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Did split Conservative vote lead to Liberal victory in Nipissing-Timiskaming?

'He definitely hurt me' says Conservative Steve Trahan on the votes gained by PPC candidate Greg Galante.
20210902 election signs lakeshore turl
Federal election signs at the corner of Lakeshore and Premier.

It was a time to celebrate victory for Liberal Anthony Rota last night, but disappointment for conservatives that had hoped to unseat the veteran politician.

"I think the shortness of the campaign was definitely an advantage for Anthony," said People's Party candidate Greg Galante Tuesday morning.

There has been much said about the PPC taking votes away from the Conservatives, and if you add the votes of those two parties, Rota loses the election to Steve Trahan by over 1,000 votes. Rota won with just 37 per cent of the votes cast.

But Galante isn't buying that, saying Conservatives shouldn't be blaming his party for close election losses.

"It makes the assumption that we drew our support just from Conservative voters. I have letters of support from ex-NDP voters, ex-Liberal voters and disillusioned Conservative voters, so that's not true."

His advice..."Elect a better leader, have a better platform, and put forward a stronger candidate and you might not be disappointed, and that's not a knock on Steve Trahan, he's a really good guy."

Galante says although they are positioned as a conservative party, "We're really a values party. So I had small-L liberals that don't like what's going on with respect to our charter rights, COVID response and passports. We have Christian-right voters so we're truly an amalgamation of people from across the political spectrum." 

Conservative Steve Trahan has a different take.

“He definitely hurt me,” he told BayToday, referring to the People’s Party getting 3,269 votes. "If you take the PPC’s votes, even if you took 50 per cent of them, we’d be splitting hairs right now, but that’s the people, that’s what they’re saying and what they thought.”

Trahan feels if some who voted PPC as an anti-Liberal protest had voted for him, "we would have definitely worked together, and I probably would have got in.”

Anthony Rota took the middle of the road. "I think what happened is the results are in and I am very happy with them. It is obvious there is a disgruntled group that is out there really looking at a protest and has very different views of what Canada should be, and the People's Party of Canada has demonstrated that and I am hoping to get to understand what they want more and see if we can find some common ground together." 

NDP's Scott Robertson was not available for comment.

With just one poll left to report, the standings are:

People's Party - PPC Gregory J Galante  3,269  7.5 %
NDP-New Democratic Party Scott Robertson  9,877  22.8 %
Liberal Anthony Rota  16,134  37.3 %
Conservative Steven Trahan  14,032   32.4 %

The turnout was 43,312 of 75,689 registered electors or 57.22 per cent.

With files from Stu Campaigne, David Briggs. Chris Dawson and Jeff Turl.