Candidates weigh in on the election night results

By Merna Emara
Staff Writer

Incumbent MP Marcus Powlowski and Yuk-Sem Won, NDP candidate for Thunder Bay-Rainy River agree on one thing: calling an election was a bad idea.

Powlowski said he is happy to get re-elected because he enjoyed the MP job he assumed in 2019.

“I’m happy to be reelected,” Powlowski said. “That’s certainly the case. I’ve really enjoyed the job. I’m happy that it’s still mine.”

And while Powlowski won the riding for the second term, he said the numbers were a little closer than where he would have liked.

Powlowski had 13,033 votes, Conservative candidate Adelina Pecchia got 11,266 votes, NDP’s Yuk-Sem Won came in third place with 10,885 votes, Alan Aubut from the People’s Party had 2,553 votes and Tracey MacKinnon from the Green Party had 553 votes.

The difference in votes between Powlowski and Pecchia is 1,767. 

This is not the greatest result in his opinion, Powlowski said.

“It seems like we’re exactly where we started before the election,” Powlowski said. “I don’t think the Prime Minister predicted that when he called the election. We went through the whole process only to be basically back in the same place we were.”

MP Marcus Powlowski was reelected to the Thunder Bay-Rainy River riding in Monday’s vote. – File photo

Won said although she enjoyed the campaign, it was a completely unnecessary election because a lot of time and effort were spent for no reason.

With a three-way split of votes, Won said, there was no clear direction, especially because she was hearing of disappointment at the Liberal leadership.

However, she said the NDP still has a lot of support.

“People still believe in the NDP,” Won said. “For five short weeks, we were able to get out, motivate and inspire people.”

This is not the first time Won has run for the Thunder Bay-Rainy River riding. She previously ran in 2019 and said she is willing to run again in the next federal election.

“There’s likely to be about 11,000 voters that strongly believe in what the NDP stands for,” Won said. “We’re elected as candidates as well. If that’s the choice, then I’d be happy to run. It’s a huge undertaking to be the candidate and to put your whole life on hold for the campaign.”

Powlowski also said he would run again, but he hopes to continue some of the things he has already started, one of which is getting a chronic care home in Fort William, as well as helping the tourism sector that was affected by COVID.

“The fishing issue and Americans illegally fishing on the Canadian side is also the kind of thing that had I not won, I’m really doubtful any other candidate would have spent the time trying to figure it all out and finding a way to advocate and potentially address the problem because it’s taken quite a while to learn the issues and understand the legalities of it,” Powlowski added.

The Green Party’s MacKinnon said while she is disappointed at the results, she is glad that it is still a minority government.

“I was hoping the NDP would win in this riding and we would have some kind of real change. I think it’s long overdue,” MacKinnon said in an email to the Times. “I’m surprised the PPC did as well as they did compared to the Green Party.”

Powlowski said he believes the PPC split votes with the Conservatives, adding that they also picked up some NDP votes.

The PPC campaigned mainly on the basis of being against COVID-19 vaccination passports and restrictions imposed by the government.

Powlowski said he is concerned about the growing radicalization of politics in Canada both on the right and the left.

“I’d hate to see Canada become and allow itself to become a place where the tiny angry mob wins,” he added. “People certainly have freedom of expression. And it’s important to allow freedom of expression, I don’t think we should allow extreme positions to dominate the political discourse.”

However, when it comes to serving his constituents, he said it does not matter whether they support him or not.

“Whether you support me or not, that doesn’t come up when you give me a call or send me an email,” Powlowski said. “Things change when you’re a Member of Parliament. Now you have an obligation to all of our citizens regardless of whether they voted for you or not. It’s your job and you’re getting paid for it. I’ll continue to look after the interests of the citizens in my riding.”