Thompson credits supporters present and past for election night victory - June 14, 2018
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Lisa Thompson of the PC Party will now serve her third consecutive term as Huron-Bruce’s Member of Provincial Parliament after a decisive victory in the June 7 election.
With voter turnout at nearly a 20-year high, Thompson was declared the winner of her riding just 15 minutes after the polls closed thanks to electronic ballot-reading technology. This came after party leader Doug Ford had already been declared the next Premier of Ontario with a majority government predicted.
Thompson received 27,646 votes, over 52 per cent of the riding’s votes, followed by Jan Johnstone of the NDP with 15,326, Don Matheson of the Liberals with 7,356, Nicholas Wendler of the Green Party with 1,804 votes, Ron Stephens of the Libertarian Party with 399 votes and Gerrie Huenemoerder of the Alliance Party of Ontario with 271 votes.
Voter turnout in Huron-Bruce came in at just over 65 per cent, which was higher than the provincial average.
“What a night!” Thompson proclaimed when she took to the podium less than an hour after the polls closed. This will be the first time Thompson has held a seat as a member of the party in power at Queen’s Park.
Thompson told her dozens of supporters gathered at the Wingham Golf and Curling Club the night of the election that she felt comfortable in every community she visited during her campaign.
“People were rooting for us. When I say us I mean they were rooting for the PC family to get back into government so we can make life more affordable once again and that’s what we’re going to be focused on over the next four years with a major majority,” she said.
Thompson said that the needs and concerns of Huron-Bruce residents were not that different from those across the province and they needed to be addressed through a change in government.
“The priorities here in Huron-Bruce are the same as in every other community in this province; we need affordability, we need affordable housing for our young people, we need housing for our seniors, we need housing, period, for everyone in between,” she said.
She spoke about a recent event in Teeswater dubbed “Transforming Teeswater” and said that the PC Party was going to transform Ontario in the next four years.
Thompson spent time thanking her team for all of their hard work, especially Blyth’s Steven Sparling, her campaign chair. She thanked her numerous volunteers for knocking on doors, delivering signs and working on her behalf throughout the riding in the weeks leading up to the election.
She also thanked Brussels’ Matt Cardiff for his support of her campaign on the digital front, managing social media and online polling. She said that internet-based campaign information is a new frontier that can’t be ignored and she thanked Cardiff for being “second to none” in that capacity for her campaign.
As both Thompson and her husband Dennis fought back tears, she thanked her partner for his unwavering support since she first entered provincial politics years ago.
She said that not only did he support her throughout the election, but that he too was busy at their home farm preparing it for the coming season, all while she was in the midst of retaining her MPP seat in Huron-Bruce.
“A person can’t do it alone and I am so blessed to be by Dennis’s side and hopefully someday I can return the favour,” Thompson said.
Thompson also made a point to thank those who have supported her over the years but have since passed on, but who are “just beyond the sunset”.
In terms of her plan for the next four years, Thompson said that she expects her time will be more “in demand” than it has been in recent years with her party now in power. However, she said that all of her riding’s residents will receive the same amount of attention she has given in recent years, if not directly, then through a trusted representative.
According to many, Thompson is a frontrunner to be considered as the new Minister of Agriculture for the province. Premier-elect Doug Ford said in late May that he hoped to appoint a farmer to the position during a visit to the Windsor area and there are only a handful in the party who would fit the bill.
Thompson has been unofficially shortlisted for the position alongside Toby Barrett of Haldimand-Norfolk, Ernie Hardeman of Oxford and Monte McNaughton of Lambton-Kent-Middlesex.
Thompson, however, said she would be happy to serve the government in whatever capacity she’s asked, adding that she’s proud to be from Huron-Bruce and a rural MPP.
Speaking with reporters after she was confirmed as Huron-Bruce’s next MPP, Thompson said she had a list of priorities she hoped to bring to Queen’s Park as soon as she returned to work. That list included the expansion of natural gas into the Kincardine area, a lack of funding for a family health team in the Zurich area and a number of other issues for which she has been petitioning for a number of years.
She said she was confident going into the election, knowing that she had strong support throughout the riding. However, she said that support didn’t come easily, adding that it had to be earned.
“That was what I always said to my team, that I have to work and earn the support of Huron-Bruce and know we have to earn that trust and support across the province as well,” she said.
She said that much of how she serves her community will not change, but she was happy to finally be a member of a party in power that could affect real change across the province.
Thompson was first elected in Huron-Bruce in 2011, defeating two-term Liberal MPP Carol Mitchell. In the years since, she has been the PC Caucus Chair as well as serving as the PC Critic for international trade and Indigenous relations and reconciliation. She is a member of the Standing Committee on General Government and was selected by the Speaker of Ontario’s Legislative Assembly to represent Ontario on a steering committee for Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians, Canadian Region, for a three-year term.
The new government will officially be sworn in and Thompson will return to her seat at Queen’s Park in the coming weeks.