Liberals hold on to Cape Breton as Battiste becomes 1st Mikmaw MP – CBC.ca

Liberals hold on to Cape Breton as Battiste becomes 1st Mi\kmaw MP - CBC.ca
Cape Breton voters elect Liberal who made offensive comments online
Both ridings of Cape Breton-Canso and Sydney-Victoria teetered between the Liberals and Conservatives as the votes were counted Monday night, but the Liberals eventually came out on top. 

Liberal Mike Kelloway won the riding of Cape Breton-Canso, beating Conservative Alfie MacLeod who resigned his seat as a provincial MLA to run.

Kelloway, a special project administrator at the Nova Scotia Community College, was born and raised in Glace Bay, according to his website. The son of parents who worked in the coal mining and fishing industries of the town, he started his career as a youth worker after studying Community Studies at Cape Breton University and pursuing graduate studies in education at the University of Calgary.

Jaime Battiste, who ran for the Liberals in Sydney-Victoria, becomes the first Mi'kmaw MP in Canada. He won a close race against Conservative Eddie Orrell, who also resigned his seat in the Nova Scotia legislature to run.

He thanked his team of supporters and his family and said he looked forward to working with all members of the Cape Breton-Canso riding.

Cape Breton-Canso has gone Liberal for almost a decade thanks to six straight wins by Cuzner since 2000. In his last re-election bid in 2015, the Liberal MP had won by a landslide margin, just shy of 60 per cent.

"It is important to remember we are still a community, no matter what sign you had on your lawn," he said. 

MacLeod wasn't ready to officially concede until the last votes were counted, despite Kelloway's solid lead of more than 1,000 votes.

The Liberals narrowly held on to the Nova Scotia riding of Cape Breton-Canso, after Mike Kelloway seized 38.5 per cent of the vote, Global News has declared.

"We'll wait and see. It looks very much like Mr. Kelloway won and I congratulate him for that. I congratulate the other candidates who put their names forward, it is not an easy thing to do. "

He urged the winning federal party not to ignore the Cape Breton riding where child poverty, health care and the fishery "are on a lot of people's minds."

Conservative runner-up Alfie MacLeod came in a close second with 34.5 per cent of the vote, with 99 per cent of the polls counted.

Kelloway said seniors' concerns and issues affecting residents in rural areas were common topics as he visited homes in the riding.

"They're also looking for someone who's in the trenches, working with the not-for-profits, with the business community and education. There's a lot of different variables at play," said Kelloway, who works as community innovation lead for the Nova Scotia Community College. He also volunteers for the Glace Bay community group called Bay It Forward.

He said he is considering establishing a roaming office, to spend time in different parts of the riding that includes parts of Cape Breton Regional Municipality as well as Inverness, Richmond, Antigonish and Guyborough areas.

"My background is in rural development so I get it, so I want to bring democracy and their representative to them."

"It's been an amazing journey no matter what the polls come out with tonight. All the ups and downs we had to go through daily, people in this room stuck by me," he said.

"You know we got to the finish line. No matter what the results are I"ve been really happy to have you on my team."

"But unfortunately for us, the people of Sydney-Victoria looks like they've chosen the Liberal candidate Jaime Battiste and I want to thank him and congratulate him, looks like a win tonight."

Thanking his supporters, he noted that members of his campaign team were kept busy with election signs.

"All the people who put up signs, made signs, collected signs, put them out, fixed them and refixed them. And refixed them again. I got to say guys, this was one of the worst times we had for signs getting beat up."

"It's been a good ride. Guys, we had eight years in the Nova Scotia legislature and we thought we could do more. You know what, the people of Sydney-Victoria have spoken and I'm willing to live with that if that's what the final results are gonna be"

"I worked the hardest, I knocked on doors where people weren't knocking on doors," he said. 

"I am really happy to be the winner today and I am going to work hard every day to show Canadians, not only Cape Breton, that I won this for a reason.I believe in Canada, I believe in reconciliation, I believe in diversity and these are the things I ran on."  

Battiste, a lawyer and resident of Eskasoni First Nation, was criticized for offensive social media posts he made in the past, for which he apologized.

 "All I can do is apologize and move forward. I've always been a person who believes in diversity and who believes in equal rights. And I believe our campaign — with indigenous people and international students, women and non-indigenous people — it was the most diverse campaign in Nova Scotia and I am proud of that."

Delilah Bernard, who lives in Ottawa but is from Eskasoni First Nation, worked on Battiste's campaign. 

"I think it is an extremely important time in history. We've come so far in the last couple of decades for representation in the federal government," she said.

"A lot of people were really excited at the idea to have someone they could identify with in government."

Eskasoni Chief Leroy Denny said Monday, he noticed an increase in interest among local First Nations in federal politics during this election.

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TORONTO — Voters in northern Nova Scotia have elected a Liberal candidate who had made a series of homophobic and sexist social media comments in the past.

Jaime Battiste captured the Nova Scotia riding of Sydney-Victoria with 31 per cent of the vote, compared to Conservative candidate Eddie Orrells 27.6 per cent.

Why do I assume every skinny aboriginal girl is on crystal meth or pills? #toomuchaptn. he tweeted, according to the Toronto Sun.

Battiste also wrote: Cleaning, Folding, Cooking, Feeling like an Epic Fail that i havent found a woman who can stand me long enough to do this for me. #FML and joked about watching mens tennis, suggesting it sounds exactly like gay porn…Im told.

Battiste apologized for the tweets. A spokesperson for the Liberal Party saidthat he would not be removed from the ballot as he had apologized publicly.

With the win, Battiste, a member of Potlotek First Nation and a graduate of Dalhousie Universitys law school, became the first Indigenous person from Nova Scotia to be elected to Parliament.   

I dont think many people can appreciate some of the things that go on when youre living on a reserve, he told CTV News before being elected.

For all of those people out there saying that theyre not going to be able to lead because of who they are or their background or their race or their religion, Im telling people: Youve got to do your best to get your name out there.

Anne McLellan, a former Liberal cabinet minister who sat on CTV News election panel, called Battistes past online comments unacceptable, but noted hes since apologized and will become a role model for the people his community. 

Yes, he made some mistakes, but he took responsibility for them and if he wins tonight its going to be a remarkable story of redemption, she saidbefore results from his riding came in.

Jaime Battiste, a Liberal Party candidate for Sydney-Victoria, is seen here. (Source: Liberal Party)

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