PEI

Joe Byrne 'feeling fine' after election loss

Federal NDP candidate and provincial NDP Leader Joe Byrne reflects on the party's showing during the federal election and coming in fourth in the Charlottetown riding.

'When you run an election, you better be prepared to win and you better be prepared to lose'

Joe Byrne says he will work with the NDP on P.E.I. to see how to move forward after Monday's results. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Joe Byrne has run in four different elections for the NDP — three times federally, once provincially — and says he has enjoyed them all.

That despite the fact that in Monday's federal election he came in fourth in the Charlottetown riding with 11.4 per cent of the district vote. In the 2015 election, he came in second.

"I'm feeling fine. I love the campaign and particularly a chance getting to listen to people's ideas about how to make our community and country work better," Byrne said on Tuesday morning. "I love that part of it."

Liberal Sean Casey won the Charlottetown riding with 44.2 per cent of the vote. Second went to the Green candidate Darcie Lanthier and third place went to Conservative Robert Campbell.

Byrne spent part of Tuesday volunteering at Geneva Villa, singing and playing guitar for residents and some visiting students. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

"It would be nice to finish in first place but the campaign itself and the engagement with people is wonderful," Byrne said.

"When you run an election, you better be prepared to win and you better be prepared to lose."

The party has been around for a long time and will continue to be.— Joe Byrne

He said this was the first campaign that he had to continue working at his regular job, meaning he was unable to campaign full time.

He also used a mobile office this time, a converted camper that he said allowed him to travel around and have people come up and ask him questions directly.

He said he had hoped NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh would come to P.E.I. but at the end of the campaign there was still no visit.

Byrne said he understood the demands on the federal leader's time.

"Jagmeet was in everybody's living room or on the radio every day. It is always nice to have the leader here," Byrne said. 

"But I think people, not withstanding the fact that he didn't get here, did get a chance to see what he is like and he's the real deal."

Byrne says the election reflects Canadians' desire to see more collaboration at the federal level. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Byrne said the results speak to Canadians' desire for more collaboration at the federal level.

"We'll have to see how the Liberal Party is prepared to actually negotiate some of this or how much of this do they want to impose what they want," Byrne said.

"Jagmeet has been clear on the ideas that we have and the response by Canadians is that these ideas across party lines have to find a way to work."

He said he does wish the NDP had more seats overall, but is glad there will be enough members to help make a minority government work.

Island NDP to consider next move

Byrne said NDP members on P.E.I. will need to map out where they go from here.

"We will sit down and assess it and see where we go, but the party has been around for a long time and will continue to be because we have ideas that we think are important to Charlottetown, to P.E.I. and to Canada."

Byrne said he will continue working as the leader of the provincial NDP, but it's still too early to say whether he will run again in another federal election.

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