Liberal candidate Lloyd Longfield not only held on to the riding of Guelph as the Grits were swept to power last night, he seemingly creamed all competition as the former Chamber of Commerce president took nearly 50 per cent of the vote in the Royal City.
With all 245 polls in the City of Guelph now reporting, Longfield’s election to the 42nd Parliament is official with an astounding 49.1 per cent of the vote with a total of 34,303 individual ballots cast in his favour. Longfield secured nearly 10,000 votes more than his predecessor Frank Valeriote, who was re-elected in 2011with 25,574 votes and a 43.4 per cent of the total turnout.
Longfield’s nearest competition was Conservative Gloria Kovach, who got just 26.4 per cent of the vote with 18,407 ballots marked for the former city councillor. Historically, Marty Burke did slightly better in 2011 with 19,252 ballots and 32.7 per cent. Kovach did, however, do better than her 2008 showing in that Federal Election where she won 17,186 votes for a 29.1 per cent share of the total voter pie. Still, in 2008 Kovach came within 1,800 votes of beating Valeriote in a race similar to 2015 in that Guelph had no incumbent candidate in the race.
NDP Andrew Seagram and the Green Party’s Gord Miller finished very close together with less than 500 votes between them. Seagram scored 12 per cent of the vote with 8,372 ballots cast, while Miller finished 11.3 per cent and 7,909 ballots cast. Seagram couldn’t match Bobbi Stewart’s 2011 take of 16.7 per cent and 9,836 votes, but Miller did do better than John Lawson who in 2011 got just 6.3 per cent and 3,711 votes. Still, despite four visits from party leader Elizabeth May, and his status as a star candidate for the Greens, Miller could not best the all-time record for Guelph Greens, which was Mike Nagy in 2008 with 12,454 votes and a third place finish at 21.2 per cent.
Of Guelph’s three smaller party candidates, Libertarian Alex Fekri did best with 520 votes, three times better than Phil Bender who ran for the Libertarians in 2011. Kornelis Klevering of the Marijuana Party got his best showing yet with 193 votes, 20 votes more than his 2011 run, and nearly 30 votes more than his 2008 candidacy. Coming in seventh place was Communist candidate Tristan Dineen who also expanded the Communist vote securing 144 ballots, improving Drew Garvie’s performance of 104 and 77 in 2011 and 2008, respectively.
So what made the difference? What caused Longfield to break out in front so completely? Sure, one might credit the change agenda that coalesced behind the Liberals and Justin Trudeau, but that may only be part of the story.
According to Elections Canada, nearly 73 per cent of Guelph voters cast a ballot in this election. In total, 69,848 of 95,761 registered electors exercised their franchise, an overall increase of 8.5 per cent over 2011 voter turnout, which actually dipped 0.1 per cent from 2008. The 2011 campaign only saw 64.5 per cent of all voters come out, which itself was a loss of 6.2 per cent over 2008.