Voters in the newly formed riding of Cloverdale-Langley City decided to go with the national flow on Monday night, electing Liberal John Aldag to be their representative in Ottawa.
During a celebration at the Holiday Inn hotel in Cloverdale, about 50 supporters sang ‘Na Na, Goodbye,’ as Aldag was declared victorious, ahead of second place finisher, Conservative Dean Drysdale.
Speaking to The Times shortly afterward, Aldag said he is “excited, honoured and humbled” to be elected in the new riding.
“All of those things that come to mind when somebody is selected by people through a vote.
“This is my first time and it’s an amazing feeling,” said Aldag.
The new MP said he is most excited to meet with constituents and talk about their priorities.
“I’ve been doing it for almost two years now, and I have a sense of what the issues are, but this now actually means we can start framing what our priorities are,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to actually hearing from our leader about timelines, so we can start implementing our investments and infrastructure.
“This is going to be about getting a better plan going.”
Aldag began his campaign in December, 2013 after stepping down from his job in the federal government. In that time, he estimated, he knocked on 33,000 doors and walked more than 1,000 kms on his way to Monday night’s victory.
“We knew it was going to be a tough, tough slog in Langley and Surrey and South of the Fraser for the Liberals to come in,” Aldag said in a thank you speech to his supporters.
“I look forward to serving all of you in this room, but I also look forward to serving everybody else who didn’t vote for me today, because I think that’s the kind of community that we need to bring to Parliament. Tonight it’s all a fresh slate.”
And while the room was elated with victory cheers, there was an emotional moment when Aldag thanked Elections Canada and one of his supporters for helping a 20-year-old cancer patient “grant her last wish which was to vote for the Liberals” before passing away on Saturday.
“I also have to say, and I’m going to get a little bit emotional here, the discussions I’ve had with people over the last year, and the trust that they’ve put in me, I think a lot of people forget what that means,” he said.
“It’s a special thing, I think we tend to take it for granted.”
– files from Brenda Anderson
Photos by Miranda Gathercole. From top: John Aldag’s wife, Elaine, wipes away a tear as her husband says a thank you speech to his Liberal supporters. Liberals at the Holiday Inn hotel in Cloverdale erupted into cheers when Aldag was announced the winner of the Cloverdale-Langley City riding Monday night.