North

Liberal Larry Bagnell wins Yukon federal election

Yukon Liberal candidate Larry Bagnell is heading back to Ottawa. The former MP won more than half of all votes cast, nearly 6,000 votes ahead of Conservative Ryan Leef.

'Let's go to Ottawa and get our Canada back!' Bagnell tells victory party

Liberal Larry Bagnell carries his son on his shoulders as he celebrates his win Monday night in Whitehorse. 'Let's go to Ottawa and get our Canada back,' Bagnell said. (Nancy Thomson/CBC)

The Liberal Party's Larry Bagnell is heading back to Ottawa, four years after narrowly losing his seat to Conservative Ryan Leef.

Bagnell won the Yukon riding decisively Monday night, with 10,715 votes or 53.6 per cent of the vote. Leef, in second place, won 4,800 votes representing 24 per cent of all ballots.  

"Let's go to Ottawa and get our Canada back!" Bagnell told a cheering crowd of supporters at his victory party Monday night.

Yukon Conservative candidate concedes to Liberal Larry Bagnell, election night, Oct. 19, 2015. (Philippe Morin)
"We ran a campaign to give hope — to the unemployed, to the veterans, to the struggling elders, to the scientists, to the First Nations people, to the environmentalists, to those who want their democracy restored," Bagnell said.

Bagnell's win is a massive turnaround from the last election, when he unexpectedly lost the seat he'd held for 11 years. On Monday, he received nearly double the number of votes he got in 2011.

In his concession speech, Leef congratulated Bagnell and urged Yukoners to support their new MP.

"Tonight democracy worked and Canada got the change it was looking for," Leef said.

'It is what it is,' says NDP's Atkinson

Though NDP candidate Melissa Atkinson led in the first few polls reported, Bagnell soon took a solid lead and held on through the evening. His vote share consistently hovered around the 50 per cent mark, with Atkinson and Leef at times almost evenly dividing the remainder of votes. Eventually, Leef solidified his second-place position.

NDP candidate Melissa Atkinson (right) with her mother on Monday evening. 'I started this campaign in a positive way,' she said. (Vic Istchenko)
Atkinson ended in third place, with 3,890 votes, or 19.5 per cent. That's a modest increase from 2011 for the party, when NDP candidate Kevin Barr won 14.4 per cent of the vote.

"It is what it is," Atkinson said after Bagnell was declared the winner. "I started this campaign in a positive way, and it was about putting that faith in the people. They have spoken."

Green candidate Frank de Jong finished a distant fourth, with 577 votes or 2.9 per cent. That represented a big collapse in Green support since 2011, when the party's John Streicker won 18.9 per cent of the Yukon vote, finishing ahead of the NDP's Barr.

"I am very happy that the Harper government has been defeated, and defeated soundly," de Jong said. 

"That's sending a message that Canadians are not as mean-spirited as the Conservative government was portraying us all over the world." 

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