Fife re-elected in Kitchener-Waterloo

Photo by Heather Davidson

Photo by Heather Davidson

Catherine Fife was re-elected as MPP of the Kitchener-Waterloo riding on June 12, bringing the community under NDP representation once again.

“You always win when you have good people around you. I just want to say how proud I am of all of you,” she said in her speech, after arriving at the Legion where her party supporters were gathered for the evening.

Fife is known for bringing the riding out of its streak of Progressive Conservative leadership. Tonight, she called K-W an “NDP riding now,” emphasizing that her campaign was all about the people and that this is what the people of K-W chose.

When asked about student issues, Fife said she wants to see education become more accessible to students.

“I champion the revision of the 30 per cent tuition grant,” she said. “That needs to be more inclusive.”

She also added that she doesn’t want to see tuition increase.

“In a majority government, my job is to make sure that those voices are heard,” she said, referring to post-secondary students in the community.

In order to make this happen, she said she is going to have to work to hold the Liberals to the promises they made to students in their platform.

Fife outlined the strategy she will be using at Queen’s Park to deal with the majority government.

Photo by Will Huang

Photo by Will Huang

“I build relationships and I try to build consensus and I think that’s the responsibility that I have as an MPP.”

She outlined that in particular, she will be working on bringing all-day two-way Go train service to the region and focusing on jobs and education.

“I’m not there to fight with the government. I’m there to try to get results for the people I’m serving.”

Fife brought in 20,034 votes, with Burton following behind with 16,191.

Liberal supporters gathered together at THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener and supported their majority win. K-W candidate Jamie Burton and Kitchener Centre elect Daiene Vernile were brought up on stage together to celebrate their party winning.

“We won because we ran a positive campaign, and gave it everything,” Burton said in her speech. “I still believe that an opportunity for everyone is what we are all striving to accomplish, and our premier, Kathleen Wynne is going to do this.”

Burton noted her passion for the importance of equal opportunity in her speech to Liberal supporters.

“There is nothing more important than letting people have an opportunity to participate in society, economically, socially and to become their very best self,” she concluded.

Photo by Jody Waardenburg

Photo by Jody Waardenburg

Taking the stage at the Waterloo Inn, PC candidate Tracey Weiler noted, “This election was clearly full of surprises.”

“I think Ontario had a choice ahead of them tonight, and I think ultimately there is change needed in Ontario,” she said. “And I certainly hope that the new government will listen to the concerns of people in Ontario and demonstrate that need for change.”

Weiler fell behind Fife and Burton in the polls, with a total of 14,057 votes.

When asked what the future holds for the PC party now that Tim Hudak has resigned from his position as leader, Weiler said they have a “great vision” for the province and its future.

Though this is the second time Weiler has lost to Fife — the first time being in the 2012 byelection — she vowed during her speech that she is not finished in the region.

“The thing about democracy is the person with the most votes wins, and this time it wasn’t me. But I’m not done yet.”

The Green Party of Ontario’s supporters were gathered at The Red Chevron Club in Guelph awaiting leader Mike Schreiner to arrive and address the party. Many of the party’s local candidates, including K-W candidate Stacey Danckert, also gathered to address the crowd and support Schreiner.

Although the Schreiner and the Greens failed to capture a seat in the province, they were optimistic for the future, having run a candidate in every riding and capturing five per cent of the overall popular vote.

Photo by Matt Smith

Photo by Matt Smith

“We’re obviously disappointed we didn’t win the riding, but I think we captured people’s hearts and minds,” said Schreiner. “We’ve laid the foundation for future success, and I think we’ll be able to elect a green in the future.”

Danckert, who received 2,804 votes, was also very optimistic about the future of the party. She noted the positive reception she received from Waterloo residents when she campaigned in the area.

“People have been so frustrated with what’s been happening wit the main three parties. I think because I’ve avoided negative politics and focused on the riding’s issues, people have respected me more,” said Danckert.

Both Schreiner and Danckert felt that Ontario’s current electoral system encouraged apathy and low voter turnout. They also stated the Green Party would continue to advocate that Ontario adopt proportional representation as its electoral system.

“We want more democracy in Ontario, not less. We want every vote to count,” said Schreiner.

 

– With files from Kate Turner, Marissa Evans, Daina Goldfinger and Connor Ward

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