By Collin Gallant
Southern Alberta Newspapers
Glen Motz handily retained the riding of Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner on Monday night, but said the overall result of the 44th General Election will be “a deep, deep disappointment,” for Canadians. Motz’s Conservatives failed to capitalize on a mid-campaign surge in the short, five-week campaign, and Canadian voters were likely to return a minority Liberal government to Ottawa, according to results at press time.
He prefaced his remarks, in front of a small group of supporters at his Carry Drive election office in Medicine Hat, as having just contested an election that “nobody wanted.”
“(Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s election call) was a miscalculation and he certainly doesn’t have a majority which is good, but it looks as though he’ll enough for a minority, and I’m incredibly disappointed,” said Motz.
“I’m excited that we have a strong opposition so far. I hope to see a lot of my colleagues back in Ottawa again, and I thank the people of Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner for their votes.”
Motz led his closest challenger, New Democrat Jocelyn Stenger, with 64 per cent of the vote with three quarters of the riding’s polling stations reporting. It was the third election win in five years for Motz, who first became and MP in the 2016 mid-term byelection to fill the vacancy left by the death of Jim Hillyer.
The retired police inspector earned nearly 80 per cent of the vote in the riding during the 2019 election, when Canadians nationally reduced the Liberals to a minority mandate. The Conservatives increased their lead in the popular vote, but the seat total projection was very similar to the previous election, held just 23 months ago.
“Things could change (as votes are counted), but if numbers hold it will be to me personally, to many Canadians, and what we heard at our doors, it will be a great disappointment,” said Motz.
He vowed to work on immediate local issues of infrastructure promises and his focus on gun rights when he returned to Ottawa.
Motz said that, nationally, his party had begun to turn a tide in some seat-rich areas of central Canada in the first campaign by leader Erin O’Toole, elected just one year ago to replace former Leader Andrew Scheer after the 2019 loss.
This year they also faced a challenge of their right flank by the People’s Party of Canada, formed in 2019 by Conservative leadership runner-up Maxime Bernier. In 2019, Motz gathered in 79 per cent of the vote, well ahead of his nearest challengers: the New Democrat with 8.7 per cent, and Liberal candidate with 6.6 per cent.
This year, Motz held 64 per cent support at 10:30 p.m., Stenger likely secured second place with 15.2 per cent of votes cast, while Brodie Heidinger, of the People’s Party, likely guided his party to a third-place finish locally with 9.6 per cent.
That nearly quadrupled the PPC votes from two years ago while Geoff Shoesmith of the Maverick Party (which promises a right-leaning Western voting block) sat fifth behind Hannah Wilson of the Liberals and ahead of Green Party candidate Diandra Bruised Head.
Elections Canada has said that special ballots and those received by mail will take several days to fold into general and advanced voting totals before numbers are finalized.