Jeremy Deutsch, KTW
As the polls closed on election day, Conservative candidate Cathy McLeod was visibly nervous.
She spent the first hour looking at results on a computer, having a slice of pizza and doing what all politicians love to do – hold a baby.
An hour later, the butterflies in her stomach flew away as the incumbent Conservative MP won the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding in a landslide.
McLeod finished the night with 29,682 votes, or 52 per cent, and finished off her closest opponent, NDP candidate Michael Crawford for a second time, this time by nearly 9,000 votes.
Even McLeod was caught off guard by the results of the election.
“To see these numbers looking very strong, again, what a surprise,” she said. “Hopefully, it means I’ve done a good job and our party’s policies are moving the country in the right direction.”
McLeod said the key to her victory was her party’s economic plan to fight the recession of 2008.
She believes the message to follow the plan through to the next phase resonated with voters.
McLeod also suggested the party’s victory will mean four years of stability.
“We’re changing the landscape of politics in Canada,” she said.
When word arrived at around 8 p.m. that McLeod was heading back to Ottawa, the party at her campaign headquarters moved into full swing.
Dozens of Tory supporters were on hand to celebrate and congratulate the MP on the success of her campaign and the party’s, including Sen. Nancy Green Raine.
Green-Raine was confident McLeod would prevail, calling the MP “astute” and “well respected.”
“Why would it change all that much?” she asked, nodding to the results on Monday compared to 2008.
Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar, who stopped by the MP’s Seymour Street campaign headquarters, said he has enjoyed working with McLeod and will continue with the relationship in her second term.
He said the city will sit down with McLeod to see what kind of funding structures the new federal government will have in place in the next few years.
As the evening wound down, all that was left was the conciliatory handshake and hugs from her opponents.
Crawford walked into McLeod’s campaign headquarters for the second straight election – in defeat.
Foes for two elections, Crawford quickly made his way to McLeod and offered a hug and a congratulations.
But, on an election night like no other, the two main rivals in the riding couldn’t help but share their thoughts on the historic results.
Crawford remarked that McLeod’s party finally has its majority, while the re-elected MP congratulated him for his party’s success nationally as it surpassed 100 seats to become Official Opposition.
McLeod said she was proud to see the NDP strong in Quebec.
“I think they’ll [NDP] be so much better for our country,” she said.
“There’s some good stories coming out of this election,” Crawford responded.
Liberal and Green candidates Murray Todd and Donovan Cavers also stopped by the party to offer congratulations.
In the end, McLeod managed to not only gain votes in 2011, but increase her overall percentage of the vote in the riding.
In 2008, the MP received 25,209 votes, or 46 per cent of the popular vote.