Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam MP Ron McKinnon is back for a third term, having secured his federal seat in the new Liberal minority government under Justin Trudeau.
McKinnon, 70, got a boost in his re-election campaign last Monday — in the final stretch of the race — when the Liberal leader made a whistle stop in the riding.
Tonight (Monday), McKinnon took the lead early in the count and kept a steady edge over his three contenders: the Conservatives’ Katerina Anastasiadis; Port Coquitlam Coun. Laura Dupont, who represented the NDP; and the PPC’s Kimberly Brundell.
McKinnon, who chaired the standing committee on health during the COVID-19 pandemic, went to Samz Pub after his victory to thank his team and volunteers, as he did in 2019.
At around 10:45 p.m. — with 90 per cent of the polls in, and at a 38.4 per cent result over Anastasiadis’ 30.6 per cent and Dupont’s 26.6 per cent — the incumbent told the Tri-City News he was pleased with the outcome.
“It’s a great honour to do this, and it’s worthwhile work,” he said. “We had a great team and they did a phenomenal amount.”
“That’s the magic behind these campaigns.”
But McKinnon said while the win is sweet, the newly formed government has some big challenges ahead to tackle — i.e., the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, affordable housing and the $10-a-day childcare program that was announced last month in Coquitlam by Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan.
Asked about dropping the writ during the fourth wave of the pandemic, McKinnon argued that an election was necessary to reset the direction of the country.
He said that he took criticism for the leader’s move while on the campaign trail, “but, frankly, it’s a democracy. It’s time, after such monumental changes, to get a new mandate. It’s an opportunity for Canadians to weigh in.”
He added, “Every time you call an election, it’s a risk. It’s a vote, not a punishment or reward. It’s a decision by the voter about where they want the government to go.”
Specifically, McKinnon said, he looks forward to having provincial agreements in place for new pharmacare programs across Canada. Last month, Prince Edward Island inked a deal with the feds to accelerate the implementation of a national universal pharmacare, aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs.
“I want to see that delivered across the country,” he said. “It will be huge for seniors, and I think all of Canadians will benefit from it.”
Meanwhile, Anastasiadis, the executive director of the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, declined to comment to the Tri-City News Monday night; however, she took to social media to concede and, in a tweet, congratulated McKinnon on his re-election.
“Thank you to everyone who came out to vote in Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam,” she wrote. “I appreciate all of those who trusted me with their vote. I want to congratulate Ron McKinnon. And a special thank you to my campaign team for their hard work and dedication!”
Dupont and Brundell also did not respond to a request for comment on Monday night.
The voter turnout for the riding was 52.13 per cent (not including electors who registered on Monday).
In 2019, McKinnon won 34.69 per cent over the Conservatives’ Nicholas Insley, who scored 34.01 per cent; the NDP’s Christina Gower took 23 per cent.
The riding has 93,440 registered electors, in a riding with 123,576 residents.