Election night is always tense, but Blair Wilson came into this election knowing that it would be close, but confident that he’d done everything he could to campaign – knocking on doors, attending dozens of events, putting up signs, and meeting with any organization that had time to meet with the Liberal Candidate.
In an election where voter turnout was up four per cent nationally and three per cent in the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky riding, Wilson came by his seat in Parliament by just 986 voters over Conservative Party candidate John Weston. While some would call that nerve-wracking, Wilson called the race exciting and praised Weston for running a clean campaign.
In an election that was marked by accusations of Liberal corruption, and of extreme right-wing views by the Conservatives, running a clean campaign wasn’t easy.
Pique caught up with Wilson the day after the election to get his impression of the campaign and what he plans to do for the riding in Ottawa.
Pique: It looked early on in the evening that John Weston had the lead, but then you pulled ahead as the night went on. Were you confident?
Blair Wilson: We were confident that we were going to prevail, but at the same time we weren’t taking anything for granted. We worked diligently in all parts of the region to make sure we got good representation… and as the poll results came in I knew it was tight, but we could see the momentum building slowly from that. We were 100 votes ahead, then 200 votes ahead, then 300, it was all moving in the right direction, but it’s not over until it’s over so we kept on pushing to the last minute.
Pique: With this election people are really surprised by the turnout. People thought because it was so soon after the last election that the turnout would be down, but people actually came out in greater numbers and seemed better informed. Given that, why do you think you did so well in this riding?
BW: I think that’s because of a few things. The first thing is I’ve been working hard for the past 18 months, since the last election, meeting with community leaders, meeting with mayors, meeting with councils, meeting with concerned citizens… we were having a good dialogue and building good relationships with all sorts of people regarding a number of important issues in the riding. Secondly, I think when you compare the two parties, never before in history have there been so many completely different views on the same topics. I think people could take a look at the Liberals and the Conservatives and see clear differences in policies. Contrast the two, and I think it helped us prevail.