Although the rest of Canada voted overwhelmingly for the Liberals, locally voters decided to re-elect a familiar face to be their voice in Ottawa.
After what was the closest electoral race in the riding in a decade, Kitchener-Conestoga Conservative candidate Harold Albrecht will spend another four years as a Member of Parliament.
Coming in a close second was Liberal candidate Tim Louis. Only 351 votes separated the two candidates and results weren’t made official by Elections Canada until well into the wee hours of the morning after election day.
Nearly 70 per cent of Kitchener-Conestoga’s registered voters turned cast their ballots, putting Louis and Albrecht in a neck-and-neck race as polls started reporting results.
Albrecht never lost confidence while waiting for the polls to report their tallies, saying he always thought the result would be the same.
“It was a long, tough road, but I always believed that I could win this election, I really did,” he said from his campaign results party at the Williamsburg Arms in Kitchener. “And that’s proven true tonight.”
Louis had a tougher fight ahead of him. In the last federal election, Liberal candidate Robert Rosehart lost the election by over 18,000 ballots. This time, Louis gave Albrecht a run for his money, narrowing the gap to less than 400 votes.
He says it is all about the hard work of volunteers and voters wanting to see something different from their government.
“They (were) pulling for me. They want change,” he said from his election celebration at the Blue Moon in Petersburg. “It means that our message is working and that we have what people wanted.”
Even with such a small margin of difference between the two leading parties, Louis says there isn’t anything he would change about his campaign.
“There is not one thing I would have changed. I am so proud of everyone, the positive message, the positive campaign, so many volunteers investing so much,” he said the day after the election. “There is nothing else I would do.”
James Villeneuve ran under the orange banner for the New Democrat Party. He came in third once all the results were in, with 4,653 votes – nearly 10 per cent of the ballots cast.
He says the result is all determined by the constituents.
“I think we did everything we could,” he said. “When it all boils down to it, it was up to the voters.”
As for the federal Liberal majority?
“They made a lot of promises and I am sure that everybody is going to be watching to make sure that they hold them to the fire and make sure that they come through with what they said,” he said.
Louis has a more positive outlook on his party leader winning the highest government seat in the country.
“(People) realize that we shouldn’t be dividing Canadians, we should be uniting Canadians,” he said. “It feels fantastic. You can see polls from coast to coast to coast and Canadians want change and we’re just happy to bring that to them.”