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Re-elected McKinnon pledges to fight for climate change, affordability

Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam MP Ron McKinnon spent the day after Monday night’s close election race running errands, attending to his sick wife in the hospital and cleaning out his campaign office.
MP Ron McKinnon waits for election results in his campaign office in downtown Port Coquitlam Monday night.

• Ron McKinnon, Liberal: 19,614 (34.6% of votes cast)
• Nicholas Insley, Conservative: 19,275 (34%)
• Christina Gower, NDP: 13,073 (23.1%)
• Brad Nickason, Green: 3,889 (6.9%)
• Roland Spornicu, PPC: 687 (1.2%)
• Dan Iova, VCP: 96 (0.2%)



Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam MP Ron McKinnon spent the day after Monday night’s close election race running errands, attending to his sick wife in the hospital and cleaning out his campaign office.

The backbencher also fielded a call from the party whip’s office to congratulate him on retaining the seat for the Liberals while many of his Grit colleagues fell in ridings across the country.

But as the party licked its wounds this week after losing its majority government status, McKinnon said he looks forward to returning to Ottawa to get back to work for his constituents.

“It’s going to be interesting working in a new environment,” he told The Tri-City News Wednesday, referring to the shift in power, “but we’ll continue to do the best for Canada.”

It's McKinnon’s second win but, as of Wednesday morning, he said he had yet to receive a concession phone call from his closest challenger, Conservative Nicholas Insley, who lost by a mere 339 votes.

(Insley did not return repeated requests from The Tri-City News for an interview this week. In a statement issued Tuesday through his campaign manager, Kelsey Shein, Insley thanked the other candidates for putting their names forward and congratulated McKinnon.)

On election night, McKinnon called the campaign “very intensive and a lot of hard work,” and pledged to follow through on concerns he heard from constituents while knocking on doors during the campaign: climate change, housing and affordability.

Wednesday, he also reiterated his promise to continue to lobby for federal electoral reform.

As for capital projects underway in the Tri-Cities that are in need of injections of federal government cash — such as the Port Coquitlam community centre and the Kinsight Tri-Cities Children’s Centre — McKinnon said he would advocate for the new infrastructure works as well as for the expansion of public transit, for which the Lower Mainland mayors have been pushing.


MP Ron McKinnon at his campaign office on election night with his team. PHOTO: MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS


Meanwhile, the NDP’s Christina Gower, who took 23.1% of the vote (a drop of 4.15% for the party over its 2015 result), spent election night in hospital waiting for surgery after a cyst burst. From her hospital bed, Gower expressed thanks to her volunteers and family members.

Her campaign struggled with limited funds and had to move its office near the end of the campaign but the psychiatric nurse said her team bounced back from the setbacks.

“The campaign was truly grassroots," Gower told The Tri-City News via text from her a bed in the RCH emergency room. "We have formed an amazing team that plans to stick together and build this riding. We all felt like we could win tonight but if we don’t, we definitely will next time.”

Tuesday, the Green Party’s Brad Nickason also told The Tri-City News that a strong team of volunteers, a clear message and a positive campaign helped his party win 6.9% of the vote in the riding, or 3,889 votes, while nationally the party earned 6.49% of the popular vote.

“The Green Party saw the votes go up,” he said. “I think that’s because we kept it positive and we kept the message clear about who we are, we weren’t trying to speak to anybody else’s policies except the places they don’t meet the IPCS [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] targets.”

As with the rest of Canada, Maxime Bernier's People's Party of Canada was a non-issue in Coquitlam-PoCo, with candidate Roland Spornicu picking up just 687 votes, or 1.2% of total votes cast in the riding.

– with files from Diane Strandberg and Gary McKenna