Ralph Goodale, one of the few Liberal candidates to maintain a healthy margin of victory in the face of an NDP surge, says his party will have to take some time to mull over the election results.
Goodale won the Regina and area riding of Wascana, although not as handily as he had done in the past. With all but two polls reporting, Goodale had 46.1 per cent of the vote. His closest challenger, Conservative Ian Shield, had 34.6 per cent of the vote.
'To survive against that wave is not an insignificant accomplishment.'—Ralph Goodale
Goodale's win, however, was noteworthy because it came in the face of a national tide that went against dozens of Liberal candidates, including party leader Michael Ignatieff.
"To survive against that wave is not an insignificant accomplishment," Goodale said.
Noting that his party's leader will not have a seat in Parliament, Goodale was asked about the future of Ignatieff.
"We'll sort that out in the days and weeks to come," Goodale said. "Mr. Ignatieff put a superb effort into this campaign. His stamina, his message, his absolute determination through it all was really a magnificent performance."
"It's premature tonight to jump to any conclusions," Goodale added. "But it's obviously been a very difficult night."
When asked if he had leadership aspirations, Goodale laughed and said: "Oh, I'm not going there tonight. This is a profound set of circumstances that the party has to weigh very carefully."
Goodale also took a swipe at a Conservative Party strategy that took aim at the Liberal leader.
"We went for about a two year period with the Conservatives quite literally carpet-bombing with negative advertising that inflicted a significant amount of damage," Goodale said. "And the party was not in a position to respond vigorously enough to that. And that created an atmosphere in which it was very difficult to introduce the leader properly and to get a thorough policy message out."
Goodale said he also wanted the Liberals to focus on policy and rebuilding its organization.
He said it may be easier to concentrate on that without what he called the "distraction" of a possible election looming.