative candidate Mark Strahl (L) celebrates winning the riding

last night with supporters at the Best Western Rainbow Country Inn.

t was a night of election precedents. The Conservatives powered their way to a majority, the Liberals crashed and burned, the NDP became the official opposition party and the Green Party actually won a seat.

The Conservatives easily surpassed the 155 seats needed to form a majority government with 167, while the Liberals picked-up only 34. Jack Layton's popularity was at an all-time high in the run up to the election and the NDP emerged as the official opposition for the first time in party history after winning 102 seats.

Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, upset Conservative Gary Lunn, Minister of State for Sport, in the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding that he won with 43 per cent of the vote in 2008, to win the first seat in party history.

Once Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff lost in his riding, it was clear the party was spiraling out of control, ending up winning just 34 ridings and dropping 43.

The Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding outcome was not a shocker. In fact, it can be said for this riding that, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Voter turnout in the riding was 58.8 per cent at last count with 236 our of 237 polls reporting.                                          NDP Gwen O'Mahony with family on election night.

Conservative Mark Strahl, who took the riding over from his father Chuck, won handily with 28,153 votes more than doubling the NDP who captured 12,665 votes. The Liberals held a respectable third place with 5,317 votes and the Greens rounded out the top four with 2,701 votes. The Western Block had 180 votes and the Marxist-Leninist's picked-up 173 votes.

A jubilant Strahl clinked glasses in the ballroom at the Best Western Inn, while behind him, supporters tuned into a big screen TV with live results, cheering whenever their candidate's numbers appeared.

"Its just a great feeling to be a Conservative majority government. A lot of people in this room have worked for 15-years to see that happen and to be a part of it is just a great feeling," Strahl told The Voice.

When asked what he wanted to say to the people of the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon, Strahl thanked the residents who voted for him and for "putting their trust" in his ability to    

 Strahl is shown some riding results on election night.           represent them in Parliament.

"I look forward to working hard on their behalf and taking their concerns to Ottawa."

Strahl wasn't saying which issue he planned to tackle first as the riding's new MP, saying that "tonight we'll just savour the victory and we'll look forward to getting an MP office setup and kind of get our ducks in a row, get sworn-in and the Prime Minister will choose his cabinet, put forward a throne speech and a budget.

He wasn't sure when he'll receive his marching orders from Ottawa, or, if he'll be handed a ministry position, but Strahl will be happy to take whatever job Harper hands him.

"Cabinet-making is a difficult job for any Prime Minister so he'll take his time and make his choice and it's certainly not something that I'm anticipating but anything he asks me to do I'll be happy to serve in whatever capacity."

A good cabinet fit for Strahl might be justice or immigration due to past experience.

                                     Orion Engar (L), Al Ens and supporters analyze results as they come in at

                                                 Bravo's Restaraunt on Yale.

"I've done a lot on those issues in my previous jobs, so those are of personal interest to me, but like I say, no matter what I'm asked to do I look forward to throwing myself whole-heartedly into it and while at the same time, my primary task right now is to be a good representative to the people of Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon."

Strahl said today he'll go back to his temporary campaign digs and start taking down signs. Then comes the wait for his marching orders.

"I'm really looking forward to getting to meet a lot of new colleagues and get setup and sworn-in before we can do anything."

It's an exciting time of life for the young optimistic Strahl who was as surprised as everyone else was by the Tory majority and was obviously pleased with the Bloc's demise saying that the "less separatists in Ottawa, the better."

"A Conservative majority... I can't get over that," he said smiling. "It wasn't something that wasn't predicted, even 48-hours ago with the NDP decimating the Bloc Quebecois in Quebec."

Strahl admitted he wasn't a "big fan of the NDP's economic or crime policies", but was impressed overall with his main adversary and congratulatory to them for their national campaign.

"We're certainly looking forward to working in this new Parliament," said Strahl.

Strahl thanked local candidates saying that "they ran vigorous campaigns and they represented their parties well and I appreciate them participating in the democratic process and they can hold their heads high as well."

Local liberal candidate Diane Janzen admitted to Mike Hellinger from 98.3 Star Fm that the people had spoken and obviously liked the Tories' platform more than her own party.

"I think what ended up happening was, I mean, we have to be brutally honest about it, is the Liberal Party federally was rejected by the voters of the entire country and that includes in this riding, and so they look at the Conservative platform and they said that's what we want to see."

Janzen told The Voice at the Scotiabank MS Walk on Sunday that, pending the outcome of the election, she'll be returning to her job as health director with the Sea Bird Island Band. She did not rule out another run at City Hall in November which would definitely be seen as a plus for the City to have her back on council.

Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon

2011 Results



2011 Federal Results




Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon

2006 Results






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