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Bay of Quinte a blue wave in federal Liberal minority government

New Bay of Quinte MP Ryan Williams with family, friends and supporters watching the results. – Olivia Timm photo

BY OLIVIA TIMM and TOM HARRISON
The Bay of Quinte riding has returned to its historic conservative leanings with the election of Ryan Williams over incumbent Liberal Neil Ellis in Monday’s 44th general federal election.

UPDATED:  Ryan Williams 41 per cent with 25,529 votes
Neil Ellis 37 per cent with 22,542 votes
Stephanie Bell 15 per cent with 9,185 votes
Janine Leclerc five per cent with 3,045 votes
Erica Charlton two per cent with 1,386 votes

As of 1 a.m. with 210 of 217 polls reporting, Williams was leading the riding with just over 40 per cent of the vote; compared to 36 per cent of the vote for Ellis. NDP candidate Stephanie Bell had just over 16 per cent while People’s Party candidate Janine Leclerc won about five per cent.

COVID-19 protocols at some polling stations caused longer lines and wait times. Elections Canada also states that because of the influx of mail-in ballots, final tallies won’t be known until Tuesday at the earliest.

Incumbent Neil Ellis with former MP Lyle Vanclief. – Tom Harrison photo

Ellis was initially optimistic as first election results from the Maritimes showed an early Liberal national lead and first reports here gave the Bay of Quinte incumbent a small, early lead. But as more numbers slowly rolled in while they watched at San Souci, downtown Belleville, Williams lead grew.

Still, he remained generally upbeat.

“We’ve got a great team,” he said, noting the efforts of all his campaign staff led by manager Sue O’Brien. “It’s been a great campaign with lots of positive energy. There were lots of young people and more volunteers than ever.”

Speaking about Ellis’s record, former local MP and Liberal cabinet minister Lyle Vanclief gave a thoughtful appraisal of Ellis’ service on behalf of the riding and summed it up saying “Neil has been a great MP, and good for the riding.”

The former Belleville mayor was chairman of the standing committee on Veterans Affairs and appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food.

Throughout the 36-day campaign Ellis emphasized the federal government’s investment in Bay of Quinte initiatives, like affordable housing and broadband. Despite these efforts, the message did not sway voters, who decided locally it was time for a change.

Ryan Williams with his wife Allyson – Olivia Timm photo

Meanwhile, Williams, who is president of a company that owns and operates several local hotels and, until recently, was a Belleville city councillor, was thrilled as he joined friends, family and local supporters watching the results at the Export Bar and Grill.

The room filled with cheers as the Conservative candidate’s numbers creeped past the incumbent.

“It is now time to secure the future, and together we will welcome Quinte’s decade. I stand here tonight as your next member of parliament,” said Williams. “I stand here tonight because of your support and belief in me and us,” Williams announced. “This campaign of ours grew day by day, week by week, month by month, and the message went far beyond the name on the sign or the name of the party – it was a message about working hard today for a better tomorrow for this whole region – for Canada!”

Williams’ aunt, Louise Lowi, referenced her father, Don Williams, and brother, John, who both ran for the Conservative party, saying how excited she is for Ryan.

“I have been working with him for the last couple of weeks but he has started from day one, going from door to door. He is the most outgoing guy you will ever meet,” she said. “It is in his gut. He loves it.”

Williams said he felt strong about the campaign and that the message got across to the entire region.

“We felt this was a campaign for change and that people did want to see a change and wanted to talk about the future – securing the future in this region as we come out of the pandemic,” he said. “I am both humbled and honoured that you have placed your confidence in me…

“I will continue to strengthen the working relationships with our partners across all levels of government to develop regional initiatives that create confidence in our shared direction and offer solutions to our shared problems – the need for stronger job creation and filling jobs that are sitting empty right now, attracting youth to this region, creating abundant housing, raising poverty, and ensuring there is equal opportunity for all – our seniors, out veterans, everyone. This is what I heard from you and this is what I am prepared to do.”

Stephanie Bell and campaign team members downtown Picton. – Olivia Timm photo

Prince Edward County resident Stephanie Bell welcomed supporters at their “mobile campaign office” in the Butter Dream Cakes parking lot, downtown Picton – and showed appreciation for vehicles that honked and cheered as they passed the campaign team.

Bell noted an element of disappointment and she wished the outcome had been better.

“I really wanted more for us. I believe that we are so ready to lead our country; to be the leaders even as MPs here and to represent what is actually going on in our communities and not just the same old, same old,” she said. “We would like to do so much because we have so many things we know people need. Like I’ve been talking about this whole time, affordable healthcare, eye care, dental care, a basic income, these things that people desperately need. Dealing with reconciliation and climate action meaningfully – not putting this on the back burner and I just don’t see that happening.”

Bell, who also represented the party in 2019, said her next step would be to potentially run again for the NDP party, but she also intends to run for a seat on Prince Edward County council.

“I really think that’s a good spot for me and I think knowing the issues even better than I did – than I always have – I will keep going,” she said. “I think we really need to refresh our municipal governance and having a more progressive municipal government can mean that we can actually work on things like affordable housing in a more meaningful way and to pressure our provincial and federal governments to do those things.”

Alison Kelly, Ontario’s NDP candidate for the Bay of Quinte riding, said Bell’s campaign has been incredible.

“Stephanie is fantastic. She gets it. She makes it her way to make other people feel heard, to make people feel understood, to really come to where they are at,” she said. “Stephanie has always run a very positive campaign; encouraging, loving, about empowering and really trying to motivate her volunteers to be part of the decisions – to be part of this movement we are trying to move forward with.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party has held its power in a pivotal moment in the COVID-19 pandemic, as national news outlets declare he has clinched another minority government.
UPDATED: Federal seats
Liberal +1 for 158 seats
Conservative -2 for 119 seats
NDP +1 for 25 seats
Green -1 for two seats
People’s 0
others -1 for zero seats

When the election was called Aug. 15, the Liberals held 155 seats, the Conservatives 119, the Bloc Quebecois 32; NDP 24; Green Party two and five independent MPs, and one vacant.

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul and People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier failed to beat incumbents in their ridings.

Bay of Quinte riding
2015 to 2019 – Neil Ellis, Liberal
Former Prince Edward Hastings riding
2004 to 2015 – Daryl Kramp, Conservative
1988 to 2004 – Lyle Vanclief, Liberal
1979 to 1988 – Jack Ellis, Conservative
1968 to 1979 – George Hees, Conservative

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  1. Mark says:

    Neil was able to secure so much funding for this region. He did an amazing job and cared. How does our new backbench MP in opposition to the elected Government acquire input to our needs? As someone mentioned, he stands in line for table scraps.

  2. Henri Garand says:

    The perspective of financial self-interest suggests that one should vote solely for a winning party. How does one predict the electoral outcome? Surely the Trudeau Liberals were the only ones who expected to win the re-election of a scandal-prone government, with a hypocritical leader, that had mismanaged the pandemic response.

    Consider just the public health experiment the Liberals have conducted. Is the incidence of COVID among the fully vaccinated due to the initial bungled procurement of vaccines? Are people who received doses four months apart or who received mixed doses of vaccine as fully protected as those vaccinated on each manufacturer’s recommended schedule? The rollout of vaccines was quickly politicized and driven, as early as spring, by Liberal hopes of majority government.

    At least most County voters had the good sense to see that change is necessary.

  3. Stephen says:

    $610 million for what. Trudeau needs to resign!

  4. Chris Keen says:

    @Dennis @Chuck – table scraps, if that.

  5. Chuck says:

    Obviously not in as good a position as prior. Ellis was able to secure significant funding for this riding.

  6. Dennis Fox says:

    Obviously people have the freedom to vote for the person of their choice and our results reflect that freedom. The bottom line is our newly elected representative is not part of the of governing party – leaving PEC where when it comes to getting funding?

  7. Michelle says:

    The NDP align with the Liberals far more than any Conservative Govt. Knowing they had no chance of winning a strategic vote for Ellis would have made good sense.

  8. Modesta says:

    We were harassed by the conservative party by mail and phone. We had just move to Belleville three years ago from Durham Region. Since moving I have notice that Belleville has become a very popular spot for families to relocate. I love living out here and hope even though it is growing it won’t change too much. The people seems to be loving, caring and friendly. I congratulate Mr. Williams. I don’t vote for anyone. I hope he realize he is a public servant and is here to serve he public. However time will tell.

  9. todd says:

    Congrats to Ryan. He will be a great MP and is deserving of his election. Also… it’s very refreshing to see people not afraid of being together unmasked. It’s about time. Stop with all the fear people.

  10. Susan says:

    As Vic says above, the fact that all candidates were masked except Williams and his supporters (in a crowded inside location no less)says a lot. And yes, Ontario voted in Ford provincially, but I don’t think they will make that mistake again! I am sorry that Williams won, but the anti conservative vote goes to three parties, so unless everyone votes strategically….

  11. AK says:

    Michelle, if you compare the 2021 to 2019 numbers, you’ll see it was more likely those who voted liberal in 2019 that went to PC.

    Just like in the 2018 provincial election, former liberal voters jumped ship across most ridings, including BOQ.

    The NDP voters causing split votes is a false narrative.

  12. Vic Alyea says:

    Just an observation looking at the three photos in the report. Liberals Ellis and Vanclief responsibly masked as are NDP candidate Bell and her supporters. MP-elect Williams unmasked, as are his suppporters, in a crowded bar situation. Covid spreader possibility?

  13. ayar says:

    Don’t blame the NDP Michelle. The PC vote increased by just over 4%, the NDP dropped about 1% and the Liberals dropped by 3%.

  14. Argyle says:

    It was time for a change,…..

  15. Michelle says:

    It is clear to see by the numbers that the NDP cost a good MP Ellis this election.

  16. Dave Thomas says:

    Based on my completely unscientific assessment of lawn sign distribution I am surprised that Ellis lost.

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