Vancouver Island North Conservative MP John Duncan won a sixth term in a tight race against NDP newcomer Ronna-Rae Leonard in the May federal election.
“It’s been a long campaign,” Duncan said at his victory speech in Courtenay. “I’ve worked hard in this riding for many, many years. We’re now a majority government, and I’m delighted to be part of it.”
Duncan received 27,184 votes and Leonard 25,385. Liberal candidate Mike Holland had 3,038 votes, Green candidate Sue Moen 2,995, Independent Jason Draper 290 and Marxist-Leninist candidate Frank Martin 56.
Duncan received a congratulatory call from Leonard before all votes had been counted, but refused to accept the win at that point.
“She wanted to congratulate me, and I said it was too early. In the last election, the NDP candidate here had made a victory speech, and of course, she didn’t win. I wanted more results to come in.”
As the riding has proven historically to be a close battleground between the NDP and Conservatives, Duncan said it’s that close competition that fuelled his energy for his seventh attempt to represent the riding.
“I enjoy politics. I get energized by politics and people. You know I was thinking seven elections, and I was out door-knocking and enjoying every moment of it. How many people would be able to say that? It was great, and it was great to be able to do that with a great team.
“The country went (in the Conservative) direction in this election. I’ve always said that we were just one election earlier than the rest of the country. It all depends on some degree who the candidates are …. but it’s definitely a two-way race here.”
Duncan retained his post as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, part of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s new federal ministry that promises greater security and stability for Canadians. First elected to the House of Commons in 1993, Duncan was appointed Indian Affairs Minister last year.
The Winnipeg native, whose first experience as an elected official was as an alderman in Ucluelet in 1982 and 1983, was first elected federally as a Reform candidate.