Julian wins handily
Peter Julian made his way slowly around the crowded Burnaby Firefighters Club banquet hall shaking hands, hugging volunteers, posing for pictures and smiling. He was smiling a lot.
He had every reason to. His victory was decisive and his party’s rise in the House of Commons meteoric.
It didn’t take long following Monday’s federal election for the New Democrat to claim his fourth consecutive triumph in Burnaby-New Westminster. This time he will join more than 100 other NDP members to form the Official Opposition to a Conservative majority government.
In all four of his elections Julian’s share of the riding’s vote has risen going from 34.58 per cent in 2004 to 49.63 per cent this year.
“When we went door knocking we’d come across families that we’ve helped, that we’ve advocated for on their behalf and they appreciate that,” said Julian as upward of 400 supporters celebrated around him. “I never take that for granted. Every election you reapply and you reapply fresh. I never take Burnaby-New Westminster for granted.”
The NDP’s popularity reached unprecedented heights with more than 30 per cent of the vote and 102 MPs elected at last count Monday evening. It’s something not many saw coming, although Julian did.
“It’s an important step for our party but I have always known other parts of the country share our vision of cooperation and solidarity,” said Julian, who garnered 21,193 votes.
During his victory speech he recalled telling La Presse 18 years ago the majority of Quebec MPs would be New Democrats saying, “It is unavoidable.”
Julian expects with his parliamentary experience he’ll play a large role in helping mould the party in preparation for the next election.
“It will be a very exhilarating experience to work toward putting in place an alternative government, a government in waiting,” he said. “Whenever the next election will be held there will be that contrast in government between the Conservatives and a Jack Layton-led NDP.”
He credited the other candidates in the riding for running good, clean campaigns that never got personal, and congratulated the Conservatives led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper for winning a majority. But he had a warning for the PM.
“I’m hoping Mr. Harper realizes he didn’t get an overwhelming majority, he got a bare majority,” said Julian.