Ron Cannan said the objective of his campaign was to take the high road because it provides a better vision for the future.
For Cannan, that vision turned out to be a landslide re-election victory for the Conservative incumbent in Kelowna-Lake Country.
“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,” a jubilant Cannan told close to 200 people attending his victory party at the The Delta Grand tonight.
“When you take the high road, you get a better vision for the future. That is a vision of hope and opportunity.”
For Kelowna-Lake Country, the unofficial vote results had Cannan with 24,866 votes, followed by Tisha Kalmanovitch (NDP) 10,011, Kris Stewart (Liberal) 4,915 and Alice Hooper (Green) 4,031.
For Cannan, it was his third election victory in the last 5 1/2 years.
“I am very thankful,” Cannan said. “We won this battle street by street, door by door, voter by voter.”
Meanwhile, shock circulated around what was supposed to be an election night celebration at Hanna’s Lounge and Grill for Kelowna-Lake Country Liberal supporters.
Liberal candidate Kris Stewart said she was disappointed by the local election result, after running what she felt was an outstanding campaign.
“We made 8,000 calls and knocked on 2,000 doors… I’m proud of what we did,” Stewart said.
Islam Mohamed, Stewart’s campaign manager, was also taken off-guard by the Liberals’ national standing.
“The national policy platform was solid, blending fiscal conservatism with a strong social platform, but clearly we didn’t reach Canadians with our message,” he said. “We’ll have to look at how we can do that in the future.”
Michael McDonald, a Kelowna high school student who voted for the first time Monday morning said he felt disheartened by the national vote results.
“The NDP forming the Opposition, I can live with that. But a Conservative majority is something I can’t understand,” McDonald said.
Reflecting on the Conservative win, McDonald added: “When we see where this party takes us, we are going to be saying, ‘Where are we living?’
“The political landscape of Canada has been forever altered.”
As for the NDP candidate Tisha Kalmanovitch, she said she was happy with her campaign.
“What we aimed for as success was to increase our percentage of the vote locally. We want people to start thinking that there is an alternative to the Conservatives locally,” Kalmanovitch said.
Meanwhile, Penticton city councillor Dan Albas extended the Conservative Party of Canada’s grip on the Okanagan-Coquihalla, winning the riding with a convincing 53 per cent of the votes cast.
Albas will now replace retiring Conservative cabinet minister Stockwell Day as the Okanagan Coquihalla’s MP in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s new majority government.
“When I go to Ottawa, I look forward to making sure your interests are heard and defended and perhaps even rewarded in Ottawa,” Albas told a jubilant packed crowd at the Penticton Golf and Country Club.
“More than anything else, I promise to invest my time, my energy and my passion in serving the constituents of this riding. You see, my view of government places trust not in any one person or party, but where it belongs, in the people.
“I pledge to balance my willingness to do good in Ottawa with the knowledge that government is never more dangerous than when our desire to have it help us blinds us to its great power to harm us.”
With 188 of 293 poll stations reporting, Albas’ nearest competitor New Democrat David Finnis garnered 25.3 per cent of the votes cast, while Liberal John Kidder received 10.3 per cent and Dan Bouchard of the Green Party got 9.3 per cent. Independent conservative Sean Upshaw received 1.7 per cent and independent Dietrich Wittel got 0.4 per cent.
Crediting the work of Conservative volunteers and supporters throughout the riding and round the country, Albas said the Tories won their majority by talking about issues that resonate with Canadians.
“When I talked to people around the riding, I was hearing the same things,” said Albas. “People liked the direction of the country but they were concerned about jobs for themselves, their jobs or their grandchildren. They were worried about their pensions. They were worried about safer streets. They wanted to see some changes and they were saying go back and get things done.
“The people have spoken and they have spoken very loudly. They want some stability and they want a strong stable Conservative government. And I am proud to be part of that change.”