Conservative Nickel Belt candidate would have won the constituency if the PPC votes had gone to him

Charles Humphrey dismisses the idea that the split has cost him the seat, saying it is not a fair assessment of the situation

Local Conservatives Ian Symington (Sudbury) and Charles Humphrey (Nickel Belt) made serious gains in Monday’s federal election, but the specter of a split raises questions.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole warned Sunday against dividing the votes by supporting the People’s Party of Canada candidates, according to The Canadian Press.

“Justin Trudeau wants you to split the vote by voting PPC,” he told a crowd in Toronto, as reported by The Canadian Press.

“There is only one way to get change. There is only one way to show Justin Trudeau the door tomorrow, and that is to vote Conservative.

The same questions were raised in the Nipissing – Timiskaming riding.

See: Did the Tory Divided Vote Lead to Liberal Victory in Nipissing-Timiskaming?

There, Conservative candidate Steve Trahan estimated that the PPC candidate cost him the election by saying “He definitely hurt me”, referring to the People’s Party winning 3,269 votes. “If you take the PPC votes, even if you took 50%, we’d be splitting our hair right now.”

Between Sudbury and Nickel Belt, PPC had the best performance in Nickel Belt, where David Hobbs landed 4,542 votes, according to the latest preliminary results.

If all of those votes had gone to the Tories, it would have propelled Humphrey from third place behind the Liberals and the NDP to first place, ahead of incumbent Liberal Marc Serré by 634 votes.

In Sudbury, Symington would have been propelled from third to second, just 169 votes behind Liberal Viviane Lapointe – again, if all 2,684 votes for PPC candidate Colette Methé had changed to Conservative blue.

Although Humphrey has said he can see where those making this argument are coming from – PPC leader Maxime Bernier was, after all, a failed Tory leadership contestant – he doesn’t believe it. really.

“For my own ego, it’s good to say, ‘Oh yeah, if only it wasn’t for them we would have won’, but I don’t think that’s a fair assessment of what happened. over there, “he said on Tuesday afternoon. , still recovering from the high energy climate of the previous night’s election.

“While I am sure there are people in the PPC electoral bloc who would have voted for us under other circumstances, I also think there are a number of people who would probably have voted for us. other parties or would not have voted at all, ”he said. , adding that PPC supporters are quite in a league of their own, and that he is even reluctant to call them “right-wing”.

“I think they represent a movement of fear and mistrust of government more than anything, and I think it’s something that unfortunately reflects the kind of larger landscape we find ourselves in where we are. all in a situation where I think all of us feel a loss of control over our lives.

They are the product of pandemic anxieties and the “hermetically sealed infospheres” of social media that they are a right-wing political alternative to conservatives, he said, wondering what difference they may have actually made in the end results of the Conservatives. elections.

“We could all point fingers and blame this or that party… but the reality is that there are parties, people join them, and this is how it works,” he said, adding that ‘there was a lot to be said for not having a binary system like what we see south of the border.

While less satisfying for some candidates, he said our system ensures “a wider sense of choice and more options for people. … There are more opportunities to reach consensus and move forward despite divisions.

Rather than playing the blame game, Humphrey said he was excited about the Conservatives’ gains from this election in Nickel Belt and looked forward to keeping that momentum going into the next election, when it could be.

In the 2019 election, 20.56% of voters gave Sudbury Conservative candidate Pierre St-Amant an “X” on their ballot, while 21.17% voted Nickel Conservative candidate Belt Aino Laamanen.

This time around, Symington received 27.81% of the vote and Humphey 26.98%, according to the latest preliminary results.

Hobbs did not return a request for comment for this story.

Tyler Clarke covers City Hall and Political Affairs for Sudbury.com.

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