It was the third straight victory for returning Algoma Manitoulin New Democrat Michael Mantha. He won the riding handily in Thursday's Ontario provincial election, taking 58 per cent of the popular vote. That is compared with 25 per cent for the runner-up Conservatives and 8 per cent for the third place Liberals in Algoma Manitoulin.
Speaking with reporters at his victory party in an Elliot Lake sports bar, Mantha said the New Democratic Party opposition which will be in place at Queen's Park soon, will hold the large PC majority in the legislature to account for what he expects to be many Ontario Tory spending and program cuts. About 75 supporters gathered for the party and to support their candidate.
In Mantha's words, "We will need to work very hard to hold the Ford Conservatives to account." He predicted a difficult time for premier-elect Doug Ford and his majority government, as well, with a strong NDP opposition.
"It's going to be a difficult four years as New Democratic MPP's battle the Ford government's agenda,” Mantha added. He also criticized the Conservatives for not providing a fully-costed platform which the voters could compare to the NDP platform, and that of the Liberals, led by Premier Kathleen Wynne.
Mantha also praised his mostly volunteer campaign team and supporters for their great effort which "never really left the vote outcome in Algoma Manitoulin in doubt."
In Little Current where he watched the vote being counted, Conservative candidate Jib Turner, who ran second in the Algoma Manitoulin riding, predicted many changes in the wake of the Ford majority vote, and soon. He said, "In majority government we have a party that believes in and respects the taxpayer."
He added, "That's the most important theme across the province and it certainly bodes well for the PC party. People believe in electing a party that's for the people. Unfortunately that didn't happen here (in Algoma Manitoulin)."
Like Mantha, Turner offered thanks for the effort put forward by his campaign volunteers. He praised their work noting the base of his support was generated as a result of it.
As for his best hope for the future, Jib Turner said, " I think you'll see some big changes. I don't know what my role would be. But right away quick we're going to see 10 cents taken off a litre of gas when the carbon tax comes off."
He criticized the New Democrats under their leader Andrea Horwath, noting, "They certainly supported the Liberals under the Green Energy Act and the Carbon Tax… They voted for those things which are most desperately hurting the people in northern Ontario. If they continue that way, they'll be doing it alone, because this time we have a government that doesn't believe in
taking money out of the pockets of the taxpayers."