The Liberal wave that swept across Canada on election day missed southeast Saskatchewan and southwest Manitoba, as ridings in the region remained steadfastly Conservative.
In Souris-Moose Mountain, Conservative Robert Kitchen easily won the riding with 70 per cent of the vote, far outpacing the NDP with 14 per cent, the Liberals a few votes behind but also with 14 per cent, and Bob Deptuck of the Green Party, who received 994 votes, or three per cent of the total. Kitchen’s 70 per cent of the vote is the largest majority for any candidate in Manitoba or Saskatchewan.
In Yorkton-Melville, which includes Tantallon and Spy Hill, Conservative Cathay Wagantall won with 59 per cent of the vote, to 20 per cent for the NDP, 18 per cent for the Liberals, and three per cent for the Greens.
In Brandon-Souris, which includes Elkhorn and Kola, Conservative Larry McGuire won with 50 per cent of the vote to 37 per cent for the Liberals, six per cent for the NDP and six per cent for the Greens
In Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa, which includes St. Lazare and McAuley, Conservative Robert Sopuck won with 46 per cent of the vote, compared with 29 per cent for Ray Piché of the Liberals, 12 per cent for the NDP, eight per cent for former Conservative MP Inky Mark, who was running as an independent, and four per cent for the Green Party.
Kitchen addresses supporters
About 40 supporters gathered in Estevan to help Robert Kitchen celebrate his win. Kitchen won with 70 per cent of the vote, increasing the Conservative vote from 21,598 in 2011 to 26,315 in Monday’s election.
“It is truly an honor to address you for the first time as your next Souris-Moose Mountain Member of Parliament, an appointment I won’t take lightly,” Kitchen told his supporters. “This journey started for me in the fall of 2013 when I announced my intention to seek the party’s nomination, a process which included battling five other qualified candidates. And I thank them for continually pushing me throughout this process to keep me on my toes. Since then my core team has been hard at work, preparing for the day that the writ was dropped.
“We knew that the day the election was called we wanted to be ready to roll out a campaign strategy that would lead us to victory today. It is truly a surreal experience to be standing before you today two years later, enjoying the fruits of our labor.
“I am so humbled to be representing this great riding in Ottawa, and will endeavour to hold our seat with the utmost integrity,” Kitchen told his supporters.
He said he will try to support the whole riding.
“As I’ve said from the beginning this seat in Ottawa belongs to the people. It may be my butt that sits in it but it belongs to you. This is inclusive to Conservatives and all other party supporters. I will take the voice of this riding to the Prime Minister and to the caucus with authority and clarity.”
He said he hopes to be a strong voice for Souris-Moose Mountain.
“I want my fellow members of Parliament to know exactly was Souris-Moose Mountain is about,” he said.
“We are a proud and hard-working group of people who contribute in countless ways to the backbone of Canada’s economy. From agriculture, energy services, health care, professional services, manufacturing, and transportation services this riding continues to be a prosperous area for Canada. In order to keep this prosperity the Conservative Party will continue to advocate for low taxes—personal, small business as well as corporate. We will work hard to keep costs down for employers—to keep money in your wallets.”
He said he will work hard for projects that are important to the area.
“I will continue to support and lobby for the construction of Energy East and other pipelines throughout Canada,” he told his supporters. “This is the safest and most economical way to transport oil and open up new market places for our exports and create jobs for our communities. I will continue to support ongoing free trade agreements and negotiations such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The focus needs to remain on prosperity and economic growth so that Canada can continue to compete on the global stage.”
He said he will try to bring the concerns of people in Souris-Moose Mountain to the federal government.
“While the national voice may have changed to one of Liberal leadership, the Souris-Moose Mountain voice remains clear. Strong Conservative leadership is what will continue to come out of Souris-Moose Mountain and I will do all in my power to make your needs a priority in Ottawa,” he said. “This may be an uphill battle under a new Liberal government, but those of you who know me know I am up for the challenge.”
In an interview on election night, Kitchen said he was feeling emotional over his win.
“I don’t know whether I can put it into words,” he said. “It’s just so exhilarating, it’s an awesome experience and I’m just living on Cloud Nine right now. It’s been so much fun. We’ve worked hard at this, it’s been two and a half years to get to this stage.”
What did he learn about people’s concerns during the campaign?
“When I talked to people during the campaign, everything has been about the economy,” he said. “Pipelines up in the Moosomin area have definitely been a concern and I will work hard to try to continue that push. People here are hard-working people and they want to keep working. They want the opportunities, and I want to do whatever I can to provide those opportunities.”
Kitchen believes he has a lot to learn as a new MP.
“It’s going to be an exponential learning curve for me,” he said. “I’m up for that challenge. I want to learn all I can so I can do the best for this riding.”
Why does he believe the results in Souris-Moose Mountain are so different than the national results?
“The riding has been solid Conservative support for many, many years,” said Kitchen, “and that goes back before my time—Ed Komarnicki, and Roy Bailey before that, and Len Gustafson before that. They built that ground work.
“Part of it is how we look at things here in Saskatchewan. We come from people who are used to working the land. Our farmers are the backbone of this area and they’ve built what we have through hard work. And that hard work translates into getting up and pulling your boots up every day, and if something knocks you down you get back up and you get back at it. That’s a good strong Conservative trait.”
What has he learned through the campaign.
“I’ve learned an awful lot about the process. The part that I enjoy the most is talking to people. This riding being so big, it’s tough to get to everywhere. But I plan to do as much as I can to be in every area as often as I can so people can sit and talk to me. I want people to talk to me.”