Reclaims seat by almost 18,000 votes, while Doug Ford wins majority PC government again
By Echo/Times Staff
Longtime Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Laurie Scott has won a sixth term in Queen’s Park after Thursday night’s election.
As of midnight, all 98 Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock polls were reporting, and Scott had 52.75 per cent of the votes with 25,656 votes. NDP candidate Barbara Doyle came in second with 7,677 votes, nearly 16 per cent of the votes. Liberal Don McBey received 6,606 votes, or 13.58 per cent of the votes.
In the 2018 election, Scott took almost 57 per cent of ballots cast in the riding. By comparison in the 2014 election she took about 41 per cent.
“For the last four years, it’s been great in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock,” said Scott during her election night campaign party. “We’ve been able to attain many, many things. Four long-term care homes, more funding for hospitals, more internet. I’m very happy with how the last four years have gone and I’m very humbled and honoured to be representing Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock again.”
Scott, who was first elected in 2003, will be part of the majority PC government led by Doug Ford. A PC majority government was declared by the CTV decision desk just after 10 minutes of polls closing, and by the CBC decision desk within 20 minutes of polls closing.
Just after midnight on election night, Ontario’s New Democrat Party were elected or leading in 31 seats, regaining Official Opposition status. The Liberals, in third place, failed for a second time to secure official party status, winning or leading in eight seats, compared to seven seats in the 2018 election.
Both the NDP’s Andrea Horwath, who won her seat, and the Liberal’s Steven Del Duca, who was defeated in his riding, resigned as party leaders during their concession speeches.
“Lots of people were telling us they’re voting NDP for the first time ever,” said Barbara Doyle, HKLB NDP candidate, prior to the polls closing. “Provincially, everything that was broken pre-COVID was more broken post-COVID, such as healthcare and long-term care – it really highlighted how vulnerable we are.”
Don McBey, HKLB Liberal candidate, said he was happy with the campaign that the team ran.
“Coming from a third position, we wanted to make sure we covered the whole riding,” said McBey, prior to the polls closing. “We had some really good mailings and voter contact. Feedback from constituents was very positive. Big concerns about health care and long-term care from seniors, and for young people, affordable housing and daycare. With all-candidates meetings, they widen the discussion of policy, and the three-way discussions we had with the Green Party and NDP, we agree on so many things. It’s hard because we didn’t have the PC representative there to defend their position, which made the meetings awkward. I think there would’ve been a better campaign if there were more opportunities for all-candidates meetings, even if they were virtual.”
The Ontario Green party will have a seat in the provincial legislature again after leader Mike Schreiner won his Guelph riding. A closely-watched race for a potential second Green seat, in Parry Sound-Muskoka, ended in a PC win.
Tom Regina, a Haliburton resident, received 3,452 votes as the Green Party Ontario candidate, or 7.10 per cent of the vote.
Regina said he watched until the last vote came in.
“What a result overall, it feels overwhelming and surreal,” he said. “I got a lot of good response, personally and heard a lot of dissatisfaction with the premier and even for our incumbent, who is generally, well loved. I would not have predicted the way it went.”
Regina said he had a very small team and modest resources, but said taking that into consideration the HKLB Greens “did quite well; way more bang for our buck.”
“We would like to be able to keep our riding association going between election cycles so as to build a strong foundation of support for our next candidate,” he said. “The two election cycles we have been through recently have given us a wealth of experience to be able to get a jump on the next campaigns.”
Early data shows Thursday’s election saw the lowest voter turnout in history, with 43 per cent of eligible voters in the province casting a ballot, and just over 47 per cent of eligible voters in HKLB doing so.
“I sincerely hope that there is a realization that 60 per cent of the electorate did not vote for this formidable administration and that it does not create an even deeper divide within the political landscape and social culture,” Regina said.
Kerstin Kelly, the Ontario Party candidate, received 3,863 votes, or 7.94 per cent of the vote. Ben Prentice for the New Blue Party of Ontario received 866 votes, 1.78 per cent of the vote, and Gene Balfour for the Ontario Libertarian Party received 516 votes, 1.06 per cent of the vote.
“We were in Haliburton and stopped in all the doors in town,” Kelly told the Echo/Times. “We got a great reception in Haliburton. The people there have been particularly hard hit because tourism is such a big factor in that area. With being closed down for two years, that was hard on businesses.”
A press release sent earlier on election day noted Kelly announced her candidacy in March for the provincial election and was expecting a win that night.
“I’m expecting an upset in this riding,” Kelly said.
An Independent candidate was elected in Haldimand-Norfolk and will be the only Independent MPP in the legislature.
According to Elections Ontario, preliminary numbers for voter turnout throughout the province was 43.38 per cent, compared to 58 per cent in the 2018 election, the highest it had been in nearly 20 years, and 51 per cent in 2014.
Earlier in the week, preliminary figures released by Elections Ontario indicated 1,066,545 votes had been cast during 10 days of advance voting, representing about 9.92 per cent of eligible voters.
Voter turnout was 47.63 per cent in the Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock district.