Milliken is ‘seven times lucky’

Milliken takes Kingston and the Islands for the seventh time with 39.09 per cent of the vote

Incumbent Member of Parliament Peter Milliken talks to the press after learning of his impending victory.
Incumbent Member of Parliament Peter Milliken talks to the press after learning of his impending victory.
Incumbent Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands Peter Milliken celebrates his seventh consecutive victory at the Ambassador Hotel last night.
Incumbent Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands Peter Milliken celebrates his seventh consecutive victory at the Ambassador Hotel last night.

Liberal candidate Peter Milliken celebrated his seventh successful campaign last night at the Ambassador Hotel.

Milliken won the Kingston riding with 39.09 per cent of the vote.

“Seven times lucky, as they say, so it worked out,” he said as he took the stage to thank his supporters shortly after 11 p.m. last night.

“I guess we’ll be able to have a 20th anniversary celebration next month.”

Milliken congratulated the other politicians in the riding on their civility, adding that they had “come much closer than usually happens.”

Milliken, who was wearing red and white shoelaces he received recently at an HIV walk, said he wasn’t feeling nervous as the results started to come in just after 9 p.m.

“I don’t remember being particularly wound up,” he said of previous elections. “Maybe the first time, but you get used to it. Elections are just one of the facts of political life.”

Milliken said he thought the results in Kingston would be close this year.

“I think people were uncertain,” he said. “It was suggested that we should have someone from the governing party in parliament.”

Milliken said there were also rumors he wasn’t going to run and that he’d quit if he wasn’t elected speaker once again, neither of which are true.

“I’m keen to do the job and members can choose who they want,” he said of his position as speaker. “We’ll see what they offer—there may be other things.”

Milliken said he doesn’t know what will happen a few years down the road but he doesn’t intend to give up his position anytime soon.

“If we have an election in 12 months I’m quite sure I’ll be the candidate again,” he said. “We all know that minorities tend to serve shorter terms, so we may be at this again.”

He also said he thought some of his voters turned to the Green Party and the NDP.

“That’s quite an upsurge for both of them, so I suspect some of my votes went to them.”

Around 10:30 p.m. Milliken answered a call from a supporter in Sri Lanka who had lost track of time.

“He forgot today was the Election Day,” he said as he hung up the phone. “He’s out of the country—way out of the country.”

John Roderick, Milliken’s campaign manager, said Milliken was a valuable presence in parliament.

“This is not the time to have an inexperienced member of parliament,” he said.

Roderick said one of the reasons Milliken has been reelected so many times is his commitment to Kingston.

“That’s where his strength is. He’s dedicated to his constituents,” said Roderick, who has now worked on Milliken’s campaign three times.

He said he was pleased but not surprised by the results.

“It’s automatic. If Peter Milliken runs in Kingston, you have to have a victory party,” he said in a speech after Milliken’s lead was confirmed.

Roderick said he was not thrilled with the idea of a Harper-led minority.

“It’s up to the other parties to keep him accountable,” he said. “There’s more to Canada than oil sands.”

A lot of people have been upset by the Conservatives, Roderick said.

“It’s kind of scary that we could have a prime minister who’s turned his back on the financial crisis,” he said. “They squandered the $12 million surplus they had by reducing the GST. We could really use that right now.”

Kingston city councillor Mark Gerretsen said he worked for the Liberal campaign because he trusted Milliken’s experience.

“I think Peter Milliken has done a great job over the past 20 years,” he said. “I think he can continue to do that. His continued popularity shows his experience. It also shows that through good times and bad times for the Liberal Party, he’s been able to maintain the seat and that says something about how people in this riding feel about him.” “I’m a little hesitant about the country in general but I’m confident that Peter will get reelected in this riding,” Gerretson said.

Samantha Smitiuch, ArtSci ’10 and membership director for Queen’s University Young Liberals Association, helped organize canvassing for Kingston and the Lanark Frontenac Lennox and Addington riding. She said she was thrilled with the results of the election.

“I’m excited that Peter’s been elected and that we had a part in slowing down the Harper majority,” she said.

Smitiuch said Milliken was the ideal candidate for students in Kingston.

“The Liberal party is working to help students but you’ll never see the Conservatives talking about them in their platforms. The Liberal Party wants to fight for the future of Canada.”

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