Braid repeats win in Kitchener-Waterloo
It didn’t have the same suspense, but the result was the same, as Conservative Party incumbent Peter Braid was re-elected Member of Parliament (MP) in the Kitchener-Waterloo riding on Monday night.
In 2008, Braid took the riding from Liberal Andrew Telegdi by a margin of just 17 votes, marking the closest race in the country. This time around, Braid and Telegdi finished first and second once again, however the margin was nearly 2,184 votes based on unofficial numbers reported early Tuesday morning.
“I wanted to not be the person who lost by 17 votes,” Braid joked. “I think at the end of the day, the result speaks for itself.”
According to Braid, the close results of last election played a large role in his campaign team’s approach this time around.
“I said to my campaign team right at the outset, we had a great campaign two and a half years ago, but this time we need to be even better than we were,” he said. “We hit the ground the running. Our primary task through the campaign was canvassing and knocking on doors and we knocked on about 10,000 doors and we just had a great team.”
Braid’s volunteer co-ordinator, Chris Howell, echoed the newly re-elected MP’s sentiments.
“I think it motivated us extremely well and galvanized all the campaign workers,” said Howell.
Braid credited much of his support to the canvassing he and his volunteers did during the campaign.
Howell felt that this was Braid’s strong suit.
“I think it was Peter’s hard work out knocking door to door,” he said. Howell also recognized the hard work of Braid’s large volunteer team. “It took about seven days a week, 14 hour days just to work hard and organize volunteers [and] get the campaign strategy together.”
Despite winning by a greater margin than in 2008, Braid’s campaign faced its share of challenges, namely at the public debates. Braid, as well as fellow local Conservative incumbents Stephen Woodworth and Harold Albrecht, came under heavy fire from the crowd as well as other candidates on issues such as corporate tax cuts and the purchase of controversial F-35 fighter jets.
Braid however took that criticism, which was at times heated, in stride.
“I think at the end of the day, the result speaks for itself,” he said. “My main barometer all along was the reaction I was getting at the door. That’s the key test for me and I knew we were getting a very strong reaction, so I remained confident and I’m honoured to continue to have the opportunity to represent the great people of Kitchener Waterloo.”
With the student vote a crucial component of the election, Braid told reporters that he made a valiant effort to reach the student population of the riding. “The average age in this riding is much younger than most other ridings,” Braid explained. “I from the outset wanted to make sure young people were involved and engaged in my campaign… I use social media [and] reach out to young people through that.”
Braid offered little comment on the surprise finish of the NDP as the official opposition, but he expressed joy at the Bloc Quebecois’ fall from grace in Quebec.
“With the diminishment of the Bloc in Quebec, this is a great victory for federalism,” said Braid.
With the Conservatives winning a majority government, Braid was asked if he saw any aspirations for a role in Parliament beyond being an MP.
“My primary objective will be to continue to effectively represent the people of Ktichener-Waterloo,” he responded. “Your voters are in your constituency, not in Ottawa.”