NORTH DURHAM/KAWARTHA: After a short federal election campaign, residents of three local ridings have decided to re-elect their representatives.
On Monday, September 20th, Jamie Schmale (Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock), Erin O’Toole (Durham) and Jennifer O’Connell were all declared elected.
With 261 out of 262 polls reported, Conservative candidate Jamie Schmale won his riding with a total of 33,826 votes, which is 53 percent of the votes tallied. Mr. Schmale had over 19,000 more votes as of press time than his nearest competitor, Liberal candidate Judi Forbes.
On election night, Mr. Schmale reflected on what it was like campaigning during a pandemic.
“It was definitely a different experience campaigning during a pandemic. Obviously, there were a lot more protocols and safety procedures to follow. But we were able to knock [on] well over 10,000 doors, and I think most people were quite happy that people were trying to reach out to them and get their thoughts and see where they landed on certain issues. Obviously, at the beginning, I thought the election was unnecessary. Having said that, we’re into it now; on the last day, we had a lot to say about the issues, and I think it was a fairly well-run campaign on all sides locally,” he said.
Mr. Schmale noted the issue of access to high-speed internet is a concern he hopes to tackle with the next government.
“As always, access to reliable high-speed internet remains probably the number one concern. We’ve always known high-speed internet was a problem before the pandemic. More people are working from home during and after it, putting a strain on the existing capacity. Clearly, we need to get more people hooked up faster.”
He added “jobs and the economy” as other things he wants to focus on.
In a close race in the Pickering-Uxbridge riding, Liberal candidate Jennifer O’Connell has been declared re-elected. With 155 of the 161 polls reported, Ms. O’Connell had 25,204 votes, over 5,500 more than Conservative candidate Jacob Mantle.
The current leader of the Conservative Party and Durham’s longtime MP Erin O’Toole will also be returning to Ottawa. With 216 of the 217 polls reported, Mr. O’Toole was declared elected with 30,443 votes, 11,000 more than Liberal challenger Jonathan Giancroce.
“Tonight, Canadians did not give Mr. Trudeau the majority mandate he wanted. In fact, Canadians sent him back with another minority at the cost of $600 million and deeper divisions in our great country,” Mr. O’Toole told supporters in Oshawa.
Overall, Canada is headed for another Liberal minority government.
Dan Cearns, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Standard Newspaper