Robert-Falcon Ouellette wins in Winnipeg Centre

The Winnipeg Centre riding has changed from orange to red, as Liberal Robert-Falcon Ouellette unseated longtime MP Pat Martin in what has been an NDP stronghold since 1997.

RAW: Robert-Falcon Ouellette victory speech

7 years ago
Duration 1:22
RAW: Robert-Falcon Ouellette wins in Winnipeg Centre

The Winnipeg Centre riding has changed from orange to red, as Liberal Robert-Falcon Ouellette unseated longtime MP Pat Martin in what has been an NDP stronghold.

With 148 out of 165 polls reporting, Ouellette had 55.1 per cent of the vote compared to 27.2 per cent for Martin, who had held the seat since 1997.

"It is such an honour and privilege to stand here before you right here tonight," Ouellette said at his campaign headquarters Monday night as supporters chanted "Falcon! Falcon!" and "RFO! RFO!"

Robert-Falcon Ouellette is surrounded by his family and supporters as he gives his victory speech on Monday night. (Sean Kavanagh/CBC)
In third place was Conservative Allie Szarkiewicz with 12.7 per cent of the vote, followed by 3.9 per cent for Don Woodstock of the Green Party.

This was Ouellette's second major foray into politics. He came in third in the race to become Winnipeg's mayor on Oct. 22, almost a year to the day before the federal election.

"The goal of this campaign was never, never, never just to win. The goal of this campaign was to see your values reflected in Ottawa, to see your values reflected in our Parliament," Ouellette said Monday night.

In Ouellette’s camp, supporters gathered early, including 18-year-old Raquel Simard, who voted for the first time this year. (Sean Kavanagh/CBC)
"The people of Winnipeg Centre, you have honoured me with the privilege of being your member of Parliament. You have given me something most precious: you have given me your trust. That is a responsibility that I take most seriously, because there will be challenges in Winnipeg Centre, but there will be also opportunity."

First-time voter Raquel Simard said she supported the Liberals because she was impressed with speeches she saw from Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and has liked Ouellette since she saw him at Thunderbird House last year.

Issues important to her include better protection of lakes and rivers and faster work on the missing and murdered women inquiry.

"I feel like a lot of people are a bit angry with the past leadership," she said. 

Martin concedes defeat

At his campaign party, Martin told supporters he had "the honour of a lifetime to be your representative for 18 years" and wished the Liberals well.

"Guess I got to look for a job," he said. "I'm only 59 years old."

Martin had landed in hot water for colourful language during his tenure as MP, as well as during his latest re-election bid.

"I could have used a little more attention to my language and I think that probably cost me a little. As I say, I'm a difficult candidate … my own worst enemy sometimes, and I do speak my mind," he said.

Pat Martin, right, chats with a supporter after the longtime NDP MP conceded defeat in the Winnipeg Centre riding on Monday night. (Caroline Barghout/CBC)
"I don't apologize or regret the way I've conducted myself in 18 years. I've brought home the bacon, I did my best to represent the riding, I did my best to make sure Winnipeg Centre got its fair share of whatever resources Ottawa might have to offer, and that's the best an MP can do.

"It's a wonderful egalitarian system we have in Canada, you know, that a carpenter can become a member of Parliament and seek to achieve the highest level of office in the land and make a difference. That's a pretty cool, you know, democratic system."

Martin added that he got married in the middle of his campaign, and "now we can have a honeymoon."

Who ran in this riding?

In 2011, Martin won the riding with 53.66 per cent of the vote. He ran against Tory Bev Pitura, Liberal Allan Wise, the Green Party's Jacqueline Romanow and the Communist Party's Darrell Rankin.


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