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Gladu blames Conservative election loss on vote-splitting People’s Party

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Tara Jeffrey

Marilyn Gladu is happy to put the election campaign behind her.

“This election was ugly,” said Sarnia-Lambton’s MP, pointing to incidents of violence and vandalism across Canada during last month’s 44th general election.

“I think everybody is generally really angry. Essentially, we spent $600 million to have an election in the middle of a pandemic and nothing’s changed.”

It was her third straight victory, and Gladu earned nearly as many votes as the other five candidates combined — 26,292 votes, or 46% of the total ballots cast at 178 polls.

The NDP’s Adam Kilner again finished second with 11,945 votes (21%) and Liberal Lois Nantais third with 10,865 (19%).

People’s Party candidate Brian Everaert earned 6,359 votes in his second bid for the seat, or 11% — a big jump from 2019 when he took 3% of the vote.

Green Party candidate Stefanie Bunko tallied 848 votes (1%) and Thomas Laird of the Christian Heritage Party 478.

“I’m very disappointed in what happened with the rest of the country,” Gladu said of Canadians’ re-electing a Liberal minority government. She blames a surge in popularity for the PPC for costing the Conservatives the election.

“While the PPC didn’t win any seats themselves, they kept the conservatives from winning government,” she said, pointing to 24 ridings that would have gone blue if the PPC party hadn’t been “engaged.”

“Arguably, we would have a Conservative government now…and that really is the lesson of history, that when Conservatives divide, the Liberals win.”

She suspects many voters were looking for more clear answers from PC leader Erin O’Toole on controversial issues like vaccine passports, a carbon tax and gun legislation.

Gladu was first elected in 2015, earning nearly 39% of the vote. Her victory broke Sarnia-Lambton’s 52-year bellwether riding streak – the first time the winning party’s candidate hadn’t been elected since 1963.

In 2019, the mother of two and first female chemical engineer ever sent to the House of Commons took nearly 50% of the vote.

“I am really pleased to see that the people in Sarnia-Lambton are happy with the job that I’m doing and that I’m going to continue to represent them strongly,” she said.

“I think we’re on the right track in terms of knowing the priorities here in the community — affordable housing, mental health, suicide and addictions, and getting the money that we need for continuing to diversify and create jobs here.”

The former Conservative leadership candidate says it’s too soon to say what will happen to party leadership — but won’t rule out another bid for the top job.

The Conservative caucus was expected to meet on Oct. 5 to discuss a possible leadership review.

Gladu said the pandemic and her own party derailed her leadership bid in 2020. At the time, Gladu planned to gather the mandatory signatures at 25 organized events that were cancelled by the pandemic emergency orders. She appealed to party leaders to suspend the leadership race, but they refused, she said.

Nor would the committee accept her $100,000 deposit, citing reasons contrary to Election Canada rules, she said.

“My own party deliberately kept me off the ballot, even though I had the money and the signatures,” she said. “So obviously I’d have to have support from the party before I’d ever consider that.

“But anything can happen in politics.”








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