"The future looks bright,” said Bob Maniuk, campaign manager for Keith Benn and Sarnia-Lambton Riding Association president for the New Blue Party. “You always hope for the best, but for a first time outing, I am happy with the campaign.”
The party managed to nominate candidates in all 124 ridings but failed to win any seats. It received 2.72 percent of all votes province wide with Sarnia-Lambton candidate Keith Benn coming in fourth in the riding with 2,719 votes, amounting to 6.8 percent
It wasn’t hard to get people involved with the fledgling party, Maniuk said, as there were enough unhappy people, if we were able to get in front of people and they heard the party’s message, they were more willing to support us.
He said people are not happy with the federal or provincial governments, suggesting the Premier Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservative government has “behaved like Liberals.” He said the government should have paid more attention to long term care, instead it put a lock down in place and what is happening in long term care is still not fixed.
He even took a swipe at the federal Conservative Party, saying former party leader, Erin O’Toole branded himself as a True Blue Conservative when he was running for the party leadership, but once he won, people found out he was a Red Tory.
One of the criticisms of the New Blue Party is it was splitting the vote. This is something Maniuk rejects saying the Progressive Conservative Party has “slid right to the right,” leaving the New Blue Party as the only right wing party left.
The Progressive Conservative party has increased its number of seats and strengthened its majority government. “There will be more of the same,” said Maniuk, in the next four years, but feels the New Blue Party is well positioned to build on its momentum in the next election. “We are already looking to the next one,” he said.
This was Benn’s first attempt in the political realm, but Maniuk has served on the Town of Petrolia Council and ran for the Petrolia mayor. He was also involved with the Family Coalition Party in the 1980s.
Blake Ellis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent