PEI·PEI Votes

'I felt shockingly calm': Rookie MLAs react to their 1st political wins

While there are still some questions to be answered on how P.E.I.'s colourful new government will operate — it will certainly bring many new faces into the House, some who are first-timers to politics all together.

6 Greens, 4 PCs and 1 Liberal newly elected

Bloyce Thompson won in District 8 Stanhope-Marshfield with 1,300 votes. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

While there are still some questions to be answered on how P.E.I.'s colourful new government will operate — it will certainly bring many new faces into the House, some who are first-timers to politics all together.

Here are some of the Island's newly elected MLAs.

Progressive Conservatives

The Tories took 12 of 27 seats on Tuesday night.

Bloyce Thompson won in District 8 Stanhope-Marshfield with 1,300 votes — he came ahead of Liberal leader and outgoing premier Wade MacLauchlan who came in second with 1,196 votes. Thompson is a dairy farmer who is known to sometimes take glamour shots of his dairy cows

Thompson says watching the results was an emotional experience. 

"I was watching it with my wife and children, we decided to watch it on our own and it was yeah, a bit of a roller-coaster ride," Thompson said. 

He's looking forward to the challenge of collaborating with the other parties and anticipates positive outcomes. 

"It will be something new for this government and for the Island really. And I think it will be a test to see how we can all work together," he said. 

Cory Deagle won in District 3 Montague-Kilmuir with 1,373 votes. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Cory Deagle won in District 3 Montague-Kilmuir with 1,373 votes — Liberal candidate Daphne Griffin came second with 785 votes. Deagle is a volunteer and worked as a legislative assistant with the PCs. This district was held by Liberal MLA Allen Roach, who did not reoffer.

Deagle says he's had his eyes on entering politics for a couple of years and he's ready to get to work, hoping to continue to help grow the community that voted him in. 

I want to stay involved in the community as much as I can — because they're the ones that put me here.— Cory Deagle

"I think if you want to jump into politics, you can't just jump in last minute, you kind of have to plan out ... I've always liked giving back to my community and helping out and I thought this was the next logical step," he said. 

He says while his life will likely change with the added responsibilities of being an MLA, he won't be setting aside his hockey coaching duties anytime soon. 

"I'm going to do my best to make it all work," he said. "Obviously my residents come first, but I certainly don't want to give up coaching hockey and ... refereeing. It helps keep me in shape and whatnot, so, I want to stay involved in the community as much as I can — because they're the ones that put me here."

Greens 

The Greens came away with eight seats in total on Tuesday night, winning in districts against Liberal cabinet ministers. A stark contrast to the results of the 2015 election when the party had only one representative elected.  

Karla Bernard won District 12 Charlottetown-Victoria Park with 1,272 votes — Richard Brown, former Liberal MLA and minister of communities, land and environment, came second with 875 votes. Bernard was a teacher and counsellor with the Public Schools Branch.

Karla Bernard won District 12 Charlottetown-Victoria Park with 1,272 votes. (Julien Lecacheur/CBC)

Bernard says she was unsure of what to expect as the results rolled in on Tuesday night.

"I felt shockingly calm, I was very — I was not married to any outcome. And I thought you know if I win, awesome, I get to do a lot of amazing things in Charlottetown and if I don't, I get to go back to my job next week. So I really was just not really expecting anything," Bernard said.

She says collaboration will be crucial in working with the other parties on contentious issues like a carbon tax.

"We may not agree with each other but we really do need to find a common ground, because we don't have time to talk about this and argue about this. We really need to move forward with action immediately on that," she said.

Steve Howard won District 22 Summerside-South Drive with 1,302 votes. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Steve Howard won District 22 Summerside-South Drive with 1,302 votes — Tina Mundy, former Liberal MLA and minister of family and human services, came second with 938 votes. Howard is an entrepreneur working in solar energy.

On the campaign trail, Howard says, he heard the murmurs of voters on their desire for change. As the results began to trickle in on Tuesday night, he says he was anxious to see if that desire for change would translate into votes. 

"My priority as an MLA is to — I mean, district first, party second is how it goes within the Greens," he said. Howard says he is looking forward to tackling the issue of affordable housing. 

Liberals

While it was a disappointing election for the Liberals, the party came away with six seats in total. 

Newly elected Gord McNeilly won District 14 Charlottetown-West Royalty with 1,079 votes — Green candidate Gavin Hall came second with 966 votes. McNeilly is an entrepreneur and volunteer on the Island. His win as a Liberal comes after his narrow defeat four years ago as an NDP candidate.

Gord McNeilly won District 14 Charlottetown-West Royalty with 1,079 votes. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Following a late and narrow victory — similar to how he lost four years ago — on Tuesday night, McNeilly says he's feeling good. 

"I've worked very, very hard at getting the advance poll vote out and I think we knew that's what it was but it was like you were being dangled over a cliff for a few hours," he said. 

"I don't think you get those experiences and those moments back in life so I just wanted to embrace every bit of it." 

He says despite Tuesday night's disappointing results, the group of Liberals elected are very strong and eager to get to work. 

More P.E.I. news

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sam Juric

Reporter

Sam Juric is a reporter with CBC Sudbury and can be reached at sam.juric@cbc.ca.

With files from Sarah MacMillan, Brian Higgins, Nicole Williams, Steve Bruce and Julien Lecacheur

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