Federal election night had a different vibe for incumbent MP Mark Warawa.
By 8:45 p.m. Monday, Warawa’s camp had declared the Tory veteran the winner of the re-aligned Langley-Aldergrove riding.
In what was essentially a two-candidate race, Warawa outlasted Liberal Leon Jensen.
For his part, Jensen was pleased with the race he ran and the challenge he gave to Warawa.
“I thought it would be a very even contest here,” Jensen said.
In the last few days, Jensen said everyone could see the Liberal majority coming but no one wanted to come out and say it.
“I think it’s a vote for the plan we put out there,” he said.
Although Warawa won handily, Jensen came closer than most recent challengers to Warawa in an area that has sent Progressive Conservative, Reform, and Conservative MPs to Ottawa. Warawa received 45.5 per cent of the vote, while Jensen took 36.5 per cent and Margot Sangster of the NDP took 12.8 per cent.
While happy to be re-elected in what was a much closer result than 2011, it was a somewhat bittersweet night for Warawa, who for the last 11 years has served as the Conservative MP for the Langley riding.
That’s because the Conservatives were handily defeated nation-wide by the Liberals, who will form a majority government.
“Our country does need our prayers,” Warawa told his supporters. “What [Liberal leader] Justin Trudeau has said that he is going to do to Canada… he needs to pass legislation, he needs to be accountable.”
Warawa said he does not want to see Trudeau and his Liberal party raising our taxes, running deficits, and changing laws, “to make Canada worse.”
“We need to continue moving forward, creating jobs, and keeping our taxes low, and with your help, we’re going to make sure that he hears our message,” Warawa said.
Warawa said he will work with the Liberals to make sure they are accountable, hear “wise advice,” and do the “right thing” to protect Canadian jobs and the economy.
He said he will represent the Langley-Aldergrove riding “with great honour.”
Referencing the Liberals winning a majority, Warawa told the Langley Advance, “Canadians have spoken, we live in the greatest democracy in the world, and I will respect that decision and work constructively with the government that Canadians have elected.”
Asked if it was a bittersweet night, Warawa said, “There are a lot of incredible people, who have served Canada well, who didn’t get re-elected and that’s disappointing, but, again, we have to respect the decision that Canadians made.”
Moving forward, key issues locally that Warawa plans to focus on are transportation and infrastructure.
“We just announced the 216th Street interchange, that was the No. 1 priority of local government, so it is in the budget, and Justin Trudeau promised infrastructure dollars,” Warawa said. “I will hold him to that. We have the money in the budget for that.”
As well, Warawa said, “Langley has been shorted on what we need for public transit and so I’m hoping he [Trudeau] will honour the commitments that we’ve made for $700 million for getting rapid transit all the way from Surrey into Langley, because it is needed.”
Warawa also said he’s “thrilled” about future development of Gloucester Estates which he said will bring jobs to that area of Aldergrove.
Finally, Warawa opined, the Trans Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim countries, is good for Canada.
“I look forward to us debating it in the house and I fully expect that the Liberals may not giving us the credit that Ed Fast deserves, but it’s good for Canada, it means jobs for Canada, and it means a stronger economy for Canada,” Warawa said.
It was a somber night as NDP members gathered at the Steelworkers Hall in Walnut Grove to watch the results come in with candidate Margot Sangster.
“I was hoping that they were wrong,” Sangster said of the polls that had showed the Liberals ahead and the NDP slipping in the last days of the campaign.
“In my view, it was a vote against Mr. Harper,” she said of the Liberal majority victory.
Sangster was greeted with a standing ovation from her supporters and volunteers when she spoke to concede defeat.
A recent arrival in Langley, Sangster isn’t ruling out another run sometime in the future.
“There’s a provincial election in two years,” she noted.
Longtime Langley NDPer and past candidate Shane Dyson said he would love to see Sangster continue in Langley.
“She’s proven to be an asset to the community,” he said.