Monday’s federal election was a bittersweet night for Randall Garrison and the NDP.
Garrison won a second term as MP, this time in the reconfigured riding of Esquimalt-Saanich Sooke, but the party was decimated across the nation being demoted to third-party status in the House of Commons.
In the lead-up to the election, the New Democrats were poised to form government leading most polls.
“The reason we didn’t get there is that we stood on principle and I’ll always be proud of the campaign [NDP leader] Tom [Mulcair] won. He didn’t give in to fear. He didn’t give in to division. He didn’t give in to those negative things that the Conservatives were promoting,” Garrison told party supporters at an NDP after party at Esquimalt Legion on Monday night.
Garrison captured 35 per cent of the popular vote, with 23,816 votes cast. Liberal David Merner placed second with 18,573 votes, followed by Green Frances Litman, Conservative Shari Lukens and Communist Tyson Strandlund.
Merner, who was considered the Liberals best shot at winning an Island seat, said his team worked hard at upsetting Garrison.
“We had a responsibility to work as hard as we can and I believe we did, and that’s all that matters,” he said. “We’ve laid a track for next time, so we’ll see where that track takes us.”
Garrison said although the NDP was unsuccessful, it did manage to push Prime Minister Stephen Harper out of office.
Now the NDP’s task is to finish some unfinished business, he said.
Garrison wants to make sure Liberals bring shipbuilding jobs to this riding – a promise made by the Conservatives – by next year.