PEI

'I feel pretty proud': Easter elected in Malpeque

Liberal incumbent Wayne Easter was elected once again in the P.E.I. riding of Malpeque.

Liberal incumbent wins handily after leading from outset

Liberal Wayne Easter, right, watches the election results in the Cornwall Civic Centre with Jane Follwell, left, and his wife Helen Easter, centre. (Brian McInnis/CBC)

Liberal incumbent Wayne Easter was elected once again in the P.E.I. riding of Malpeque.

Easter said he feels "absolutely great" and humbled to be elected for the ninth time.

"I feel pretty proud of my record," he said Monday night at his headquarters in Cornwall. "We want to build on what we've been able to do in the last four years."

Easter pointed to the new Cornwall bypass, which was built as part of a federal-provincial infrastructure project, as an example of the progress the Liberal government has made in the area.

Though he's held the seat for 26 years, Easter said he didn't take the outcome of the election for granted.

"You're always nervous until that first or second or third poll rolls in. You're on edge, because the last thing you want to be in politics is overconfident of where you're at."

With 85 of 91 polls in, Easter had nearly 41 per cent of the vote. Green Party candidate Anna Keenan had 27 per cent. Conservative candidate Stephen Stewart about 25 per cent, and NDP candidate Craig Nash had almost seven per cent.

The last time a party other than the Liberals held a seat in Malpeque was in 1984. Easter first won the seat in 1993 and was re-elected in 1997, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2015. 

Keenan, originally from Australia, moved to P.E.I. with her family in 2015 and lives in New Glasgow. She got involved as the campaign director for the P.E.I. Coalition for Proportional Representation in 2016, and served in 2017 as P.E.I. Green Party president. 

She said she had a mix of feelings after the results Monday night.

"Clearly we would have loved to have been in a first-place situation, but nearly tripled the Green vote from the last federal election till now is actually a big success for us, so we're pretty excited about it."

Keenan said she intends to build on that success and run in the next federal election.

"The challenge is not the lack of support for Green ideas. The challenge is being a first-time candidate in a growing party and just needing to have the volunteers and the ground game to get to enough doors."

Green Party candidate Anna Keenan and her husband Robert VanWaarden congratulate Liberal MP Wayne Easter after Easter was declared elected in Malpeque on Monday. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

Stewart finished a distant second to Easter in 2015. He is a retired entrepreneur from Kensington who spent more than 30 years in P.E.I.'s mussel industry. 

Craig Nash, who is originally from Gladstone, Man., works as a commissionaire and spent time in Canada's military He has run provincially for the NDP and was campaign manager for the NDP in the District 9 byelection. 

For all the up-to-the-minute results and commentary, save CBC's results page at cbc.ca/results.

Wayne Easter greets supporters as he enters his campaign headquarters Monday night in Cornwall. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shane Ross is a former newspaper and TV journalist in Halifax, Ottawa and Charlottetown. He joined CBC P.E.I.'s web team in 2016.

With files from Natalia Goodwin

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