Westman’s re-elected Conservative MPs said it before the election and they’re saying it again afterwards: it was a waste of time.
Though some races still had yet to be decided as mail-in votes got counted on Tuesday, it was apparent that just as it was before the writ was dropped, Canada will once again be run by a minority Liberal government.
The Liberals, looking for a majority, only gained three seats as the results stood as of 4 p.m. on Tuesday. The Conservatives kept the exact same number of seats, the Bloc Québécois gained two seats and the NDP gained one.
Every incumbent in Manitoba kept their seats intact, except in Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley, where mail-in votes could push former Liberal MP Doug Eyolfson back into power over incumbent Conservative Marty Morantz with 109 votes separating them.
As Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa MP Dan Mazier and Brandon-Souris MP Larry Maguire prepare to head back to Ottawa, they’re facing a return to the status quo.
"We’re very happy that we won here in Brandon-Souris, but disappointed in the federal results," Maguire told the Sun in a Tuesday phone interview. "I think it proved that the prime minister jumped the gun there because it was a very expensive election just to move a couple of seats around."
Commenting further, Maguire said that he and his party are likely just as disappointed in the results as the Liberals are with the Conservatives remaining in opposition and full control over Parliament eluding the Grits.
"It is disappointing," Mazier said about not having the chance to be in government. "Locally, though, I was very proud of our campaign and the results here. That’s where the focus has to be for me right now with the national campaign and the candidates across the country get it figured out in Ottawa how we’re going to go back."
One positive Mazier sees is that unlike the 2019 election, where he had to establish staff and buildings in Westman and Ottawa, he’s able to go into his second term with a fully formed team.
"I think we need to continue to build, co-operate and get our message out," Maguire said about what needed to be done for the Tories to improve in the next election. "There are people who felt otherwise last evening and we need to build more trust with them across party lines and let them know there’s a new Conservative Party out there that wants their vote and respects their vote.
The "new" Conservative Party, according to Maguire, represents the new ideas the party has brought forward as a result of listening to younger generations about their needs.
Asked about their priorities upon returning to the capital, both MPs highlighted different focuses.
Maguire talked about wanting to ensure economic recovery from the pandemic, especially returning people back to work and assisting small businesses, while Mazier wants to address rural cellphone and internet connectivity.
Both Maguire and Mazier, who were early supporters of Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole in his bid to succeed Andrew Scheer, said they stood firmly behind him after Monday’s results.
"One good thing that came out of the election being called is that people now know who Erin O’Toole is," Maguire said.
With the pandemic having limited O’Toole’s opportunities to get out, meet Canadians and explain his platforms, Maguire believes the election has now given Canadians a better sense of the man.
"I’ll back him as long as he’s leader," Mazier said. "We ran a great campaign thanks to him. He had his brand all over it."
Reflecting on his party’s campaign, Mazier said he believes it was positive, well run and a good attempt at uniting the country. He singled out his party’s pledge to create a rural affairs minister as one of his favourite things from the Conservative platform along with its environmental plan.
In June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Parliament had become dysfunctional.
As Mazier and Maguire get to work on their new terms in a minority Parliament, they firmly believe that Trudeau and the Liberal Party were the ones creating that situation.
Whether the new makeup of the House of Commons will result in less dysfunction remains to be seen.
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, here’s how the election results looked for both Westman ridings. Both ridings were still waiting on a single poll to return results.
• Larry Maguire, Conservative: 22,077 votes (59.9 per cent)
• Whitney Hodgins, NDP: 7,524 votes (20.4 per cent)
• Linda Branconnier, Liberal: 4,394 votes (11.9 per cent)
• Tylor Baer, PPC: 2,887 votes (7.8 per cent)
• Voter turnout: 59.44 per cent
• Dan Mazier, Conservative: 22,221 votes (59.2 per cent)
• Arthur Holroyd, NDP: 5,524 votes (14.7 per cent)
• Kevin Carlson, Liberal: 4,649 votes (12.4 per cent)
• Donnan McKenna, PPC: 3,965 votes (10.6 per cent)
• Shirley Lambrecht, Green: 816 votes (2.2 per cent)
• Lori Falloon-Austin, Maverick: 380 (one per cent)
• Voter turnout: 60.34 per cent
» Twitter: @ColinSlark