Karla MacFarlane enjoyed a landslide victory Tuesday in the 2017 provincial election, making sure Pictou West stayed true blue.
The incumbent Progressive Conservative MLA received almost four times the number of votes of her nearest competitor.
“I am thrilled to be back in,” she said when she learned she was victorious.
“I take this position very seriously. It’s a privilege, it’s an honour and it’s a huge responsibility that you have given to me and I want you to know that with every ounce of energy and soul and honesty and passion that I have within me, I will continue to serve you.”
MacFarlane spoke to her supporters, volunteers and family shortly after 10 p.m., before her victory was officially declared but well enough into the polls that it was apparent no one could catch her.
The people of Pictou West registered their support of MacFarlane in a big way. Newcomers Shawn McNamara representing the NDP, Ben MacLean for the Liberals and Cecile Vigneault with the Green Party of Canada did not have enough votes combined to beat MacFarlane.
“For all of the people who have donated and made the calls and put up signs and all of the kind messages of support, it’s been extraordinary, really, and it’s truly what keeps you going,” MacFarlane said.
She was quick to thank her “indispensable” team, who she shared the stage with on Tuesday night.
“Thanks to this amazing team. They know how much everything they did means to me.”
While not thanking her support workers individually, she did say this: “Ronnie Baillie, you’re the best!” She referred to Baillie as a man of integrity who puts friendship first. “We can agree to disagree on a lot of issues but we will always be best friends and that’s one thing that we have to improve with politics; enough of the criticizing and finger pointing. It’s something we need to do more of … I always say we need to critique policy, not people. And I will continue to do that.”
MacFarlane also lauded her children, Chloe and Jack. “Four years ago they sacrificed so much. They were used to a mom who was very flexible. I didn’t miss a dentist appointment or a soccer game. I just want to personally thank Chloe and Jack; they never complain.”
Turning to her kids she said, “For all the times I’ve disappointed you or I haven’t been there, I hope that you’ll forgive me and know that no matter what, you are my priority and you always will be.”
MacFarlane was emotional when she addressed her supporters. “I am just extremely grateful. I’m very honoured that the good constituents of Pictou West were supportive of me.”
Ready to get back to the business of being the MLA for Pictou West, MacFarlane noted, “I’m so proud of Tim (Houston) and Pat (Dunn). I am excited that we will get to continue working together and continue that flow, that work rhythm, that we have been able to establish.”
NDP Shawn McNamara came closest to MacFarlane.
“Naturally I’m disappointed, but the people spoke,” McNamara said. “It was a short campaign but we knocked on more than 7,200 doors.”
In the grand scheme of things, McNamara said, “We’re all fighting for the same thing and that’s to make Pictou West better. It was a good, fair fight. Congratulations to Karla, she deserves it.”
Liberal candidate Ben MacLean was only a couple of hundred votes behind McNamara. He, too, wished MacFarlane the best.
“We fought the good fight and I’m proud of our campaign. This is democracy. We stood up for what we believed in.”
Green Party candidate Cecile Vigneault, who was late to enter the race, looked at the election as a learning opportunity.
“I think this year, because of the lateness I entered the race, there wasn’t enough time to learn the issues and what government did in the past. The next four years for the Green Party has to be spent working towards being better known,” she said.
Whether the government is Progressive Conservative, Liberal or NDP, Vigneault said, “We have to work together to change electoral voting to more proportional voting.”
The newcomer was also philosophical about her experience. “I’m not sure that when people say they want change that they actually are ready for change.”
Karla MacFarlane is joined by NDP candidate Shawn McNamara, left, and Liberal candidate Ben MacLean, in a congratulatory group hug. (Jardine photo)