Liberals won on tight budget

Despite outspending his opponent five to one, Mike Murray’s effort and expenses proved futile against the Liberal wave in ...

Despite outspending his opponent five to one, Mike Murray’s effort and expenses proved futile against the Liberal wave in October’s federal election.

Mike Murray spent just more than $100,000 in an effort to keep the Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge seat for the Conservatives, while Liberal challenger Dan Ruimy spent about $18,000 to win the seat.

“We obviously spent a lot more than the winner,” said Murray.

Despite the disparity, Ruimy won more votes, 17,673 – to win with a 1,300-vote margin against Murray.

“Dan Ruimy must be very thankful to [Liberal leader] Justin Trudeau for the rest of his days. You can quote me on that one,” Murray said Tuesday.

Despite having the numerical advantage in many ways, none of it worked for the Conservatives.

Murray, former constituency assistant for outgoing Conservative MP Randy Kamp, said his nomination night drew about 1,000 Conservative party members, and that Ruimy’s nomination drew 14.

“It just goes to show, when people want a change …”

“It’s certainly a wave,” Murray added.

That’s why he’s not ruling out running in the next election in 2019, when he hopes Liberal popularity will have waned.

The Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge riding was one of the closest in the country and the seventh closest in Canada for Conservative candidates, said Murray.

Ruimy said he spent a lot of time knocking on doors and that putting up the four-by-four, colour election signs was a good thing to do.

“I went out and I met with a lot of people. I talked with a lot of people. I invested a lot of time to really hear what the people had to say.”

He acknowledges, his campaign didn’t spend a lot.

“Had to work hard. I was just careful with where we used funds.”

And nationwide, “We saw a lot of young people going out and voting across the country. It was a strong enough of a desire to go out make change happen.”

Murray said when Conservative volunteers worked to get people out to vote at the polls, they found there were no Liberal counterparts doing the same, while he didn’t see any Liberal scrutineers at polling stations.

Ruimy won with 34 per cent of the votes, while Murray took 31 per cent. Bob D’Eith for the NDP took 29 per cent.

Murray said the late date for the August nomination date, which Murray won over Liberal MLA Marc Dalton, also made for a late start, though he’s not saying that’s the only reason he lost. Prime Minister Steven Harper even made a campaign stop in Pitt Meadows.

“But we were just in tough here, Murray said.

“You could call this the worst climate for Conservatives for a number of years.”

And still they drew almost 17,000 votes. So in the middle of a red wave, Murray feels good about that.

Ruimy’s victory remade electoral history for the riding, formerly known as Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission. In the 2011 federal election, the Liberals won only 2,739 votes.

Murray said if the Liberal government is looking at changing the electoral system from the current first-past-the post system, he should recognize the narrow win in this riding.

Although the 2015 campaign involved a new riding, the turnout was up from 60 per cent in 2011 to 72 per cent.

Candidates have until Feb. 19 to declare their expenses, with the spending limit in this riding at about $220,000.

Ruimy said last week from Ottawa that he now has his committee appointments, and is about to get down to the “real work” of being an MP.

“We’re told the real work of government is in the committees,” he added.

Ruimy was assigned to both of the standing committees he requested: the standing committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities and the standing committee on Industry, Science and Technology.

Ruimy said he has been familiarizing himself with the recent work of the committees, reading reports about opportunities for older persons in the work force and employment for persons with disabilities.

His predecessor, Conservative MP Randy Kamp, had worked with Fisheries and Oceans.

Ruimy has a downtown riding office that is being renovated, and will open later this month. He did not want to reveal the address, because he is not yet ready to receive people there. However, he said it is on the Lougheed Highway in the downtown core.

Included there is a boardroom that can seat 15-16 people, and Ruimy said he plans to host roundtable discussions there.