Ben Lobb wins fifth MP term in Huron-Bruce
BY DENNY SCOTT
Huron-Bruce MP Ben Lobb has won a fifth consecutive term after Monday’s federal election, taking more votes than all other candidates combined according to preliminary results.
National media organizations declared Lobb the winner after 10 p.m. on Monday with only approximately 10 per cent of the polling stations reporting in Huron-Bruce, however the prediction proved correct as preliminary results showed Lobb claiming 51.4 per cent of the vote with 271 of 272 polls reporting. As of Tuesday morning, Lobb captured 30,373 votes with his closest rival, Liberal candidate James Rice, capturing 15,118, or 25.6 per cent of the vote. Jan Johnstone captured 8,718 votes, or 14.7 per cent of votes cast. Jack Stecho, representing the People’s Party of Canada, won 4,392 votes, or 7.4 per cent of total votes, while independent Justin L. Smith swayed 0.9 per cent of Huron and Bruce voters, or 509 votes.
Lobb’s win marks a small increase over the 2019 results in which he captured 48.7 per cent of the vote.
Preliminary results on Tuesday morning also show that the percentage of Huron and Bruce voters who went to the poll, which was over 70 per cent in the 2019 election, had dropped to 67.19 with one poll yet to report.
Shortly after Lobb was declared the winner by national media outlets, several reported the Liberal Party of Canada would retain its position as Canada’s leading party. Not long after that, however, those same outlets declared it would be another minority government.
Preliminary results on Tuesday morning show that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s gambit of calling an early election in his second term would pay small dividends with the Liberals gaining only one seat while the Bloc Quebecois gained two and the NDP gained one. Those four seats, according to early predictions, were lost by the Conservatives (two), the Green Party (one) and one “other” representative.
The Liberals, according to preliminary results, fell 12 seats short of the 170 needed for a majority government with the Conservatives holding on to 119 seats. The Bloc Quebecois have 34 seats while the NDP have 25. Two seats were either being led by or were already declared for “other” candidates.
Please note that, as of press time, the Liberals were leading in 12 contested ridings, the Conservatives in three, the Bloc Quebecois in two and the NDP in one.
While the Liberals did earn more seats than any other party, the percentage of votes won by the parties tells a very different story. The Conservative party of Canada, in preliminary results on Tuesday morning, had captured 34 per cent of the vote share, leading the country. The Liberals captured 32.2 per cent of the vote share. While the Bloc Quebecois won 32 seats, eight more than the NDP, the NDP captured 17.7 per cent of the vote share, more than double that of the Bloc at 7.7 per cent. The Green Party captured 2.3 per cent of the vote share while the People’s Party of Canada captured 5.1, however the People’s Party won no ridings. Other candidates and parties captured 0.9 per cent of the vote share.
Lobb, at a special event at the Goderich Sunset Golf Club just north of Goderich, told reporters that he had definitive goals for his fifth term in office. He said issues and representation in rural Ontario hadn’t changed with the election and the situations of Monday would be the same as those on Tuesday, explaining there needs to be a focus on infrastructure funding for rural Ontario and a focus on getting broadband internet access to all residents.
He said he takes his work seriously and looks forward to representing all the constituents of Huron and Bruce Counties, regardless of whether or not they voted for him.
As far as what the country needs, he said getting citizens back to work was key, with the goal being to get one million people back to work. Labour shortages are hitting the area across the board and he said the federal government needs to incentivize businesses to get jobs filled and provide safe working conditions.
Lobb also said that, with the Delta variant of COVID-19 and the fourth wave of the pandemic, it was clear that both case numbers and hospitalization statistics need to be kept low as the government needs people working to get out of the deficit the pandemic has caused.
Housing will also be an important issue, he said, and that’s definitely a new reality compared to a decade ago. Homes of every kind are needed, he said, from homes for new families to smaller spaces for retirees to downsize in to affordable spaces for recent graduates to live and work in the community.
“That’s a major crisis here,” he said. “We need affordable housing.”
Lobb also commented on the election being called during the pandemic, saying it was opportunistic and risky, and that Trudeau wouldn’t get the majority he was aiming for.
Later in the evening Lobb thanked his campaign team as well as everyone who supported him. Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson was also at the event and congratulated Lobb on his win.