PEI

Federal Election 2015: Lawrence MacAulay keeps seat in Cardigan

Liberal Lawrence MacAulay hangs onto his seat in Cardigan, which supporters call a huge victory.

Liberal Lawrence MacAulay gets 9th consecutive win in Liberal sweep, quips 'I'm just getting started'

Liberal Lawrence MacAulay held onto his seat in Cardigan 1:35

There were lots of hugs at Liberal Lawrence MacAulay's victory party as the Cardigan MP celebrated his ninth consecutive win. "The victory is yours," he said to supporters at his headquarters in Poole's Corner Monday night.

Listen, I'm just getting started.- Lawrence MacAulay

Initial counts indicate MacAulay took 65 per cent of the votes. The results won't be made official by Elections Canada for several days.

"I think it's going to be a red tide across the country," MacAulay said at his victory speech. Indeed, that would turn out to be the case, as a red tide swept much of the country. 

Conservative Julius Patkai trailed with 16.2 per cent, followed by New Democrat Billy Cann with 11.1 per cent and Green Party's Teresa Doyle with 6.4 per cent. Christian Heritage party candidate Christene Squires took just over one per cent of the popular vote.

MacAulay's supporters call this a huge victory for the riding, saying he's done much for the area and will work to restore jobs to the region if the Liberals take office federally.

Long-time incumbent

So, no change to Lawrence MacAulay's status as the longest-serving federal politician in Island history. The only change is really in the swiftness and the magnitude of his win. 

Lawrence MacAulay and his wife Frances clinch his victory in Monday night's election with a kiss. (CBC)

MacAulay gave credit to his wife Frances, and his twin sisters Mary and Gloria "who canvassed every weekend with me, Friday evening and Saturday," he said, to calling them to stand with him at the podium. He says they like Justin Trudeau because he's promised to dial Canada's official retirement age back to 65, and Monday night was their 65th birthday.

"I thank Stephen Harper for making it a long campaign. Because people got to see what Justin Trudeau really was," he added. "It's amazing what can happen when you put the proper policies in place." 

Lots of hugs for supporters at Lawrence MacAulay's victory part in the riding of Cardigan. (Laura Meader/CBC)

He touched on his favourite topic, the ferry service between Wood Islands, P.E.I. to Caribou, N.S., joking that he believes "it will continue."

MacAulay has represented the riding of Cardigan for the Liberals since 1988. He's known for attending every wake, wedding, graduation and benefit concert there for the past 27 years.

The closest brush with that political immortality came in 2011, and it was barely a feather-touch.

In that election, former provincial cabinet minister Mike Currie took more than 38 per cent of the vote for the Conservative Party. But MacAulay was still a solid 10 points ahead with 49.6 per cent (10,486 votes). The NDP took 10 per cent and the Greens less than two percent in 2011.

In the 15 elections since the riding of Cardigan was created, electors overwhelmingly voted Liberal. Only 1968, 1979 and 1984 were exceptions to the red rule, when voters elected Conservative members of Parliament.

The candidates

MP Lawrence MacAualy beat out Teresa Doyle, Julius Patkai and Billy Cann for the win in Cardigan.. (CBC)

Challengers Julius Patkai from the Conservative Party and Green Party candidate Teresa Doyle, and Christene Squires for the Christian Heritage Party were all first-time candidates.

The NDP's Billy Cann ran unsuccessfully in two provincial elections for two other parties — the Liberals in 2007 and as leader of the Island Party in 2011.

Conservative Patkai, who came to Canada as a Hungarian refugee more than 40 years ago, is a former tobacco farmer who now operates an international trade and business management company in Cardigan. His wife Jolee is a musician and they've raised three sons.

Green Teresa Doyle is an award-winning folk musician who grew up on a farm and earned a political science degree from UPEI.

Mid-campaign, she released a single I Remember Canada she calls "a love song for this country." It's become a sort of campaign anthem, and includes the lines: "We took care of one another, worked for justice and for truth, I remember Canada do you?" and  "No more flags on our backpacks, our reputation's changed." Doyle and her husband Brett Bunston, who owns owns a coffee-roasting business, are empty-nesters in Caledonia.

The NDP's Billy Cann grew up in the small community of Gaspereaux, which he and his wife Diane and their three dogs still call home. He owns a construction business and tourism rentals in the town of Montague.

Newfoundland-born Christene Squires ran for the Christian Heritage Party, and said she had run a limited campaign due to health issues.

"I look forward to seeing God's power move from the east to the west of this great nation in this general election," she wrote on her website.

MacAulay lives in Midgell with his wife Frances.

He was minister of labour from 1997-98 and solicitor general from 1998-2002 in the cabinet of Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

CBC News reporter Laura Meader asked MacAulay if this would be his final election.

"Listen, I'm just getting started," he quipped.

Cardigan is the largest federal district on the Island both geographically and by population, taking in all of Kings and part of Queens County and with just over 36,000 residents.

With files from the CBC's Laura Meader

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