Federal Election 2011
OTTAWA THIS WEEK - EAST - May 5, 2011
Haché encouraged by rising NDP numbers DAN PLOUFFE Both the defeated candidates in Ottawa-Vanier, Trevor Haché of the NDP and Conservative Rem Westland, sounded more like silver and bronze medallists than election losers in their comments about the results. Haché was encouraged by his party’s all-time best showing in the riding – surpassing the previous high by around 3,000 votes – while Westland was pleased to see Bélanger’s winning total shrink, not to mention the Conservatives’ success nationwide. “Everyone’s eye has been focused on the national numbers,” Westland explained at his campaign headquarters on Beachwood Avenue. “The party that we all represent here has done extremely well, so the overall mood has been very, very positive. It’s a campaign that’s worked almost beyond expectations.” The national results felt bittersweet to Haché, who believes the Conservative majority will result in regressive policies that will negatively impact health care, education, affordable housing, the environment and will make life less affordable for those already struggling. “I’m quite worried,” acknowledged Haché, who nearly doubled his vote total compared to his first campaign in 2008 and led the NDP to its first-ever second-place result in Ottawa-Vanier.
community continuously until next election. Westland shared that view, emphasizing that a presence between campaigns is the big key if they are ever to knock off the Liberals. “We have to keep our agenda moving forward so that when elections come, it’s not the first time that we get introduced,” noted the former Canadian Forces officer. “It’s a question of maintaining the profile of our associations locally, and I think that’s true for all the parties.” SPLASH OF GREEN IN RED RIDING
Photo by Dan Plouffe
Even though he finished second in Ottawa Vanier, NDP candidate Trevor Hache was proud he was able to double his vote tally from the 2008 campaign and that his party will form the official opposition. “But I do take some comfort in the fact that Jack’s going to be there every day in Parliament giving Stephen Harper hell for all the disasters that he’s going to create in this country.” Despite the Liberals’ history in the area, Haché indicated he believes that individuals in the riding do share the NDP’s core values, but that his party’s job is to mobilize more people who
are “disaffected with the political system” to get out and vote. “I think Ottawa-Vanier should be an NDP riding and it’s only a matter of time before it is,” said the 34-year-old Ecology Ottawa policy coordinator, who was struck by his door-to-door visits to affordable housing residents during the campaign. “It just broke my heart to talk to so many people who would
PM ‘will be expected to listen as well as govern’ From LIBERAL on page 1 “I saw the first wave across Atlantic Canada and thought, oh, this is going to be interesting. When I saw the second wave, it was obvious that they were going to be the opposition,” Bélanger said. Liberal supporters who came to the Pineview golf club to support Bélanger watched as NDP numbers slowly climbed. Ottawa-Vanier Liberal MPP Madeleine Meilleur came to support her longtime friend and expressed shock as the Liberal numbers trickled in. As Meilleur and Bélanger watched Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff ’s concession speech, Meilleur hugged Bélanger and told him she wanted to cry. “I am just so shocked, but I guess this is what the people want,” Meilleur said.
Other Liberal supporters also expressed shock when they saw the Conservative majority, with an NDP official opposition. Overbrook resident Denis Rackus said he felt it is now a good time for the Liberal party to start from the ground up. “This is a good opportunity to rebuild the party. It has to be rebuilt,” Rackus said. Bob Azzi indicated he was surprised by the numbers but happy that Bélanger held the Ottawa-Vanier riding. “He is a great MP. He is close to this community and I believe he will continue to work hard,” Azzi said. As one of 35 Liberals in the House of Commons, Bélanger said he will work hard for his riding as he has in the past. “I want first to thank the electors in Ottawa-Vanier for the
seventh mandate. I will go there as I have in the past and proudly work for our country and in a cooperative manner. “I will continue fighting for what I promised to fight for: A bridge – but not in Kettle Island, proper development of CFB Rockcliffe and the continuance of treating our civil servants professionally,” Bélanger said. He also thanked his team and had some words to spare for the new leader of the opposition. “I want to congratulate Jack Layton for becoming the leader of the official opposition, and for him I am also going to go there to cooperate,” Bélanger said. The long time MP also congratulated Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his win. “He has the faith of the future
actually have a better life if an NDP government was in power, but who decided not to vote because they’re so upset with the way politics is done in this country.” Haché added that he’s “open to the idea of running a third time – and hopefully the third time will be a charm,” but that it will be crucial to keep his “great team” involved in the
One of the biggest cheers of the night from Haché’s supporters at Derringers Restaurant on Montreal Road came when TVs showed Green Party leader Elizabeth May carried a comfortable lead in her Saanich-Gulf Islands riding. Westland viewed May’s triumph as “a positive for Canadian democracy” even though it meant the defeat of a Conservative cabinet minister. “A competition of ideas is what it’s all about,” he said. “She expresses her ideas clearly, and now obviously more loudly because she’ll have that opportunity in the House of Commons – and that’s a good thing.” Green Party candidate Caroline Rioux received just over five per cent of the popular vote in Ottawa-Vanier for a total of 2,716 ballots.
Ottawa - Vanier Candidate
Mauril Bélanger, Liberal Party
Trevor Haché, New Democratic Party
Rem Westland, Conservative Party
Caroline Rioux, Green Party
Christian Legeais, Marxist-Leninist Party
Source: Elections Canada.
of Canada in his hands and as such he will be expected to listen as well as govern,” Bélanger said. He also took a moment to sing
happy birthday to his wife and gave her a bouquet of flowers. He promised to start tacking the to-do list as early as Tuesday morning.
Ottawa - Orleans