The new MP for Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge admitted he was shocked by Monday night’s election results.
“Not in our wildest dreams could we have imagined this day would come,” Dan Ruimy told his supporters in his victory speech. “Not in a million years could we have imagined here in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge that a Liberal could win this riding.”
The riding has been a Conservative stronghold, held by Randy Kamp since he was elected 2004. Before that, Grand McNally had it for the Reform Party and Canadian Alliance, since 1997.
But it was taken by the Liberals, as Justin Trudeau’s party swept to a majority government Monday with 184 seats, defeating Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, who earned 99 seats.
Ruimy told supporters that when he first announced his intention to run for the Liberal party, the local bookstore owner heard from doubters.
“People asked [told] me: ‘The NDP are too strong here, the Conservatives are too strong here. You’re not going to make it. Did you not see the numbers from the last election: 28,000 to 18,000 to 2,700.”
In the 2011 federal election, the Conservatives won Pitt-Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission with more than 10 times the number of votes the Liberals received in the riding.
Randy Kamp had 28,803 votes, while the NDP’s Craig Spiers received 18,835. Liberal Mandeep Bhuller had 2,739 votes.
“On that first day I said I am going to win this riding, and I’ve never wavered from that. And here we are today,” said Ruimy.
He won a close three-way race.
Ruimy got 17,605 votes, for 34 per cent of the vote in the riding. Conservative Mike Murray was second with 16,373 votes, or 31 per cent, and Bob D’Eith of the NDP was third with 15,450 votes, or 30 per cent. Green Party candidate Peter Tam was fourth with 2,202 votes, or four per cent, while independent candidate Steve Ranta had 516.
“I’m in shock because I actually did it, we actually did it. All of us did,” said Ruimy. “But what’s more amazing is being able to pull out a Liberal majority government across the country.”
His campaign manager was just as surprised by the national results.
“I’m kind of shocked, actually,” said Nicole Nouch. “We knew that the Liberals would do well nationally, just based on the momentum that we’ve had. And we joked about a majority, but this is unbelievable.”
Nationally, Trudeau’s Liberals gained 184 seats The Conservatives earned 99, while the NDP took 44.
Nouch said the Liberals heard a lot of positive support on the street that gave them reason to hope.
“It was hard for us not to think that we had a real shot in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge. We knew that we were a bit of an underdog,” she said.
“We knew the Liberals do well nationally, but this is unbelievable. It’s kind of emotional, too. In 30 years, we’re going to be talking to our kids about this. It’s going to be one of those epic elections you remember.”
If Trudeau said his party ran a positive campaign, the local Liberals were certainly positive all night. The cheers started early at Ruimy’s campaign office on election night, and they kept going at regular intervals, as the local poll results came in, for about four hours.
The Liberal organizers, volunteers and supporters started with a big cheer for Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau first.
“He got his riding,” yelled Ruimy, to tee it up.
At that point, the first poll in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge was in, and the Liberals were a distant third, with 185 votes for the Conservatives, 99 for the NDP, and 28 for the Liberals. Then four polls showed 1,046 for Murray, 1,005 for D’Eith and 892 for Ruimy.
“We’re in it,” Ruimy told them, and got another cheer.
On it went through the night, the results coming in on a computer screen set with a background of Ruimy and Trudeau.
The candidate got a massive cheer when he announced a poll that put him ahead of Murray, 6,609 to 6,602 votes, and he never looked back, steadily increasing his lead and reading the poll numbers for his jubilant supporters. It was 200 votes as they watched Harper gave his concession speech, and had grown to about 600 by 9:15 p.m., when Trudeau took the podium, and someone at the local office noted “the boss is talking.”
There was the first sound of a cork popping.
Ruimy was still pacing, not quite ready to start celebrating, when finally at 10:30 p.m. he read an update that gave him 14,802 votes.
“And I got the check mark,” he yelled as the riding was declared won.
“There’s so much work to do, and I’m humbled and honoured …” said Ruimy.
“I look forward to tomorrow, and the next few weeks, and the next four years of turning this country back on track working with each other.”