Robert Kitchen of the Conservative Party will represent the Souris-Moose Mountain constituency for a second term.
With 190 of 192 polls reporting, Kitchen had 33,932 of the 40,180 votes cast, or 84.4 per cent. There are 51,957 eligible voters in Souris-Moose Mountain, meaning Kitchen received over 65 per cent of support from eligible voters in the riding.
Kitchen’s office was packed Monday night, as local conservative supporters, his team and family came to be with their candidate when poll results were being announced. Many were wearing traditional blue along with conservative pins.
“I feel great. We worked hard. It wasn’t just me, it was my team that made this happen. None of this gets done unless you become a team,” said Kitchen in an interview with the Mercury when it became clear that he would be the winner.
In his speech, he first of all thanked his supporters and his wife. He also extended his gratitude to his campaign manager, people who ran the office and all the volunteers.
“It’s just a tremendous thing, so I can’t thank them enough. It makes you smile a lot more,” said Kitchen, also thanking other members of his family, some of whom helped with the campaign, and his opponents.
“Credit to them for any opponents that put their name on the line and stand up for an opinion they believe in. I can’t say enough to them for taking that opportunity. Because Canada, the great country that we have, it gives us that opportunity for all of us to speak our opinions and provide what we believe is the right thing for our constituency.”
Kitchen said that during his campaign he put over 11,000 kilometres on his truck and that’s not it, as he and the volunteers now need to go back and pick up all the signs.
Kitchen had the largest margin of victory in Saskatchewan in this election and the strongest support in Souris-Moose Mountain since its inception in 1988. He had a lead of at least 30,836 votes, with the runner-up NDP candidate Ashlee Hicks being at 3,096 votes after 98.96 per cent poll reports were accounted.
“That’s fantastic, and that’s what I worked hard to do. I want to show everybody, and I want to show my leader, this is the strongest support. And it is here, and it’s done, because of the good things we do. Our agriculture, our oil and gas … our coal and our mining. These people are caring. And it’s not just here in Estevan. It’s in Coronach. It’s throughout this whole riding,” said Kitchen.
“Bottom line is that when I’m sitting in that seat in Ottawa and I’m speaking in Ottawa, I want to make sure that I’m speaking from what the majority of my constituency wanted.”
He pointed out that these supporters and the industries they are involved with will be his top priority in Ottawa.
“I believe that when I sit in Ottawa, and I’ve said this many, many times, and I will continue to say that, that seat in Ottawa doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to you, each and every one of you in this riding,” said Kitchen.
“My job is to be that mouthpiece sitting in that seat … People don’t give us credit for the green stewardship that our farmers do from the greenhouse gas emission point. They don’t give us credit for the great work that our CCS (carbon capture and storage facility) does. With the fly ash that we produce with both of our power plants, we are reducing the emissions that come out of the cement companies. They are one of the biggest emitters of green gas emissions and fly ash helps reduce them. So we need that credit. People need to talk about that more.”
Until the final federal results were in, Kitchen refrained from any comments on the results. However, there were some strong reactions in the office during the night of the election. The unexpected defeat of high-profile Liberal MP Ralph Goodale and subsequent conservative Michael Kram’s victory in the Regina-Wascana riding was greeted with a big round of applause.
Even though the general atmosphere in the office was very positive as people were celebrating the fact that their preferred candidate and party will represent their interests in the parliament, the general preliminary election results were somewhat frustrating for many of those present.
The future will show how the newly elected government with the Liberal minority and a comfortable lead, and Justin Trudeau remaining in the prime minister’s seat, will play out and where it will get Canada over the course of this term.