Popular Liberal keeps her seat in St. Paul’s
Bennett bucks trend as other Liberals lost seats
(Written for the Town Crier May 2)
May 2 was a bittersweet night for Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett, who held onto her St. Paul’s seat but saw her once-dominant party face defeat of historic proportions.
Bennett, a popular Liberal member of parliament and former doctor, obtained about 40 percent of the vote. Though she still garnered a healthy lead, even Bennett felt the sting of Liberal backlash. In the past five federal elections, she’s garnered over 50 percent of the vote.
But the mood was decidedly sombre at her campaign party at Grano Restaurant as she and other staunch supporters watched Liberal incumbents across the country lose seat after seat.
“It’s congratulations and condolences all at the same time,” Bennett said to the crowd, acknowledging her win and the devastating Liberal defeat across the country.
Bennett has represented St. Paul’s since 1997 and has been a member of government, in opposition. She now finds herself in a new position of being part of the third party as the Liberals dropped to 34 seats nationally.
Bennett said she was committed to re-building her decimated party.
“It’s hard for all of us to see the strongholds slip away,” Bennett said. “We will spend the next little while figuring out what happened.”
Second place went to lawyer and Conservative candidate Maureen Harquail with just over 32 percent of the votes.
At the Fox and Fiddle, Harquail was upbeat when she spoke about Conservative leader Stephen Harper who will keep his job as prime minister and yet again form the government, this time as a majority.
“I’m thrilled by what we accomplished in St. Paul’s,” she said. “I see it as a victory, I am proud of my team.”
Harquail said on election night she plans to head back to her job as a lawyer.
While the NDP increased its seats nationally, St. Paul’s has been traditionally held by either the Liberals or Conservatives.
First-time federal candidate William Molls, 23, pulled in 22 percent for the NDP. Green party candidate Jim McGarva obtained 4.6 percent, while Libertarian John Kittredge received less than one percent. Results as of press time.