Liberals from coast to coast watch as Justin Trudeau sweeps into Prime Minister's office
The Liberal red wave started on the East Coast and never let up.
Canadians officially, and overwhelmingly, said goodbye to the Harper government and welcomed Justin Trudeau and the Liberals as their new leaders.
The Liberals won a majority government with 182 seats, 99 for the Conservatives, 41 for the NDP, 10 for the Bloc and 1 for the Green Party.
The atmosphere in the lower levels of the Hume hotel was one of excitement and relief, as the Liberal party won an unexpected majority government and ousted the Conservatives in numbers nobody saw coming.
With tears in his eyes, an astounded and ecstatic Don Johnston moved from person to person, handing out hugs and handshakes as everyone in the room erupted with elation as the results poured in over the television.
“This is what a three month campaign, in a 64,000 square kilometer riding does in terms of energy,” Johnston said.
“To see this, this is so good for Canada, and so exciting,” he continued, as the seats for his party continued to rise in count midway through the evening.
“It’s amazing, and this early they’re picking up the trend. We’ve all heard that there’s no way a liberal can ever win here, and that may or may not be true,” Johnston said.
“But in any case, our first goal tonight was that we would have a Liberal government.”
Johnston expressed his thoughts earlier in the night while Wayne Stetski of the NDP and incumbent David Wilks battled it out all night for bragging rights in Kootenay-Columbia riding, like two prize fighters going toe to toe for 15 rounds.
Johnston was out of the running early in Kootenay-Columbia, hovering around 20 percent of the vote in the riding.
“We now know we’re going to have that, I would love to be part of that but even if that doesn’t happen, we’re very proud of the campaign we ran and the issues that we got out there,” he said.
“We’re proud of the way we did it. So, it’s a win-win.
As expected, the race in Kootenay-Columbia came down, as always, to the NDP and the Conservatives.
However, the numbers appear to indicate that while NDP supporters remained steady, the Conservatives lost a good chunk to Johnston and his Liberals.
Back in 2000, 2004, Liberals in the East-Kootenays, got 15-18%. But with the last two elections, we ran with an 87-year-old, darling individual, we got much less; so the highest that the Liberals have got in the riding for the last 15 years has been about 18%.
The fact that Don got 20% is the best thing the Liberals have seen in the last two decades in this riding,” said Brian May, Communications Director for Don Johnston’s campaign.
May suggested that those increased numbers came voters who left the Conservative camp and came over to the Liberals.
“None of the NDP vote was lost to the Liberals, the Conservative vote was,” May said.
“Right now we’re just happy that Don got 20%. That means people were listening to the platforms and listening to a good candidate, and that’s important to us as we ran the same campaign here that we ran nationally.”