NEW GLASGOW: Liberal incumbent Sean Fraser held his seat with a margin of victory of 7,517 votes in what tends to be a blue stronghold of Central Nova, despite a tenacious fight from Conservative candidate and country music star George Canyon.
Fraser who will serve a second term in Central Nova earned a decisive victory, in which he never trailed during a single poll, and captured 46.5 per cent of the vote with 20,718 votes casted in his name. Fraser’s numbers however were down slightly from the previous election in which he acquired 58.53 per cent of the vote and 25,909 ballots cast.
“The result tonight indicates to me, people are interested in a progressive representative and a progressive government here in Central Nova. I feel incredibly proud not just of myself, but of my team, and of our community,” Fraser told The Reporter in a phone interview after being declared the winner. “There is no such thing as a safe Conservative riding – if you have a plan to invest in Canadians and the social supports that they rely on and have a plan to fight climate change and to protect the environment, people will respond to that in a favourable way.”
First elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) in 2015, Fraser stepped into a riding following the decision from Conservative powerhouse Peter MacKay to not re-offer. In September, 2018, Fraser was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
Speaking on his Conservative counterpart, Fraser said Canyon was a talented individual who cares about public service and has his heart is in the right place.
“I don’t think this was a vote against the Conservatives at all,” he said. “I think this was people responding positively to a party and a representative who cares about what they’ve been saying for the past number of years.”
Fraser indicated he’s been hearing consistently people want federal investments to help the province to recruit family doctors; establish a national pharmacare plan; they want the federal government to advance the fight against climate change; and they want the federal government to make sure it’s not just the wealthy who benefit from economic growth.
“And that’s the message we’ve been trying to drive home over the past not just 40-days, but for the past four-years,” he said. “We have a plan that’s going to reflect the interest of the people that live here, that have been raising these issues with me for four years consecutively, it’s not rocket science – you listen to people, and you develop a plan that speaks to what they told you.”
Fraser said with the Liberals leading a minority government, he will work with whoever he needs to work with to make sure he continues to serve the interests of his community.
“Quite frankly there’s a whole lot of people who live in this community that may not have supported me in this particular election that I still have a duty to represent,” he said. “I’m not in this to be a Liberal MP, I’m in this to serve the interests of my community and serve the interests of Canadians, and whatever shape the government takes when I wake up tomorrow morning, I will continue to commit myself to serve the interests to the people who elected me to represent them for another term.”
In speaking on what campaign promise he’d like to tackle first, Fraser said the most common issue raised with him on doorsteps was the issue of family doctors.
“One of the things I want to make sure we do, is make good on our commitment to transfer an additional $6 billion to the provinces to help with specific areas including; the recruitment of family doctors, improving mental health, advancing senior’s care, and developing a national pharmacare system,” he said. “Health care is obviously a top issue for the people I represent, and to make good on that commitment to help the provinces to address the issues we’re facing at home, I’m going to stand up for the interests in my community.”
In his concession speech, Canyon said Central Nova needs to continue to work in harmony no matter what to overcome obstacles together and as a community by creating a brighter, stronger future.
“To have the opportunity to be the voice of the constituents of Central Nova is absolutely the greatest honour ever bestowed upon me,” he said. “Four hundreds of years our families have worked together in harmony in Central Nova, and we need to continue to do so no matter our political affiliation.”
Canyon finished second in Central Nova with 29.6 per cent of the vote, NDP candidate Betsy MacDonald was a distant third with 13.2 per cent, Green candidate Barry Randle received 7.8 per cent, PPC candidate Al Muir had 2.1 per cent, Communist candidate Chris Frazer had 0.4 per cent and Independent Michael Slowik had 0.3 per cent of the vote.
In Central Nova, voter turnout was 73.96 per cent, and saw 44,559 out of 60,251 potential electors casting their vote, which was slightly down from the previous election when it was 74.68 per cent.