Ryan Williams elected in Bay of Quinte
Bay of Quinte only riding in eastern Ontario to see incumbent ousted
Conservative Ryan Williams has been elected in Bay of Quinte.
The riding is the only one in eastern Ontario to elect a different party than the 2019 election.
CBC projects that Williams, a former city councillor, will unseat Liberal incumbent Neil Ellis, formerly the mayor of Belleville.
Ellis only won the riding by a narrow margin in 2019. In 2021, he placed second.
Riding remains close
According to preliminary results, with 99 per cent of polls reporting, Williams won about 2,700 more votes than his Liberal competitor. Although it was enough to secure the seat, this remains the closest race in eastern Ontario outside of the nation's capital.
In an interview with CBC News on Tuesday, Williams says the housing market and job creation were key issues during the campaign.
"We saw that at the doors. We saw that people wanted change," he said.
"I speak about the next 10 years. We call it Quinte's decade and looking at how we're going to get to the next 10 years in this region, in eastern Ontario, and that resonated with voters."
Competitors close outside of politics
Williams believes Canada's largest air force base, manufacturing jobs and entrepreneurs in Belleville and Quinte West, plus a booming tourism industry in Prince Edward County, make it a dynamic riding.
Setting up shop close to each other on election night, the Liberal and Conservative candidates met up and wished each other well, Williams said.
"Neil was at my wedding," he said. "That's how well I know Neil. My father was mayor of Quinte West when he was mayor of Belleville."
Following the two front runners was the NDP's Stephanie Bell, the Greens' Erica Charlton and Janine LeClerc for the People's Party.
The Bay of Quinte was one of three Liberal ridings in eastern Ontario, excluding Ottawa, in 2019. The riding has a population of 109,735 as of the latest census and contains Belleville and Prince Edward County.