Every person trying to get elected, whether a veteran or a rookie, will tell you they cannot take any vote for granted.
Incumbent Kelowna-Lake Country Conservative MP Ron Cannan is no different.
But when you have a history of winning your riding with more votes than all your competitors combined, and you have just won a third term with an increased share of the vote, a whopping 58 per cent, announcing you did it “street by street, door by door, voter by voter” may sound a little over the top.
But, hyperbole aside, Cannan’s third cruise to victory in one of the safest Tory seats in the country Monday night was met with as much joy as his two previous victories by his supporters who gathers Monday night at the Delta Grand Hotel.
That was, in part, because it came with a bigger prize for his party, the first Conservative majority government under leader Stephen Harper.
“One of our goals was to win, and win big. And we did,” said Cannan during his victory speech.
Cannan easily beat out his three rivals in the race, second-place finisher Tisha Kalmanovitch of the NDP, who trailed Cannan’s 34,566 votes with 13,322. Liberal Kris Stewart was a distant third with 7,069 votes and Green Party candidate Alice Hooper was fourth with 5,265 votes.
While the Conservative and NDP vote totals and share of the vote grew compared with the 2008 election, the Liberal and Green totals and shares fell.
Cannan said he attempted to take the “high road” during the campaign, shrugging off attempts by opponents to, in his words, bait him.
“Some things were said during the election campaign by our opponents who tried to bait us, but we bit our tongue and took the high road,” he said. “When you take the high road, you get a better vision for the future. This is a vision of hope and opportunity.”
During the campaign, Liberal Kris Stewart criticized Cannan for his role in a Parliamentary report by Conservative MPs that incorrectly used a quote from auditor general Sheila Fraser from several years ago.
The report defended the then minority Conservative government from the accusation it was in contempt of Parliament for not revealing the true cost of anti-crime programs, and new fighter jets to Parliament. It was that finding that prompted the non-confidence vote that led to the election.
When the mistake was pointed out, the Conservative MPs who wrote the report apologized.
Cannan’s name was on the report and the apology because he was a member of the committee, though appointed after the report was written. When he explained that, Stewart said Cannan should have been aware of what the committee did before he was appointed to it.
At his victory party Monday, Cannan wore a Vancouver Canucks jersey with his name on the back and suddenly stopped halfway through his speech to lead the 200 people on hand in an impromptu rendition of the national anthem.
When he returned to his prepared remarks, he vowed the new Conservative government would concentrate on improving the economy, and praised Conservative leader Stephen Harper and former Okanagan-Coquihalla MP Stockwell Day, whom he called a mentor.
Following his speech, Cannan told reporters he hopes to see civility return to the House of Commons and called the new Conservative majority a “great day for Canadian democracy.”
Cannan said the majority of seats in the Commons will allow his party to move ahead on its “tough” anti-crime agenda and to finally kill the long-gun registry.
He noted $145 million of federal funding has been funneled into the riding since he was first elected 5 1/2 years ago but could not say if any more money will be coming because the stimulus funding to jump start the Canadian economy has ended.
Campaign worker Barb MacCarl welcomed the NDP as the official Opposition, calling the re-election of Cannan, the majority Conservative government and the dramatic drop in the Liberal vote across the country “the perfect outcome.”
“I think (Prime Minister) Stephen Harper will be able to do what he wants to do now,” said MacCarl.
Alistair Waters is the Capital News assistant editor.