Federal Election

Andy Fillmore wins Halifax, Greens see a jump in support

NDP's Christine Saulnier came second

What some thought was a close race between the Liberals and the NDP in Halifax turned out to be another decisive win for Andy Fillmore as he took the riding for a second consecutive term.

Not a single person at his Liberal headquarters on Quinpool Road looked worried when results from Canada’s 43rd federal election started to come in.

By 9:30 p.m, still more than an hour away from official results, drinks and garlic fingers were flowing and a sense of confidence and celebration resonated through the room.

When the win became certain, people sporadically burst into chants of “Andy, Andy, Andy” as Fillmore defended his 2015 victory, with 42 per cent of the vote as of early Tuesday morning.

Fillmore is congratulated as he makes his way upstairs in his campaign headquarters.   Talia Meade

“We’re not done yet,” he said in a speech afterward. “We’re going to keep working hard … We’re going to do this all together.”

Ali Duale, a Fillmore supporter since 2015, was jubilant. “This province was dying eight years ago. Today it’s coming back; it’s still alive,” he said.

Vying for a second term in the House of Commons, Fillmore faced possible controversy along with the rest of the Liberal party when pictures of Justin Trudeau in blackface surfaced earlier this election campaign. But Fillmore didn’t see much backlash in his own campaign.

“We have over 1,000 signs up, but I only had one sign brought back to the office,” he told The Signal last week.

Fillmore’s vote went significantly down from 51.7 per cent in 2015 when he swept away the NDP dynasty of Alexa McDonough and Megan Leslie, who had a stronghold in Halifax for 18 years.

In the last election, the NDP received 36.1 per cent of the vote. This year, Christine Saulnier hoped to retake the constituency for the party, telling The Signal last week that her mother influenced her to “try and make things better for people.”

However, she fell short and came in second with 30 per cent of the vote.

“I’m profoundly disappointed. Christine has the understanding of the issues that is truly unparalleled by anyone in this city,” said Martha Paynter, who worked for the NDP campaign as the co-chair of the election planning committee. “I thought our city could do more.”

Despite losing this race, Saulnier plans to continue her fight for social, economic and environmental injustice. 

“I’m really grateful that I got to meet so many people in Halifax and hear their stories,” she said. “Some of those stories will stick with me for the rest of my life.”

Martha Paynter (right) hugs Saulnier as the party came second in the Halifax riding.   Cameron VanBuskirk

The Green Party got more than four times the vote they received in Halifax in 2015; about 14 per cent this time.

“No, we didn’t win, but were we successful? You’re right, we were,” candidate Jo-Ann Roberts told a jubilant crowd of about 70 people.

As results rolled in, she flitted in and out of the main room of her election headquarters on Quinpool Road, seeming to avoid looking at the screen showing election results. Though tense, supporters in the room seemed to remain hopeful, not of winning a seat in Parliament, but of an uptick in Green support as more votes got counted.

In that, they were rewarded.

“We started from zero, so I’ve always known it was an uphill climb, and that whole thing of 1000 signs, 200 volunteers and 16,000 doors knocked on, that’s a legacy. Sometimes you’d like to be just the winner, but other times you can be the legacy builder,” said Roberts.

Roberts with her dog Moses at her election headquarters.   Alec Martin

The Conservative Bruce Holland came fourth in his first shot at a federal seat.

Duncan McGenn, a last-minute candidate, ran for the People’s Party of Canada.

He came fifth, while Bill Wilson, running for the Animal Protection Party of Canada, came last in the riding with less than a per cent of the vote.

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