Updated: Gerretsen wins by landslide

Former Mayor of Kingston, Mark Gerretsen, captures a seat in Parliament Hill as Kingston’s newest Liberal MP

Liberal candidate Mark Gerretsen (center) will be the MP for Kingston and the Islands.
Liberal candidate Mark Gerretsen (center) will be the MP for Kingston and the Islands.
Photo: 

Last updated: Oct. 23 at 8:00 a.m.

After 78 days of campaigning, Liberal candidate Mark Gerretsen has been declared the Member of Parliament to represent Kingston and the Islands in Ottawa.

Gerretsen, Kingston’s mayor from 2010 to 2014, was born and raised in Kingston. He’s served in municipal politics since 2006 and graduated from Queen’s with a B.A. in economics. His father, John Gerretsen, served as the Liberal MPP in the Ontario parliament from 1995 to 2014.

The Liberal Party has held the riding since 1988. Prior to Ted Hsu, who held the riding since 2011, the riding was represented by Liberal MP Peter Milliken from 1988 to 2011 and Progressive Conservative Flora MacDonald from 1972 to 1988.

After all 257 polls had been tallied, Gerretsen claimed 55.4 per cent of votes in the Kingston and the Islands riding. Voter turnout for the riding was 73 per cent, an increase since the 2011 election’s 63 per cent.

The Liberals won 184 seats across Canada — a majority — and 39.5 per cent of the popular vote nationwide.

Although not all polls had been counted, Gerretsen was declared Kingston’s new MP just after 10:30 p.m. with over 5,000 of the 10,000 votes tallied. Gerretsen won by a larger margin than Ted Hsu, the previous Liberal MP for Kingston and Islands, who gained 39 per cent of the vote in the 2011 federal election.

 

Final Results

 

Journal staff attended each candidate’s election party to meet the prospective MPs and their supporters as polls closed.

     Mark Gerretsen - Liberal Party

 

The buzz at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour was electric as the Liberal Party garnered a win in Kingston and a majority of seats across Canada.

At the Liberal gathering, campaign volunteers discussed their belief in Mark Gerretsen’s leadership before his arrival. Syed Atta-ur-Rehman, the President of Pakistan Canada Association of Canada, said he’s supported the party for 16 years.

He said Gerretsen is “young and energetic and he has the motivation.”

“He wants to help this community,” Atta-ur-Rehman said.

A nationwide Liberal majority was confirmed by national media outlets roughly around 10:20 p.m. Chants of “Gerretsen” preceded the local leader’s entrance, as Liberal supporters waited at the platform where he was set to speak.

Gerretsen's supporters cheer as he is declared the new MP for Kingston and the Islands. (Photo by Kendra Pierroz)

Gerretsen was met with thunderous applause and whistles upon his arrival around 11:30 p.m.

The newly elected MP’s excitement was visible as he said it was exciting “to be part of this, a majority government!”

He then thanked his supporters, starting with his campaign manager Elia Anagnostopoulos.

Anagnostopoulos told The Journal that he was sympathetic to the other party leaders.

“We’ve won. However, when you see the other team, knowing how much work they had to do? It’s always sad to see someone else lose. But, someone’s gotta win.”

Gerretsen also highlighted the support of his wife, Vanessa, in his speech, calling himself “the luckiest guy in the world” for her support.

He thanked his opponents — including NDP leader Daniel Beals, who appeared at the post-election celebration to congratulate Gerretsen — for “having a clean campaign”.

“We now have the mandate from the Canadian people to bring [change] to Ottawa, and finally bring an end to the decade we have seen under Steven Harper,” Gerretsen said.

After his win, Gerretsen briefly discussed student issues with The Journal.

He cited the Liberal Party’s commitment to ensuring a minimum annual salary prior to loan repayment, and their initiatives to assist young people in finding “meaningful employment.”

He added that Queen’s students had played a small but valuable role in helping his campaign.

“You know what’s probably the most memorable thing? Last weekend, I had about three or four Queen’s students not go home on Thanksgiving weekend, in order to stay here and help with the campaign,” he said.

“That really touched me.”

Daniel Beals – NDP

NDP supporters were let down by the results, as Beals only captured 10,790 votes — roughly 17 per cent of the Kingston vote.

"I am disappointed that the NDP hasn’t done better. I’m happy that we have a change in government and I think that’s clearly what Canadians want, that’s what I believe we needed,” Beals told The Journal after results came in.

“I do not personally believe the Liberal vision articulated during this campaign is going to be enough of an improvement for our country."

Beals said the first thing he’ll do now that campaigning is over is spend quality time with his son, which he hasn’t been able to do recently due to the campaign.

"Beyond that, I think I have to look for what my next line of work will be … I’ve got to think about what kind of job I want to do,” he said.

“Once you’ve been involved with public service the way I’ve been, it’s very difficult to imagine simply working for money. I don’t want to work for money, I want to work for people."

Beals said he could see himself running again, possibly on a municipal level. However, he said, “it’s too early to see what that would look like."

 

Andy Brooke - Conservative

After Gerretsen was declared Kingston’s newly elected MP, Brooke and his campaign manager reappeared from one of their offices around 10:30 p.m. to rejoin the crowd of supporters at their campaign headquarters.

He gained 14,473 votes — roughly 22 per cent of the riding.

“The numbers appear that [Gerretsen] is elected. There are still a number of polls out, but I have placed the phone call to his campaign and passed along to his campaign manager congratulations for a hard-fought fight,” Brooke said.

“I do extend my sincerest congratulations [to Gerretsen].”

Brooke didn’t give a definite answer to whether he sees himself running again.

“We’ll see how people feel about that,” Brooke said.

As for the results, Brooke said he was “at peace” with the numbers.

“[I] really felt I did the campaign I’d hoped to run, and that part hasn’t changed.”

Before and after the official announcement, Brooke could be found greeting the roughly 50 supporters who joined him on election night. He said the two things he’s most thankful for during this campaign were the supporters and his faith.

”Faith is pretty important to me and you know, it’s not all about winning in the end and I did commit this to the God that I believe in and I trust the result.”               

Nathan Townend - Green Party

The Green Party came fourth in the riding, with 2,818 votes — less than 1 per cent.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed that we didn’t win in Kingston and the Islands, but I obviously wish Mark well as our new MP,” Townend said.

Townend said he hopes Gerretsen will work closely with members of provincial and municipal parliament, as well as community members, to ensure Kingston’s unique and collaborative community is preserved and strengthened through his leadership.

As for the local Green Party, Townend said he hopes they continue to run strong campaigns and present themselves as a worthy alternative to the other three parties. Nationally, he said, he’s looking forward to a post-Harper era, although he’s still disappointed with the Liberal majority.

“I’m disappointed because I feel the Liberals, based on previous Liberal governments historically, will take this mandate as an opportunity to essentially do what they like as if they represented the bulk of the progressive vote.”

“But to be fair to Mr. Trudeau, he isn’t in the office yet and he will have plenty of opportunity to prove himself,” he said, adding that he hopes that Trudeau will be open to working with the other parties.

“For myself politically, I will continue to advance the Green cause here in Kingston, particularly in other areas of the community. Greens here like to be involved in the community more broadly 365 days a year in-between elections.”

Although Townend didn’t give a speech to the roughly 20 supporters at his post-election party — held at the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery Brigade Association (RCHA) Club — he told The Journal that he thanks all those who went out and voted.

Luke McAllister - Libertarian Party

Luke McAllister, Sci ’18, the candidate for the Libertarian Party, came fifth in the riding with just over 285 votes.

“First off, congratulations to Mr. Gerretsen on the win! I'm just thankful for having had the opportunity to put my name on the ballot, and publicly speak up for what I believe!” he told The Journal.

“Thanks for all who supported me, and I look forward to continuing to stand up for liberty in Canada in the future.”

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