He will replace his political mentor, Rob Nicholson, who retired after 24 years as the ridings Tory MP. Baldinelli worked in Nicholsons office for about six years.
\”For a young man who has always dreamed this day could one day be possible,\” said an emotional Baldinelli, \”I will never forget this moment and the tremendous responsibility you have now placed in me to represent your interests, issues and concerns on a federal level.\”
Baldinelli was introduced to supporters gathered at his campaign headquarters at Mount Carmel Plaza by Nicholson at about 11:30 p.m. Monday after he was declared winner.
\”To the good people of Fort Erie, Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake, thank you, thank you, thank you,\” said Baldinelli.
\”I stand here humbled by the decision and trust thats been placed in me by the residents of the Niagara Falls riding.\”
During his seven-and-a-half-minute speech, Baldinelli thanked his campaign team, volunteers and family for their support, becoming emotional again.
\”To my challengers … thank you for sharing with us your ideals and your passion for the future. This election campaign and our riding overall has been made better by your involvement and your dedication for the future.\”
His opponents were Liberal Andrea Kaiser, NDP candidate Brian Barker, Mike Strange who ran as an independent, Sandra OConnor of the Greens, Peoples partys Alex Taylor and Christian Heritage party candidate Tricia OConnor.
\”I gave him a call (when Nicholson announced he was retiring in April) and thanked him for everything he has done for me and has done for this country and at that time he said, You know what, Tony, I think you should consider taking a run to become the next member of Parliament,\” said Baldinelli.
\”Rob is truly the embodiment of what is good in politics. Politics is a noble profession. It really is about helping people. Theres no greater reward in this profession than being able to say you were able to help those around you.\”
Baldinelli said when he announced he was running, he stated he was doing so because \”I believed in community and in building a better future for my family and for all of us who are fortunate enough to call Niagara home.\”
\”What makes Canada a leader and an example for others to follow is that it is built by people just like my (family) … and yours who believed in a future thats not defined by ones race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, but instead on the hope for a better future for their families and our community as a whole.\”
With 230 out of 240 polls reporting (95.83 per cent) in the Niagara Falls riding, Elections Ontario listed Baldinelli in first, with 21,748 votes (35.2 per cent).
Kaiser was second, with 19,652 votes (31.8 per cent), Barker third with 11,585 votes (18.7 per cent), Strange fourth with 4,628 votes (7.5 per cent), Sandra OConnor fifth with 2,981 votes (4.8 per cent), Taylor sixth with 883 votes (1.4 per cent), and Tricia OConnor eighth with 325 votes (0.5 per cent).
Kaiser told supporters gathered at the Old Stone Inn that although the ridings Liberals did not get the result they wanted, \”weve all worked incredibly hard … we have energized Liberals across this riding.\”
\”So, I hope the new Niagara Liberal team is ready to work hard because I know I am … to continue to work toward our goal of making this riding red. We need to remain engaged. We will be ready for the next election. We will come back and be stronger than ever.\”
Kaiser is a former Niagara-on-the-Lake town councillor who has experience in the wine, tourism and agricultural industries. She is an instructor at Niagara College and director of marketing and tourism at Reif Estate Winery. The mother of two adult children sat on NOTL council from 2003 to 2014.
Strange, the federal candidate with the highest public profile, said he was \”a little nervous\” when results started to come in Monday night.
\”The most important thing is I want positive things going forward,\” the Niagara Falls city councillor said. \”I dont want to see leaders bickering, I dont want this to be Americanized. I just want positive things for my riding and, obviously, for Canada.\”
The local realtor and former bar owner is well-known in the city. He has organized a number of fundraisers to help children who have battled, or are battling, cancer.
The region is made up of four ridings, including St. Catharines, Niagara Centre, Niagara Falls, and Niagara West.
Incumbents ran in three of Niagara's four ridings, with all three of them coming out on top.
This means that representation, at least in terms of parties, has stayed the same since the last federal election in 2015.
The riding of St. Catharines has flipped back and forth between the Liberals and Conservatives over the years. Liberal incumbent Chris Bittle succeeded in keeping the riding red.
With 209 of 213 polls reported, Bittle was re-elected with 39.9 per cent of votes as of 1:40 a.m on Tuesday. The Conservative candidate, Krystina Waler, received 31.6 per cent of the votes.
Liberal: Chris Bittle (re-elected) Conservative: Krystina Waler NDP: Dennis Van Meer Green: Travis Mason PPC: Allan DeRoo
And in Niagara Centre, Liberal incumbent Vance Badawey held on to the riding. His victory meant the defeat of the NDP's Malcolm Allen, who represented the riding before Badawey from 2008 – 2011, and 2011-2015. But it was the Conservative Candidate, April Jeffs, who was close behind.
With 206 of 210 poll reported, Badawey was re-elected with 35 per cent per cent of votes, while Jeffs had received 31.2 per cent as of 1:40 a.m on Tuesday.
Liberal: Vance Badawey (re-elected) Conservative: April Jeffs NDP: Malcolm Allen Green: Michael Tomaino PPC:Andrew Sainz-Nieto Christian Heritage: Nic Bylsma Marxist-Leninist: Robert Walker
Over in the Niagara Falls riding, which covers Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie, there was no incumbent running. But despite former Conservative MP Rob Nicholson choosing not to run, Conservative candidate Tony Baldinelli was still able to keep the riding blue.
With 238 of 240 polls reported, Baldinelli received 35.6 per cent of votes, as compared to Liberal candidate Andrea Kaiser who received 32.4 per cent as of 1:40 a.m. on Tuesday.
Conservative: Tony Baldinelli (elected) Liberal: Andrea Kaiser NDP: Brian Barker Green: Sandra O'Connor PPC: Alexander Taylor Christian Heritage: Tricia O'Connor Independent: Mike Strange
And in Niagara West — a riding that covers Grimsby, Lincoln and West Lincoln, Pelham, Wainfleet and part of St. Catharines — Conservative incumbent Dean Allison was elected once more. Allison has been re-elected since 2004, when he first represented the riding when it was formerly known as Niagara West-Glanbrook.
With 195 of 197 polls reporting, Allison was re-elected with 45.5 per cent of the vote. The Liberal candidate, Ian Bingham received 32.2 per cent of votes as of 1:40 a.m. on Tuesday.
Conservative: Dean Allison (re-elected) Liberal: Ian Bingham NDP: Nameer Rahman Green: Terry Teather PPC: Miles Morton Christian Heritage: Harold Jonker
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