The Ed Fast dynasty lives on in Abbotsford, as the incumbent Conservative Member of Parliament has won for the sixth consecutive time.
Fast pulled out to a big lead early and was never at risk of losing. With 161 polls reported, Fast had earned 20,111 votes – or 48 per cent of the vote. Liberal Navreen Gill (10,037 votes, 23.9 per cent) placed second, NDPer Dharmasena Yakandewela (7,191, 17.2 per cent) placed third, People’s Party of Canada’s Kevin Sinclair (3,193, 7.6 per cent) was fourth and Stephen Fowler (1,394, 3.3 per cent) of the Green Party finished fifth.
The voter turnout for Abbotsford was 55.03 per cent, as approximately 41,926 registered electors out of a total of 76,186 voted. That number does not include those who registered on election day or mail-in ballots, so the final turnout number is likely to increase slightly.
Abbotsford’s voter turnout number is below the 59 per cent national rate.
After Monday’s (Sept. 20) victory, Fast said it was a unique, but also incredibly divisive election.
“Awkward, unnecessary and avoidable,” he said of the election call by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “From this election I will remember the preoccupation that people had with the COVID pandemic and how divisive this campaign was. I’m appalled that political leaders at all levels of government and that starts with the Prime Minister. They’ve allowed vaccines and COVID protection to divide Canadians. They pitted Canadians and communities against one another.”
— Ben Lypka (@BenLypka) September 21, 2021
Fast also stated that he’s pleased that his support is close to what he received in 2019. In that election he received 51.4 per cent of the vote.
“We were happy with where we landed because we basically have the same percentage as we had last time, ” he said. “That tells me that the majority of residents in Abbotsford would have preferred to have an Erin O’Toole-led Conservative government.”
The 68-year-old said he has three specific items he will now work on for Abbotsford residents. Firstly, he wants to solve the congestions issues on Highway 1, secondly is to work on Abbotsford’s water supply and thirdly attempt to restore local funding to help fight crime.
Fast said he was proud of the campaign O’Toole ran and believes he has what it takes to one day become a Prime Minister.
“Erin during this campaign proved that he is ready to lead,” he said. “He has a set of policies that will serve Canadians very well.”
He added that he hopes that Canadians realize that Trudeau, who may call another election in the next year and a half, is not serving Canadians effectively.
“At some point in time Canadians are going to realize that he’s only serving the interest of himself and not Canadians,” he said.
Compared to the previous federal election, the Liberals (2019 – 21.6 per cent) and NDP (2019 – 16.9 per cent) went slightly up and the Conservatives dropped a small amount. However, support for the Green Party took a hit (2019 – 7.6 per cent) and the PPC number more than tripled (2019 – two per cent).
Sinclair, Abbotsford’s People’s Party of Canada candidate, said he is happy that incumbent Fast has won his seat again.
“At the beginning, I couldn’t really see unseating Ed Fast,” Sinclair said with a laugh. “And I’d rather have him than the Liberal candidate (Navreen Gill).”
Sinclair said he has voted Conservative all his life. He even has campaigned for Fast in the past. But he started to feel less connected to the party over the last few years. When he looked into the PPC, he felt they were more what the Conservatives used to be.
He said the PPC’s successes in this election will show the Conservatives that they can’t leave their base behind.
“People get fed up if you don’t stand for their values,” he added.
The News reached out to Gill, Yakandewela and Fowler, but they did not respond to requests for comments.
Canadians nationally elected a Liberal minority government, as they collected 158 seats. The Conservatives won 119, the Bloc Quebecois earned 34, the NDP won 25 and the Green Party scored two.
With files from – Jessica Peters, Abbotsford News