Change was the operative word on election night in Ontario, but Londoners had a different idea of what that change looked like than the rest of the province.
The New Democrats swept the city, winning in London West, London North Centre and London—Fanshawe.
For Peggy Sattler in London West and Teresa Armstrong in London—Fanshawe, it’s their third terms as MPP’s. Terence Kernaghan handed the NDP their first win in London North Centre since Marion Boyd held the riding from 1990 to 1999 when it was called London Centre.
Elgin—Middlesex—London went to Jeff Yurek for a third time. Yurek has represented the riding since 2011.
Sattler, Armstrong and Kernaghan benefitted from the collapse of the Liberal vote in London.
In London West, Sattler saw a 15 point increase from four years ago rising from 40 per cent to 55 per cent support. Jonathan Hughes, the Liberal candidate in the riding garnered only 9 per cent of the vote, down 15 per cent from what Nick Steinburg received in 2014.
“I can say that I have made quite a difference as a third-party MPP, so I’m looking forward to ramping that up as a member of a very strong opposition,” said Sattler.
Sattler says its important to add Kernaghan to London’s roster of NDP MPP’s.
“In London we’ve had these two bookends, we’ve had Teresa Armstrong in the east and Peggy Sattler in the west, and so I think it was just natural that Terence would fill in that middle piece and start to represent the city of London,” she said.
Progressive Conservative candidate Andrew Lawton, a former 980 CFPL talk show host, received 29 per cent of the vote, the same as Jeff Bennett in 2014.
“For me as a former candidate now, I can be very proud tonight as an Ontario taxpayer and an Ontario citizen, that the ideas that I spent the last two months championing are actually going to come to fruition in Ontario and that’s the reason I got into this race,” Lawton said.
Asked about his next steps, Lawton replied he didn’t know, and added three or four months ago he had no idea his life would be where it is now. “The one thing I’ve learned above anything else in the last couple months is that life can sometimes take you directions you don’t anticipate being on,” he said.
Kernaghan won London North Centre with 48 per cent support, defeating Susan Truppe of the Progressive Conservatives, a former MP in the riding, by nearly 20 points. Kernaghan’s election night showing is nearly 20 per cent better than what former London city councillor Judy Bryant did in 2014.
His success came at the expense of Kate Graham of the Liberals. Graham got only 15 per cent of the vote, down from the 35 per cent Deb Matthews won with four years ago. Matthews, the deputy premier, announced before the election she wouldn’t run for re-election after 15 years in government.
Graham says it’s time for the Liberal party to rebuild.
“I think the message is very clear here, the Liberal Party – we have to rebuild, we need to refocus. I have not a doubt in my mind that we will rise up again but we really need to hear the message of this evening and be able to change accordingly. That project, that’s not for the next election, that begins now and it’s something I’m really excited to be a part of,” she said.
Truppe, who placed second in the riding with 30 per cent of the vote, said she didn’t expect the results.
“It’s always Liberal or Conservative, Liberal, Conservative, Liberal, Progressive Conservative, so it’s very unusual that all of a sudden they would decide to go orange,” she said. “Perhaps those undecided decided to either not vote or they decided to vote orange, and also the Liberal vote collapsed so that was a big factor too.”
Asked what she would do next, Truppe said she hadn’t decided, noting that after working for the last year and a half, she might “relax for a month or so, and then decide what I might want to do.”
Armstrong also saw a slight increase from 2014, although not as great as what was seen in London West or London North Centre.
Armstrong’s support rose five per cent from 2014 to 55 per cent. Eric Weniger of the Progressive Conservatives also improved on 2014, grabbing 29 per cent of the vote. Both Armstrong and Weniger’s votes came at the expense of the Liberals.
Lawvin Hadisi got only eight per cent of the vote, down from the 19 per cent the party received in the last election.
The theme of the Liberal collapse played out in Elgin—Middlesex—London as well. Yurek jumped nine points from 2014 to 55 per cent while the NDP’s Amanda Stratton got 32 per cent of the vote, an increase of six points from four years ago. The Liberal candidate in the riding, Carlie Forsythe, scored only seven per cent of the vote, down from 20 per cent in 2014.
After seven years in opposition, Yurek is excited to make the transition to government.
“My wife and I looked at each other with a little relief and joy the fact that the people have put their trust in me again. I’m just, overwhelmed and thankful that not only I won again but the fact that we’re going to be a majority government,” he said.
Elsewhere, voters in Lambton—Kent—Middlesex sent Monte McNaughton back to Queen’s Park for a third term. McNaughton took 55 per cent of the vote, followed by the NDP’s Todd Case with 33 per cent, and the Liberals Mike Radan with just six per cent.
The Tories will also continue to dominate the ridings of Huron—Bruce, Perth—Wellington, and Sarnia—Lambton. Huron—Bruce’s Lisa Thompson was re-elected with 52 per cent of the vote, Perth—Wellington’s Randy Pettapiece with 50 per cent, and Sarnia—Lambton’s Bob Bailey with 52 per cent.
Thompson and Pettapiece will each serve third terms, while Bailey will serve a fourth.
West down Hwy. 401, Tory Rick Nicholls was re-elected for a third term in Chatham-Kent—Leamington with nearly 52 per cent of the vote, while east of London, voters in the Oxford riding will, for a seventh term, have the Ontario PC’s Ernie Hardeman as their provincial representative. Hardeman was first elected in 1995.
– Jaclyn Carbone, Andrew Graham, and Liny Lamberink contributed to this report.