Conservative candidate Mark Strahl is greeted by supporters following his re-election in Monday's federal election. Although Strahl won the riding of Chilliwack-Hope

Election 2015: Strahl holds Chilliwack-Hope for Conservatives

Mark Strahl was re-elected to parliament Monday, but his Conservative party won't be forming the next government.

Mark Strahl has hung on to his seat in Ottawa.

But he’ll be moving to the opposition benches following his Conservative party’s stinging defeat to the Liberal Party on Monday.

With some polls still counting, the Liberals were elected or leading in 184 ridings – more than enough to form the next majority government.

The Liberal’s march to victory started in the Atlantic provinces, where they claimed all 32 seats.

It continued westward, prompting the CBC to project a Liberal government 20 minutes before the polls even closed in B.C.

The early results cast a cloud over Strahl’s campaign party at the Best Western Hotel in Chilliwack.

The mood lifted as numbers from the Chilliwack-Hope riding began to trickle in. But a Conservative victory wasn’t assured until almost 9 p.m.

With all the polls counted, Strahl garnered with 21,315 votes (42.4 per cent). Liberal Louis De Jaeger was 4,350 votes back in second with 16,965 (33.7 per cent).

The NDP’s Seonaigh MacPherson was a distant third with 9,148 votes (18.2 per cent)

Voter turn out was 71.3 per cent.

(The numbers are still not official.)

Strahl, speaking to supporters after they had watched Prime Minister Stephen Harper accept defeat, acknowledge the struggle the party faced this time around.

“As you can see by the numbers,” he said, “the winds of change were against us.”

In 2011, Strahl capture 57 per cent of the vote in the old riding of Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon. The NDP’s Gwen O’Mahony was second with 26 per cent, while Liberal Diane Janzen was third with 11 per cent of the vote.

Despite the loss nationally, and the apparent erosion of support locally, Strahl stood by the Conservative’s record, echoing Harper’s comments to supporters in Calgary that the Canadian economy is the strongest it has been in years.

“This is a great record over the past 10 years that we can be proud of, and that we were a part of here in Chilliwack,” Strahl said.

He also vowed to be part of a vigorous opposition.

“We will hold this government to account,” Strahl said.

“Wake up call”

Meanwhile at the Liberal headquarters downtown Chilliwack, the celebration started before the polls even closed in B.C.

Because the black out was removed this year, poll results from the East Coast and Ontario were available earlier than usual. Louis De Jaeger’s supported erupted when they heard the Liberals had formed government.

And early poll results looked promising for De Jaeger, too, leading to cheers and drumming from supporter Eddie Gardner. When Strahl was predicted this riding’s MP, the mood became more somber.

But in the end, De Jaeger roused his supporters with a speech, and a promise that he isn’t finished with politics yet.

“We have a great government with a majority of power, and it’s what we wanted,” he said. “It may not have happened in this riding, but it happened in Canada.”

He said the close results should be “a wake up call” to Strahl.

“Start to get to work for our riding. We deserve better,” he said.

He also alluded to the possibility he would enter a different political arena.

“Municipal elections are coming,” he said. “Never say never. That’s on the table.”

Just Posted

Most cows saved during massive fire on Agassiz farm thanks to fast work of farmers, neighbours

Agassiz Fire Department responded to late night call Wednesday

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Massive fire destroys Agassiz dairy barn

Reports say at least one cow died in the blaze

First court date in Chilliwack for man accused of murdering Belgian tourist

Family and friends of Sean McKenzie, 27, filled the gallery for brief court appearance Wednesday

Another successful year for Chilliwack’s ‘We Got Your Back’ backpack program

Sponsored by local businesses, program stocks backpacks with school supplies for students in need

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income people

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

Extradition hearing set for Lower Mainland developer accused of fraud

Mark Chandler will go before the B.C. Court of Appeals early next year.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Most Read