Conservative Cathy McLeod wins Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding

Voters in Kamloops and around the region have re-elected Cathy McLeod.

With all 283 polls counted, the Conservative MP wins the seat with 32,057 votes; trailing behind is Liberal Terry Lake (19,543), the NDP's Cynthia Egli (9,824), Iain Currie for the Greens (8,696), Ken Finlayson of the People's Party of Canada (1,123), Kira Cheeseborough of the Animal Protection Party (317) and Communist Peter Kerek (143).

"The voters have sent us a message and I'm not quite sure what that message is. We really need to look at it carefully," says McLeod. "We have a minority government. Many people thought when Justin Trudeau was first elected he would be having a majority for many years. Clearly he has been given a bit of short leash by the electorate."

"But we also have to look at the electoral map and think about what we can do in this country that will keep us together and keep us strong. If you look at the western communities that rely on forestry and energy, the blue is very solid. If you look at some of our more urban areas, the Liberals are more solid. We have a fantastic country and what we need to do is say, 'There are some worries out there.' Every single one of the 338 parliamentarians that were elected tonight need to figure out how to keep our country beautiful, how to keep our country strong and how to keep our country together."

This is the fourth win for McLeod, who was the incumbent heading into today's election. She has represented the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding (one of the largest in Canada) since 2008 after former Conservative MP Betty Hinton decided not to run again.

McLeod earned more votes in this election cycle than in 2015; four years ago, she received 24,595 votes. 

Before entering federal politics, McLeod was the mayor of Pemberton.

The former nurse made the decision to return for another term over a year ago, during Thanksgiving 2018, to help deal with "unfinished business."

"I'm a supporter of the pipeline. ... It's had a lot of challenges along the way," she told KamloopsMatters at the time. "And then of course, as we move in the direction of reconciliation with First Nations, making sure we deal with land issues."

McLeod will be joining Conservative leader Andrew Scheer in Ottawa.

Meanwhile, Lake says while he feels disappointed that he won't be the local representative, he's hopeful for Canada.

"We've got another Liberal government; of course, it's a minority government, but Canada has shown that we can develop very progressive legislation under minority governments," he says.

The veterinarian remained optimistic as results rolled in Monday evening.

"Quite frankly, I thought it would be closer," says Lake of his race with McLeod. "But that's life. And you know what? You try hard, and the voters are never wrong. I just appreciate this team that we've had behind us. It's been a great experience. I love Kamloops and I love this region, and I'm glad I made this decision, even though I'm disappointed with the results."

Asked if he'd enter an election race again, Lake says, "You never know what the future holds."

As of publication time, Elections Canada expects the Liberals to have 157 seats while the Conservatives are looking at 121 seats. Meanwhile, the NDP has 24, the Bloc Quebecois has 32 and the Greens have three. Independent Jody Wilson-Raybould won in her riding of Vancouver-Granville. Maxine Bernier's People's Party of Canada has been shut out.

That means a minority government, with the Liberals receiving support from one of the other parties. The Conservatives will be the official Opposition. 

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