WITH HIS largest victory margin yet, New Democrat Nathan Cullen attributed his win to hard work on the part of his campaign team.
“There’s such a good feeling; a good family feeling,” said Cullen speaking this evening from a victory party being held in Kitimat.
Cullen was leading with nearly 62 per cent of the vote with 95 of 250 polls reporting at 9 pm, approximately 12 per cent more than his 2008 and 2006 wins.
Conservative Clay Harmon was at nearly 30 per cent of the vote with a ballot count of 3,713.
Cullen also spoke of the work that goes into being a Member of Parliament in the riding.
“I spend a lot of my life on the road,” said Cullen. “Politics is personal here. You have to get to know people to earn their trust.”
This is Cullen’s fourth victory, equaling the wins of Jim Fulton who held the riding for the New Democratic Party from 1979 to 1993.
If this was a victorious night for Cullen, it was also a big win for the New Democratic Party which won a large number of seats in Quebec to bring its total to 105, a record high.
The NDP win in Quebec came at the expense of the Bloc Quebecois which was reduced to three seats.
The Liberal party was badly mauled, slumping to 34 seats. Green party leader Elizabeth May is winning in the Saanich – Gulf Islands riding on Vancouver Island.
But the biggest prize of the evening went to Stephen Harper and the Conservative party for winning 165 seats, providing a solid majority in the House of Commons.
Harper won minority governments in 2006 and 2008 and went to the polls this time saying he needed a majority to keep the country on the right track to fully recover from the recession.
Cullen warned, however, that Harper should not take a majority victory as a message to do what he wants.
“If he tries to sell the CBC, for instance, or push [the] Enbridge [Northern Gateway pipeline] through, that would be a big mistake. There’s parliament but there is also the court of public opinion,” said Cullen.
He said the New Democrats will present a very different opposition than did the Liberal party which he described as weakened in previous years.
“We’re preparing ourselves for government in two steps. Our aim was always to be in government,” said Cullen.
Despite losing Conservative candidate Clay Harmon is happy about the Conservative majority.
“It means that our country will have some strong leadership and it will be certain over a period of time- there will be stability,” Harmon said, adding that it was important to have a Conservative majority federally, even though the NDP holds the Skeena – Bulkley riding.
He did say he was worried that the riding will not have representation in Ottawa because of the NDP win here and because of that, businesses may be cautious about investing in the region.
“Mr. Cullen will be in opposition,” he said. “So any of the initiatives that happen, if he votes the party-line, he will be against those initiatives.”
“So that will hurt the riding I think, and it’s most unfortunate,” Harmon added.
He said a benefit for the country will be the ability to move with certainty into phase two of the Conservative government’s Canada Economic Action plan.
“On the down side we are going to have somebody who is going to be working against business in our riding,” Harmon said.
Harmon said he enjoyed meeting all kinds of people because of his travels during the campaign.
“My best wishes to Mr. Cullen and his family,” He said.