After a large majority win in the last two federal elections, incumbent NDP Jack Harris says he was surprised by his loss to Liberal Nick Whalen in St. John's East Monday night by fewer than 700 votes.
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In the 2011 federal election, Harris won with 72 per cent of the vote in his riding and in 2008 that number was 78 per cent. Harris said Monday night's loss wasn't expected.
You have to respect that and people have their right to make the decision to have whoever they want to represent them.- Jack Harris
"I've got to say I am surprised, I'm surprised to see the results tonight," he said.
"It's pretty sudden to have to try and look back at all that. I have to say I'm not ready to do that, I wasn't ready to do that. I was ready to continue what I was doing."
According to Harris, the NDP's losses in Newfoundland and Labrador—as well as in other parts of Canada — seemed to be part of an overall effort to oust Stephen Harper.
"Someone said a long time ago that people have the right to be wrong. I think the logic would be to continue to have an NDP representative because that's who's there and that's who's doing the job that people tell me that they like, but that's not always — the logic doesn't always play a big role in politics," said Harris.
Thanks for all your support and good wishes for me in my role as MP and in the election. It's been an honour and a privilege.—@JackHarrisNDP
"You have to respect that and people have their right to make the decision to have whoever they want to represent them. They've made that choice and I hope that it works out."
Meanwhile, new Liberal MP Nick Whalen said he was happy to be elected, even if it meant Harris had to go.
"I know Jack personally, he's a really nice man, I really respect him and his family — I hope this isn't too hard on them, but it's politics and I wanted the Liberal party to get in because we have the best plan for Canada," said Whalen.
"I'm going to take care of your constituents and take all their files and continue to work them and make sure the people you were helping continue to be helped and served in the riding and you can have faith in me to do that."
According to Whalen, he credits the popularity of Leader Justin Trudeau's and the Liberal's plan for Canada that helped propelled him to a win.
"I was able to get behind it and convince people in St. John's East that it's the right direction for the country and I think they trusted me to be a part of the team that would implement it," he said.
"I know for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador the driving force was to get rid of Stephen Harper and we've helped to do that tonight and I think everyone should be really happy about that."