Milliken cleans up in Kingston

Milliken begins his fifth term as Liberal MP for Kingston and the Islands.
Milliken begins his fifth term as Liberal MP for Kingston and the Islands.

For the fifth consecutive election, Liberal Candidate and current Speaker of the House of Commons Peter Milliken won the riding of Kingston and the Islands by a wide margin of 52 per cent.

“I want to pass along my compliments to my opponents,” Milliken said in his acceptance speech.

“I want to say I wish they will run against me in the next election.” Milliken took his time greeting supporters, chatting with the press and posing for pictures before ascending the podium.

“It hardly seemed possible when I stood here in 1988 that I would stand here for a fifth time,” he said.

Milliken, a Queen’s graduate, said his interest in politics was piqued while completing his undergraduate degree at the University.

He said he would continue to lobby the federal government for research and infrastructure funding for Queen’s.

Milliken said the issue of greatest concern for students is tuition fees, and he would work towards alleviating financial pressure by increasing student loans.

“What’s been happening in recent years is that more money has been spent on health care and less on education, and that’s unfortunate,” Milliken said.

Before all polls had closed, Milliken predicted the Liberals would form a minority government.

“It looks like it’s going to be a minority, and who can say when the next election will be,” he said. “Perhaps we can think about that tomorrow rather than tonight.” Milliken would not speculate on the effectiveness of a minority government.

“That’s a matter for the Prime Minister to decide,” he said.

Kate McIlquham, Nurs ’07 and Milliken’s niece, voted for the first time in this election, and expressed support for her uncle and the federal Liberals.

“The party is more broad [than others],” she said. “They’re more focused on everyone’s rights and not [those of] a specific group.”

Emily Coolican, ArtSci ’06, volunteered 15 to 20 hours a week for Milliken’s campaign. She was inspired to become involved with the Liberal party after Milliken spoke to her Canadian politics class.

“He was a great speaker,” she said. “What interested me was that [the speech] wasn’t Liberal propaganda.”

Coolican said she experienced positive reactions from constituents while canvassing door-to-door.

“A lot of people felt they knew Peter well,” she said.

Dave Newman, ArtSci ’04, also canvassed for Milliken.

Newman said young people should take responsibility for making changes to government.

“I’ve never been involved with politics before, but you realize that democracy only works if people get involved and are informed,” he said.

Milliken said the race for Kingston and the Islands was a clean campaign.

While campaigning, he did not express personal opinions on major issues in his individual platform, but concurred with the federal party platform.

“I’m the speaker of the house,” he said. “I’m not involved in governance and that’s what I hope to be doing again.”

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