Federal election

Liberal Andy Fillmore wins Halifax riding, ousts NDP’s Megan Leslie

Liberals sweep Atlantic Canada in first hours of the federal election

Liberal candidate Andy Fillmore after winning in the Halifax riding
Liberal candidate Andy Fillmore after winning in the Halifax riding   Sarah Rae

In what many thought would be a tight race, Liberal Andy Fillmore had a staggering federal election win tonight, easily unseating popular incumbent Megan Leslie. Fillmore said even he had been expecting a tight race, as the Liberals began as underdogs in the riding of Halifax.

Fillmore said he’s “awash with gratitude and admiration for [his] team.”

“This city is ready for something different,” he said. “Tonight we start a journey to make a better Halifax and a better Canada and I’ll tell you, tomorrow when we start to hear the full extent of this change in Halifax under Justin Trudeau’s leadership we are going to be amazed.”

Fillmore was met with cheers and plenty of hugs at his campaign headquarters after the results came through, winning with more than 50 per cent of the vote, with only a few polls left to report.

He thanked his supporters in a speech, saying “with hard work and a new vision for the city we did it.”

Volunteer Milad Shalhoub said he’s not surprised with the results: “This is what you get when you work hard.” He said Halifax needs Fillmore, who is full of new ideas and passionate about making a better city for everyone.

Liberals swept the province tonight, with every single riding going red.

David Macdonald, another volunteer, said in this case he voted more for the national policies and leadership than the individual, and is pleased with the results so far.

Conservative Irvine Carvery, Green Thomas Trappenberg and Marxist-Leninist Allan Bezanson were also running in the riding of Halifax.

Leslie concedes after seven years

There were tears, cheers and hugs at the NDP headquarters when Megan Leslie walked through the doors of the Delta Halifax and greeted her supporters after losing the Halifax riding.

“I am disappointed in the result but I am not disappointed in what we did as a team,” she said in her speech.

Disappointment was the main feeling among supporters and volunteers once it became clear that an overwhelming number of polls were reporting that Leslie had lost to Liberal Party candidate Andy Fillmore.

“This is not a win for Andy Fillmore, this is a win for Justin Trudeau,” said Christine Ackermann, the communications manager for Leslie’s campaign. “This is a defeat-Stephen Harper vote.”

But both Leslie and Ackermann stated that their campaign was “flawless.”

“We could not have done anything different,” said Ackermann. “[But] I think people really want change. Unfortunately, they didn’t pull us behind Megan.”

Another supporter blamed strategic voting for Leslie’s loss.

“Everyone kind of just went crazy [about strategic voting] at the end,” said Fiona Martin, a supporter. “This is just a desperate attempt to make sure Harper doesn’t get in. For Megan to lose her seat, that’s the only explanation, because people love her. She’s done so much for this community.”

Others were more optimistic.

“Obviously, this is not the result we had all hoped for. But I think there are certain opportunities that come out of this as well,” said Keith Lehwald, another supporter. “We have to let this be the start of something bigger. We can’t let this be an ending.”

The NDP has had a firm hold on the Halifax riding since 1997 and Leslie had held the reins since 2008.

The Conservative Party received 8.7 per cent of the vote in the Halifax riding.

Conservative candidate Irvine Carvery and supporters gathered Monday night to watch the results roll in.

Carvery says he “couldn’t be happier with his campaign and that he was pleased with the hard work those who worked on it put in.

“I thought it went very well . . . My campaign chairs did an outstanding job,” said Carvery.

Sean Jourdy, one of Carvery’s campaign chairs, said they worked hard to knock on as many doors as possible