By Lawrence Powell
After a long and exhausting campaign, Greg Kerr quietly accepted victory in West Nova in the company of several dozen Conservative supporters Monday evening, May 2, at the Annapolis Basin Conference Centre, thanking his campaign volunteers and the voters who had the faith to return him as their Member of Parliament.
With all of the 223 polls reporting, Kerr had 20,206 votes and Liberal candidate Robert Thibault had 15,712 votes. NDP candidate George Barron had 5,631 votes and Ross Johnson of the Green Party had 1,487 votes.
Well-wishers at the election night gathering in Cornwallis Park said Kerr had worked hard for West Nova since he came to office in 2008 and his strengthened win this time around was a reflection of what he's accomplished in the large riding.
Kerr said he’ll take a couple of days to rest up from the campaign and he'll be right back to work.
"It's been a really interesting five-week campaign, and certainly tonight is the culmination of what it's all about," said Kerr in an interview. "The voters made their choice, and I think what we sensed through the campaign – although it flipped upside down a couple of times – was that people believed in what we were trying to get done in West Nova -- nothing flashy, just sort of consistently working with communities."
Kerr said that emerging from a global recession also played on the minds of voters, and they had faith in the federal Conservative strategy towards complete recovery.
"I think they (voters) believe that we have to do something to continue stabilizing the economy," he said. "And they expect more of the same. They don't expect anything flashy in a budget when you’re facing deficits so they don't look for brand new programs as much as making sure we're supporting the important ones there, particularly like health.
"But I think there is an expectation that we ought to continue to work with the communities, with community leadership, and certainly all those people who have made suggestions of how do we grow the economy, how do we help the private sector, and how do we help the little people in our rural part of the world that need that kind of support?"
Concerning party leadership, Kerr lauded Stephen Harper as a champion for communities and the Conservative direction into the future as an aid to his campaign in West Nova.
"I think the question of leadership always comes up, we understand that, and I fully believe that Stephen Harper (and I think the results show that) was helpful to me, helpful to West Nova," said Kerr. "And the reason I say that is that even talking future plans he said when the deficit is under control then we can talk about areas where our priorities would be."
- Read more special articles :
- - Conservatives win majority government
- - Kerr wins West Nova riding
- - Brison wins Kings-Hants
- - Keddy re-elected, Conservatives gain majority
Kerr said West Nova voters may not have had as much faith in Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, especially after his statement that of course the Liberals were going to replace the ferry in Yarmouth.
"It's a very complicated difficult issue," Kerr said in reference to the ferry. "It takes a lot of cooperation, and a lot of players to be involved. And we'll continue to partner with the communities to make sure we can help them find the long-term solution."
Kerr said the Conservative leader is key to the well-being of less populated areas of the country, such as West Nova.
"I think Mr. Harper's greatest strength, where it helps us, is that rural areas are a bit more vulnerable, and his whole thrust and belief is that the opportunity comes from stability in the economy, from opportunity to invest, to having low tax rates -- it's a whole package of things that may not be exciting but at the end of the day provide more opportunity for ordinary Canadians," said Kerr. "We heard that a lot, for instance in the splitting of pensions that was done quite a while ago for seniors -- that it left as much as $3,000 or $4,000 in couples' pockets."
Kerr said he owes a lot to the people who helped with his campaign.
"There's no question elections are won by the great people you have around you and I have a wonderful campaign manager in Arnold LeBlanc and a lot of volunteers who put terrific hours in," he said. "And any candidate who is lucky enough to have people show up and put the time and effort in they do, have that kind of belief in what we're trying to get done – it makes the job so much easier and helps us reach our objective."
"And at the same time, you know I have got to thank the voters out there for putting their trust and faith back in me as their MP," Kerr said. "And I certainly will honour that trust and work as hard as I can to continue to get the job done for them."
"We'll probably be back to work pretty quickly," Kerr said. "A couple of days to get rested up and I'm sure we'll be right back at the work that's ahead of us."