Ed Fast is going back to Parliament and says politicians from all parties will need to work together to make the next government succeed.
The longtime Conservative MP for Abbotsford won a fifth term Monday, grabbing more than half of all votes to easily outdistance his Liberal and NDP competitors.
Fast, like Conservatives across the Fraser Valley, grew his vote from 2015, and claimed 52 per cent of ballots.
Liberal Seamus Heffernan (21.5 per cent), the NDP’s Madeleine Sauve (17 per cent) and Green Party candidate Stephen Fowler (7.5 per cent) all finished well back. Two per cent of ballots were cast for Locke Duncan of the People’s Party, while the Christian Heritage Party’s Aeriol Alderking won 0.5 per cent of votes.
As results began to trickle in, Heffernan’s campaign manager Kris Eriksen conceded that the Fast team was a “juggernaut,” and that the campaign had been an uphill battle.
Having had his victory announced, Fast appeared at a party for supporters just before 9 p.m. Speaking to a crowd of more than 150, the former trade minister applauded the Conservatives’ local wins, while acknowledging that the Liberals had won the most seats and will likely form a minority government.
Fast said Canada’s standing in the world fell under the Trudeau government and international relations suffered. But although Andrew Scheer would later speak about the Conservatives waiting to pick up the pieces after the next government falls, Fast said Parliamentarians of all stripes need to come together to make things work.
“As a nation, we can do so much better. But tonight Canadians have chosen an uncertain path forward that will require all of us MPs in Ottawa from all parties to work together like we’ve never worked together before.”
He continued: “Minority governments happen only occasionally in Canadian political history. This is one of those nights, so it’s going to require a lot of working together and a lot of putting a little bit of water in your wine, and I’m hoping that I will be able to be part of that process. We have our work cut out for ourselves to establish a government and come forward with a policy agenda that will properly serve the interest of Canadians.
“I plan to be very engaged in the affairs of this new government and I will hold them to account both for their words and their actions, because promises made should be promises kept. We haven’t seen that in the past and they better keep their promises this time.”
Asked later about how he hopes to be involved, Fast spoke about his wish to take part in committee work where government policies are debated.
He said he hopes to work to “make sure the new government is accountable for its actions and delivers on the promises it made to Canadians.”
For Heffernan, who watched the results come in flanked by more than 100 supporters and fellow Liberal candidate Jati Sidhu, the key was for the Liberals to retain government.
“The top priority was we’re going to keep government, regardless of whether I win or Jati wins or whoever wins. And it looks like we’re going to do that, and I have nothing but faith in the national leadership,” Heffernan said.
Voter turnout was 65 per cent in the Abbotsford riding, down from 70 per cent four years ago.