Ralph Goodale was greeted by teary-eyed supporters chanting his name defiantly as the long-serving politician faced his first defeat in 26 years.
“It has been a singular honour every day to step into the House of Commons and to be able to say that I represent Regina-Wascana,” he said from the podium. “I am very proud to say that we did indeed get a lot of very good things done.”
It was Conservative Michael Kram who ousted the Liberal cabinet minister.
Goodale said he felt a sense of disappointment for his supporters, but also deep gratitude for their long-term commitment.
“Things change and people go forward,” he told the attentive crowd. “The democratic process works and the people are always right.”
Goodale won the previous eight elections and was the lone Liberal MP in Saskatchewan for more than a decade. Now, Saskatchewan is solely blue with Conservatives claiming all 14 seats in Parliament.
Goodale said he isn’t sure what’s next for him — but didn’t rule out helping others who reach out for help. In his speech, he said there will be opportunities to celebrate the “rejuvenation, recovery and victory once again of the Liberal candidates in Regina-Wascana.”
He said it will be important for the Liberal minority government to ensure that all regions of the country feel included, respected and heard.
Goodale noted the success of the Bloc Québécois as well as the “reduced representation” of the Liberals in the west, noting that this will pose challenges.
“It’s going to be really a critical strategic objective to make sure that all of those various threads are pulled together, in a way that makes a cohesive whole,” he said.
Goodale also pointed to international turmoil, listing a trade war between China and the US, Brexit, and challenges in the Middle East.
“This is a very dangerous, very difficult world, and it’s a world that needs a sound, solid, progressive form of leadership from a country like Canada.”
‘We have beaten the odds’
Kram emerged onto the stage in front of a roaring crowd at Scheer’s headquarters and thanked Goodale.
“We’ve been a bit hard on him these last six weeks, but the truth is that much of what he has said in his campaign literature is true,” Kram said.
The Conservatives campaigned hard against Goodale this time around.
Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer even campaigned alongside Kram on Monday. Conservatives Michelle Rempel and Sen. Denise Batters previously joined Kram on the campaign trail.
“He has often been a strong advocate for Regina. He didn’t keep getting re-elected all those times by accident.Ralph Goodale has been a dedicated public servant.”
Kram said he was told that he would never beat Goodale.
Goodale previously defeated Kram in the 2015 federal election, securing 55 per cent of the vote in the riding (23,552 votes) compared to Kram’s 30 per cent (12,931).
“We have beaten the odds.”
Kram promised supporters that he will “repay that trust by representing your interests in Parliament to the best of my abilities,” he said.
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