‘We’re going to win here’

Abrams challenges Milliken’s reign, trailed by 6.61 per cent

Photo by Rob Campbell

Conservative party candidate Brian Abrams ended his first campaign for office—Kingston’s most successful Conservative campaign in 20 years—on a high note.

“There is no place to go but up for us, folks,” he said to raucous applause in a speech around 11:30 p.m. last night. “Next time the numbers won’t even be close,” he said “We’re going to win here. There’s no question in my mind.”

Abrams kicked off his campaign in January and said he wouldn’t change anything about it.

“I think that we could not have run a better campaign than we ran,” he told the Journal. “I have no regrets.”

Abrams and his supporters packed a room at Minos Village restaurant to watch the results.

Abrams said he didn’t always toe the party line on some issues, such as the arts and the environment.

“A number of people said coming out of those debates ‘I didn’t expect to hear that from a Conservative candidate,’” he said. “Look, we’re fiscally conservative, but we care about people. … You can’t just focus on the bottom line.”

Although he was a first-time candidate, Abrams said he was impressed with the level of civility during the campaign.

“I was the new guy on the block. … There was a genuine level of mutual respect.”

Abrams said this campaign created a Conservative base that he hopes to carry over to the next election.

“We have established the base to come back and run again,” he said.

One of the pillars of Abrams’s campaign was the construction of a performing arts centre in the north end of Kingston. He said he still hopes to fulfill that goal.

“We are going to build a performing arts centre in the north end of this city.”

Abrams said he would continue advocating for the needs of Kingstonians living in poverty.

“I have a heart for kids, I have a heart for people who are struggling and I’m going to continue to be an advocate for those issues.”

In his speech, Abrams reiterated his pride in his campaign team.

“We did exactly what we wanted to do. We have done the best that we can do.”

Abrams’s campaign manager, Luke Robertson, ArtSci ’10, said the results were encouraging.

“We’ve been out knocking on doors and we’ve canvassed this entire riding, and all of that has built to what tonight I think is a large success for Conservatives in this riding,” he said.

Robertson said Queen’s students played a large role in the campaign.

“The students have been a large part of this. … The number of students out on this campaign is because of Brian. He came to the club early on and inspired a lot of us with his determination and his outlook on life and his own life story.”

Robertson said although Abrams didn’t win this time around, the result sets the groundwork for future elections when he may have different opponents.

“This amount of support for Conservatives in Kingston hasn’t been seen since the days of Flora McDonald, so that’s encouraging. I think what we have to do now is just keep that up. … That’s all we can hope for. What we’ve built now certainly won’t be for naught.”

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