The blue stronghold in many southwestern Ontario ridings remained strong Thursday night, and projected MPPs are already laying out the work they’d like to do.
CBC projected Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives led by Doug Ford would form a majority government in the province, and local PCs were quick to point out the work they could get done.
Incumbent Rick Nicholls will be back in his seat as MPP for Chatham–Kent—Leamington for the third time, securing about 50 per cent of the votes.
Viewers at his election party watched the results with a close eye, cheering when they saw PC Leader Doug Ford take the stage.
Nicholls said Ford has promised to twin Highway 3 and build concrete barriers in carnage alley on Highway 401. He also said the party will have a moratorium on wind turbines and find better, more cost effective green energy projects.
The riding was closely watched as the NDP hoped to win the seat. Leader Andrea Horwath visited the area twice in 10 days in the lead-up to the election.
NDP candidate Jordan McGrail came in second, followed by the Liberal, Green and independent candidates in the riding.
A long time opposition MPP in southwestern Ontario said he’ll use his new role in the projected PC majority government to pay back his colleagues.
“I’ll still look to reach out to the other two parties,” said Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey, who thanked cross-party support for passing member bills while spending three terms in opposition.
Bailey, who was first elected in 2007, said he will focus on infrastructure and cutting red tape while in government.
When asked by reporters if he would like a cabinet portfolio, Bailey spoke of his experience in the energy sector but left it up to Ford to decide.
“I’m open to do whatever Premier Ford wants me to do. If it’s be a whip or a deputy speaker – whatever he wants,” said Bailey, who originally backed Caroline Mulroney in the leadership race.
His NDP opponent Kathy Alexander said what Ford wants for the province left the people she spoke with [on the campaign trail] worried and concerned.
“He had never yet – still hasn’t, as far as I’m concerned – released a full platform which I think is a disservice to the good people of this community,” said Alexander.
She said having projected opposition leader Andrea Horwath visit Sarnia-Lambton four times during the campaign was an honour.
“I wouldn’t change anything – other than the result – it was a remarkable experience.”
The two-term conservative MPP for Lambton–Kent—Middlesex said he’ll spend the start of his third term putting a stop to a Liberal energy project that’s plagued his riding.
“Number one I’m going to stop some of these wind turbine projects that are slated for my riding,” said Monte McNaughton, specifically mentioning a plan to halt the Otter Creek project in North Kent.
McNaughton, the Critic for Economic Development, Employment and Growth said he’s excited to be part of what CBC projects as a majority PC government led by Ford.
“I think quite frankly that people in rural Ontario wanted change for many, many years,” said McNaughton, who drafted NDP candidate and Mayor of Warwick Township Todd Case.
The seven-year MPP said he would serve under Premier-elect Ford however the new leader saw fit – not commenting on a potential role in cabinet.
“Look I’m just excited that we won the re-election campaign,” he said.
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