Brandon-Souris Conservative candidate Merv Tweed celebrates his victory with supporters at his campaign headquarters on Pacific Avenue in Brandon after the polls closed on Monday evening. (TIM SMITH / BRANDON SUN)
Re-elected Conservative MP Merv Tweed says he's hopeful his government will finally get four uninterrupted years in which it can show the country it can "do the right thing for Canadians."
Tweed easily cruised to his fourth consecutive win in the federal riding of Brandon-Souris last night. With all polls reporting, Tweed had netted 22,424 votes, or 63.8 per cent of votes cast.
Trailing Tweed by a large margin was NDP candidate John Bouché, who got 8,840 votes, followed by the Green Party of Canada candidate David Barnes, who saw 2,014 votes come his way. The Liberal Party of Canada's parachute candidate, Winnipegger Wes Penner, brought up the rear with 1,888 votes.
In commenting on his win just after 10 p.m. last night, Tweed told a crowd of about 75 supporters at his Pacific Avenue campaign office that the new majority Conservative government will finally be able to provide stability for Canadians.
"Stephen Harper has delivered a message that Canada can move forward," he said. "We've all heard this word 1,000 times, but stability in our lives is so important and that was the factor that I think convinced Canadians that they wanted to place their trust in Mr. Harper and in me."
Helping his campaign in Brandon-Souris, Tweed said, was the fact that they pushed outside of Brandon city limits to places where his opponents did not.
"We went to every town, every village, and we looked at the water issues in southwestern Manitoba. But we didn't interfere with people, we tried to stay out of their way," he said. "It's a two-part election: Brandon and the rest of Brandon-Souris. If you neglect one over the other, you lose."
In accepting his second second-place showing at the hands of Tweed, Bouché called his loss a "learning curve."
"I don't give up," he said. "That's not in my language."
Bouché strongly hinted he'll be hanging around to run in the next federal election, saying it's only a matter of time before Brandon-Souris "wakes up" like Quebec voters did and comes around to the NDP.
Tweed had praise for Bouché last night, saying he was glad he and the NDP candidate were able to run their campaigns on ideas and not mud-slinging.
"He's a good man and he told me straight up he wasn't going to attack me, he was going to attack our policies and our issues. I said the same and we had that understanding," Tweed said. "I give him a lot of credit."
Tweed said he's prepared to work with members of the NDP as the official opposition, saying anything is better than "dealing with separatists in Quebec."
Tweed said his first priority when he returns to Ottawa will be to ensure that the Conservative government tweaks its budget so it receives the support of the NDP.
However, he suggested it's a bit too early to say whether he's eyeing up the Speaker's chair in the House of Commons -- a position he put his name forward for in 2008.
"I ran to be the member of Brandon-Souris," he said. "That's something that happens after the fact, when you get together and talk to other MPs. I've had some guys broach me on it, but it's not what I'm thinking about right now."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 3, 2011 A1