Tories maintain hold in K-W
For the sixth time in a row, election night was a night of celebration for Elizabeth Witmer. The Progressive Conservative was re-elected yet again to her long held post of member of provincial parliament (MPP), meaning that her streak of 21 years in office will continue.
Witmer remains the only MPP the riding of Kitchener-Waterloo has ever known. The district was created in 1999 when the ridings were re-done and Witmer has won every election since. Previously, she took a pair of elections in the riding known as Waterloo North, her firswt win coming in 1990.
“It was fantastic, it is just so exciting, I just had a great team this election,” said Witmer on election night. “I’ve never had so much diversity in my team…. I appreciate the fact that the people came together and it’s just so humbling.”
Witmer, a political veteran who has held posts such as minister of health, minister of labour and minister of the environment in the Mike Harris government and minister of education and deputy premier under Ernie Eves, saw a slightly closer election than when Ontarians last went to the polls four years ago.
Liberal candidate Eric Davis placed second in the riding with 17,837 votes, giving Witmer the victory by a margin of 5,519. In 2007, Witmer took the election by 4,917.
“We were up against a 21-year incumbent in this riding who was first elected when I was twelve,” said Davis, a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University. “So I must say we have done an amazing job.”
Davis was particularly thankful to the students, which make up such a sizeable part of his riding, considering it contains WLU, the University of Waterloo and Conestoga College.
“I’d like to specifically thank the students,” Davis told The Cord. “I thank all of the students for their outstanding support, and if not to me, then to the democratic process, because I think Laurier students proved that students do come out to vote when you engage with them.”
Witmer, was also well aware of the fact that her riding contains two universities and a college. While one of the Liberal party’s main platform points was to offer a tuition rebate for families with an income of less than $160,000, the PCs maintained that the bigger issue was job creation for new grads.
“Obviously they are a little bit concerned about the tuition, certainly some of the funding,” said Witmer. “The biggest issue for them all is, lets make sure we create an environment where by the private sector could make some jobs.”
Placing third in Kitchener-Waterloo was the NDP’s Isabel Cisterna. Cisterna, who was a rookie candidate just like Davis earned 8,259 votes, about 600 fewer than her New Democrat predecessor in the riding Catherin Fife did in the last provincial election.
The Green Party’s J.D. McGuire, who previously ran as an independent candidate in 2007, came fourth, while independent Peter Davis and the Freedom Party of Ontario’s Melanie Motz finished fifth and sixth respectively.
-With files from Justin Smirlies and Lindsay Purchase