The orange wave swept over Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca as Randall Garrison helped add to the federal NDP’s sweeping gains across Canada.
A third-time candidate, Garrisson came out 379 votes ahead of Conservative Troy DeSouza, also his third campaign, in another roller coaster contest. At the end of the night, it was Garrison’s 26,121 votes to DeSouza’s 25,742.
The NDP crowd roared as Garrison was declared winner. He approached the podium unfolding a speech from his jacket pocked.
“I only wrote one speech tonight, and it turned out to be the right one,” he remarked smiling.
“For the NDP nationally, I’m really proud of the positive campaign that we ran—and a positive approach is what I’m planning to take with me to Ottawa.
“It’s bitter sweet tonight: Sweet to win here, sweet at the national level for the NDP— a little bitter with the Tory majority — but they’re going to have to listen to the message of what happened tonight.”
Nationally the Conservatives swept to a clear majority with 167 seats. The NDP gained 67 seats for 107 and the Liberals suffered a collapse to 34 seats.
Garrison, an Esquimalt municipal coucillor, said the NDP message resonates with voters: Protecting and improving public health care, helping families make ends meet with affordable childcare, “ships before jets, we need to keep jobs in our shipyards” support for veterans, “when we bring our troops home from Afghanistan we need to give them all the support they deserve.”
DeSouza admitted he was disappointed not to be joining Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s majority in Ottawa.
“We didn’t get the result we had hoped for tonight,” DeSouza said to roaring supporters. “But what’s good for the country is a stable majority Conservative government. I feel confident we are in good hands with our leader Stephen Harper.”