• John Jantak

Outgoing NDP incumbent Nicholls congratulates Liberal Schiefke on Vaudreuil-Soulanges victory


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Federal NDP incumbent for Vaudreuil-Soulanges Jamie Nicholls speaks to reporters after conceding defeat to newly elected Liberal candidate Peter Schiefke.

Jamie Nicholls, the incumbent New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate for Vaudreuil-Soulanges who was seeking re-election to a second consecutive term as Member of Parliament (MP) for the region, lost to rival Liberal candidate Peter Schiefke on Monday, October 19.

Nicholls, who along with about 25 sombre supporters watched as the election results were broadcast live at the Auberge Willow in Hudson, reluctantly conceded defeat about 75 minutes after the polls closed at 9:30 p.m. when it was clear that Schiefke had won the riding.

The final tally saw Schiefke receive 30,543 votes (46.5%) compared to Nicholls who received 14,727 of the total ballots cast (22.4%). For Nicholls, it was a bitter blow to a hard-fought 78-day election campaign, one of the longest in Canadian history. Despite the loss, Nicholls graciously congratulated Schiefke on his victory and for running an excellent campaign.

“People wanted change,” Nicholls told Your Local Journal. “This is democracy and this is the way it works. Peter ran a great campaign. He had the team there and the money behind him. Things didn’t turn out the way I hoped they would.”

Nicholls said he wasn’t implying that it was Schiefke’s campaign contributions that propelled the newcomer to his first federal election victory. Instead, Nicholls acknowledged that he could have done more to raise the funds needed for his own campaign.

“He did have more money for his campaign than I did,” said Nicholls. “I take full responsibility for that. It comes down to the candidates themselves. They’re responsible for their volunteer teams. My team was excellent so it was up to the candidates to raise the money necessary for the campaign. I applaud Peter for all the hard work that he’s done. It’s a brand new start for the riding.”

Nicholls said he was proud to have served the people of the region during his four years as MP. “I’ve been very honoured to have represented the citizens of Vaudreuil-Soulanges,” said Nicholls. “I’m still going to be involved in the community and I think Peter will be a good representative. I’m also going to be there to hold our MP to account and to make sure he represents the needs of the community.”

Despite his loss, Nicholls said he’ll take the time necessary to determine what he’ll do next and whether he’ll run again as an NDP candidate in the next federal election. “It’s too early to tell,” said Nicholls. “In the coming weeks, I’m going to help Peter with his transition, close down our office in St. Lazare and transfer files over to him.

“I still believe that the vision the NDP presented was a responsible one that was probably the best for Canada and I stand by that,” Nicholls added. “It was up to the electorate to choose and they chose a Liberal majority so we’ll see what that means for our community and our country.”

In the neighbouring riding of Salaberry-Suroit, an extremely tight election race that pitted NDP incumbent Ann Minh-Thu Quach against Liberal candidate Robert Sauvé, the former MRC Vaudreuil-Soulanges Prefect and Mayor of Coteau-du-Lac, Quach managed to eke out a victory with 776 votes over rival Sauvé. Quach received 18,540 votes (30.5 per cent) compared to 17,764 votes for Sauvé (29.2 per cent).

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