Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Saxton takes close to half of North Vancouver vote
By Jeremy Shepherd, North Shore News May 3, 2011
Saxton won the riding with 28,998 votes, taking almost 49 per cent of the total.
Saxton defeated Liberal challenger Taleeb Noormohamed, who finished with 17,665 votes. NDP candidate Michael Charrois finished in third place with 9,618 votes.
All numbers are unofficial until certified by Elections Canada. Asked what Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s first majority government will mean for him, Saxton replied: “It means that maybe I’ll start looking for an apartment in Ottawa.”
Saxton attributed the Conservative victory to Harper’s leadership during what Saxton called, “The great recession.” Saxton thanked the three levels of government in North Vancouver for working together through different political affiliations to support infrastructure in the riding. Shaking hands under a black and blue sky, Saxton said he looked forward to working with the new official Opposition led by NDP leader Jack Layton. “I work out with him in the same gym in Ottawa and I can tell you he’s a feisty guy, and he’ll keep us on our toes.” Asked if he slept the night before the election, Saxton said: “I did sleep last night, but I may not sleep tonight,” before offering to buy a drink for all his supporters and campaign workers.
Taleeb Noormohamed, holding court in a noticeably more sombre campaign office just up the street, attributed his loss to the division among moderates and left-wing voters. “If progressive-minded folks had rallied together, we would’ve taken this riding by a large number,” he said. Asked about the future of Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, Noormohamed said the party needs to go in another direction. “It comes down to connecting with Canadians,” he said. “It’s pretty clear the party needs to revitalize itself.” Noormohamed, who had just congratulated Saxton on winning after a “clean campaign,” said Saxton’s first priority should be freeing the North Vancouver man who’s been in a jail in Mexico without trial for three years. “I think job 1 is to get Pavel Kulisek home,” he said.
NDP candidate Michael Charrois had a one-word summation of his party’s performance in becoming the official Opposition: “Wow.” “We’ve increased 100 per cent,” he said.
Asked about the drop in support for the Liberal party, Charrois said Ignatieff was unable to rise above the image Conservatives painted of the party leader. “Harper framed Ignatieff, and he couldn’t get out of the frame,” he said. Asked about acrimony on the campaign trail, Charrois said he’s learned to take things in stride. “Take a breath, it’s not personal.” Despite the loss, Charrois said his campaign isn’t over. “It’s not over till we clean up. Just like camping, leave no trace,” he said, referring to campaign signs and posters.
Despite finishing with just five per cent of the riding’s votes, Green Party candidate Greg Dowman was jubilant following the election. “We made it,” he said, discussing Green Party leader Elizabeth May’s victory in the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding. “It was the dedication of Elizabeth and her crew, and they just pounded it,” he said. Dowman attributed May’s victory to an increasing number of voters looking for leadership on environmental issues like climate change. Dowman said he hoped for a greater sense of accountability in government and greater decorum in Parliament, which he said had been characterized by “childish” behaviour. “These guys are throwing mud pies at each other,” he said.Dowman said he was optimistic for his chances in the next election. “Given an improvement in the machinery, we can do even better next time.”
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