Boshcoff blaming national politics for third-place finish

Zoey Duncan

Local Liberal candidate Ken Boshcoff’s chance to reclaim his old seat in the House of Commons was doused by separate waves of support for the NDP and Conservative Party on Monday night.
The former two-term MP finished a distant third in Thunder Bay-Rainy River behind incumbent John Rafferty and Tory hopeful Maureen (“Moe”) Comuzzi-Stehmann.
“It’s been decades since a Conservative came in second [locally],” noted Boshcoff.
“That tells you also, with the majority government, that there was a lot of support [in this riding] for the national Conservative platform, too,” he added.
Boshcoff said one of the difficulties for any politician who expects to represent Thunder Bay-Rainy River is the vast distance the riding covers, which includes 16 municipalities and 11 First Nations’ communities—and an understandably diverse set of interests.
Boshcoff attributed his loss to national, more than regional, politics.
“I think definitely the issue came down to leadership between Mr. Layton and Mr. Ignatieff,” he remarked.
“Certainly my message in terms of the platform about economic opportunities was well-received,” he noted. “But when they [voters] went to the ballot box, it was leader.”
When he was elected MP for a second term in 2006, Boshcoff edged Rafferty by only 658 votes.
Then in 2008, he lost to Rafferty by a little under 3,000 votes.
This time, however, he was left far behind—garnering just 8,066 votes to Rafferty’s 18,039 and 10,096 for Comuzzi-Stehmann.
Boshcoff spent election night with supporters at the Slovak Legion in Thunder Bay, where he sat with anxious family and friends as the Conservatives rolled to a majority win early in the evening.
The Liberals ended up finishing third behind the NDP, losing 43 seats across Canada to wind up with just 34 heading into the next Parliament.
“[In Canada], it’s kind of the rich against the poor now and the Liberals have become the middle, so it’s kind of weird,” Lorna Sutherland, president of the Thunder Bay and Area Women’s Liberal Club, said Monday night.
“I think, because a lot of people are hurting in the country and that we want to eradicate things like poverty, that people are identifying with that [NDP] end of the spectrum, which is lower wages and unionized ideas,” she reasoned.
“Not that it’s bad for the country, might even be good, but it’s not what I thought people would want,” Sutherland added.
Boshcoff, meanwhile, wished Rafferty good luck in Ottawa.
“I think we all have to get behind the elected member of Parliament and support him because we need a voice in Ottawa and the [MP] should be supported by the people,” he stressed.
“Mr. Rafferty won the election fair and square and it was very civil campaign, so I congratulate him,” Boshcoff added.