Moose Jaw – Lake Centre – Lanigan incumbent Tom Lukiwski of the Conservative Party of Canada posted a commanding victory in the local riding, holding 71.5 per cent of the vote with 150 of 185 polls reporting in the early evening.
New Democratic Party candidate Talon Regent was second with 17 per cent, the Liberal’s Cecilia Melanson third at just over five per cent, the People’s Party of Canada’s Chey Craik fourth at close to four per cent and the Green Party’s Gillian Walker a nearly three per cent.
“It was a great campaign, I had an absolutely tremendous campaign team with my staff and volunteers, it was off-the-charts good,” Lukiwski said shortly after he was declared the riding’s winner around 8:45 p.m. “And that’s what this is all about, it’s certainly a team victory, not an individual victory… I’m very, very gratified and humbled as always. When you’re able to represent a large group of people who have shown that they want to reward you for the work you’ve done over the last four years, this is very, very special to me.”
The victory was Lukiwski’s sixth consecutive federal election win, representing the region for the past 15 ½ years.
The news wasn’t as good for the Conservatives on the national level. As of 10 p.m. on Monday night, the Liberals and incumbent Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were expected to hold 157 seats, with the Conservatives and Andrew Scheer landing 121.
More strikingly, projections showed the entirety of Saskatchewan and Alberta going to the Conservatives, a result that had Lukiwski offering a dire warning for the future.
“To be honest, I’m very disappointed,” he said of the Liberal victory. “I was hoping for a better result nationally, but what concerns me more than anything else at this time is national unity. It looks very much at this point in time like Saskatchewan and Alberta will be entirely blue, entirely, entirely Conservative. And that has consequences.”
Lukiwski went on to say that he wouldn’t be surprised if western separation talk ramped up heavily in the very near future.
“That just shows the level of alienation that people out west feel about what’s happening in the east,” he explained. “It’s going to be difficult for the next few weeks to try and reconcile what’s happened and put it into perspective so that we still believe we are a national force, a national party. We believe in Canadian unity, but at this point I time, I wouldn’t want to hazard a guess as to what’s going to come up in the next couple of weeks.”
Lukiwski felt that his message of support for Conservative issues in the west and most specifically in Saskatchewan was a major reason for his overwhelming victory.
“I just kept reminding people that if you elected either an NDP or a Green or a Liberal government, they would, number one, stop the Trans-Mountain Pipeline and phase out or shut down completely all the oil and gas,” he said. “That would be devastating for Saskatchewan’s economy, it would be devastating for western Canadians and it would be devastating for the Canadian economy.
“But that’s what people responded to, they know how important oil and gas is in this province and for any political party to come in here and shut it down, it just made people even more angry. That’s what resulted in the high turnout of voters and overwhelming support for me and the Conservative message.”
Now that the election has reached its conclusion with a Liberal minority government, Lukiwski plans to take a wait-and-see approach with how things are going to shake down on that front in the near future.
“We’re going to have to get through the next few weeks to see what happens on the national front and I think that’s going to take precedence, frankly,” Lukiwski said. “I want to make sure I continue to represent my constituents like I have for the past 15 ½ years, but I’m really interested to see what’s going to happen nationally.
“If western Canadians feel they’ve been completely ignored by the east and Mr. Trudeau, they’re going to rise up and they’re going to make this an issue. I’m waiting to see how it all unfolds.”
Be sure to check back tomorrow for final numbers for the local riding and nationally.