Goodale falls in fight for Regina-Wascana after 26 years in Ottawa

It wasn’t the night Liberal supporters in Regina were dreaming of in the days leading to election night in Canada.

Ralph Goodale, who has served as a Member of Parliament since 1993, lost out to Michael Kram of the Conservatives in the riding of Regina-Wascana in the federal election.

It’s the first time he has lost an election since 1988 when Progressive Conservative Larry Schneider edged Goodale by 535 votes or 1.2 per cent of the votes in the constituency.

Liberal supporters gathered at the Regina German Club on Monday night where the hall was decked out in red and white colours. Goodale decided to arrive at his headquarters later in the night; Regina-Lewvan candidate Winter Fedyk and Regina-Qu’Appelle’s Jordan Ames-Sinclair were in attendance as they watched the incoming results on the big screen.

While Ames-Sinclair and Fedyk conceded in their ridings earlier, chatter continued inside the hall as people awaited news on Regina-Wascana, surely knowing it was to be a closer finish compared to 2015.

And then the mood in the room completely changed sometime after 9:00 p.m. CST.

It was a moment of disbelief when the screen showed Goodale had lost to Kram. The lively atmosphere switched to silence as supporters watched the update on the screen, processing the breaking information before them.

The energy was tame until 9:30 p.m. when Goodale arrived at the German Club. As he walked through the entrance into the hall, the crowd erupted with applause and cheers as he shook hands on his way to the podium.

People were waiting to hear what he had to say all night, but they were hoping it would be a speech of victory and success.

He congratulated Justin Trudeau on remaining prime minister, along with the other candidates across the country on their campaigns. He recognized his wife Pam, his family, friends, supporters and party volunteers for all their hard work and efforts throughout his career as a federal politician.

“A deep sense of gratitude to them for all that they did in a personal way, for me and on my behalf, to make it possible for me to be their Member of Parliament for the last 26 years,” said Goodale.

After his speech, Goodale walked back into the audience to shake hands and give hugs. Emotions grew as people started shedding tears.

Not returning to Ottawa as a Member of Parliament for the first time since 1993, Goodale noted that the new government has the challenge of navigating the nuances of Canada’s nationhood post-election. (Photo: Moises Canales/620 CKRM)

When speaking to media, one reporter asked if he would consider becoming a senator, to which he replied that wasn’t in his future. However, he admitted he’s not sure what’s next for him.

“I was totally riveted on this campaign, this riding, doing the very best job I possibly could,” explained Goodale.

“We’ll see what unfolds in the future; I have no specific plans.”

Second time’s the charm for Michael Kram

While they didn’t win the election, it was seen as a positive night for the federal Conservatives.

The federal Tories won a total of 122 seats, which is 23 more than the previous year, and built an even stronger opposition.

One of those ridings that saw a switch from Liberal to Conservative was Regina-Wascana, which was won by Michael Kram. He said a major campaign issue he heard was pipelines.

“We certainly need to get these pipelines built,” Kram said. We certainly need to be able to get Saskatchewan resources to market, and that hasn’t been happening the last four years, so that is something that definitely needs to move forward.”

It was Kram’s second time contesting the seat. He said he noticed a major difference from 2015.

“Four years ago, people were falling in love with Justin Trudeau, and over the last four years, people have been very disappointed, particularly in Saskatchewan with what they’ve been seeing from the Liberal government under Justin Trudeau.”

Warren Steinley also switched a Regina riding, taking Regina-Lewvan, which was previously held by the federal NDP. He said he and his team ran a positive campaign.

“We hit the ground running, working hard, and for us Andrew (Scheer) delivered a positive message across the country and it was received very well in Regina Lewvan,” Steinley said. “People want their taxes down, they don’t want to pay a carbon tax anymore, that was loud and clear in Regina Lewvan, and they want to make sure we get pipelines built.”

While Kram, Steinley and Andrew Scheer swept Regina, it was part of a Saskatchewan sweep for the Tories.

(Files from Ryan McNally)

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