THE RETAIL POLITICIAN
Kent Hehr (Liberal) Alberta
The day before the election, Calgary Centre’s Liberal candidate spent hours meeting voters at inner-city supermarkets. Not outside in the parking lot, mind you; Kent Hehr was mainstreeting in the bakery sections, down the aisles and by the checkout counters. For any other politician, this would come off as solicitous, a weird skulking about, but he’s an easygoing charmer as he wheels around and greets would-be voters.
Hehr, paralyzed by a random drive-by shooter in 1991 when he was in college, became a lawyer, then charmed his way into downtown Calgary’s provincial seat in 2008. He enjoyed focusing on policy advocacy for students, LGBT rights and justice issues, but soon became disillusioned with his meandering Alberta Liberal caucus. He briefly ran for mayor in 2010 before endorsing Naheed Nenshi. Five years later, he’s found that new political opportunity. He seized one of the first two Liberal seats in Calgary since 1968, and should be named minister of something.
THE COMEBACK KID
Denis Paradis (Liberal), Quebec
There are a few truisms in Brome–Missisquoi, the westernmost outcropping of Quebec’s Eastern Townships region: Wine will be pressed, tourists will flock and a Paradis will probably be in elected office somewhere.
Together, Denis Paradis and his brother Pierre have nearly a half-century’s experience representing the area as federal and provincial Liberals, respectively. Pierre, who is just over a year younger than his brother, has represented the provincial riding of Brome–Missisquoi since 1980. In 1995, voters chose Denis to represent them in the federal riding of the same name. For the next 11 years, it was difficult to escape their respective mugs. The tandem of federal and provincial elections meant that one of the brothers had his photo on telephone poles about every two years.
The elder Paradis is also a gentleman winemaker. In 1996, he began planting vines on his farm in Saint-Armand. It grew in size after he lost his seat in 2006 and, today, Domaine du Ridge counts about 55,000 vines, from which it produces three whites, two reds, a rosé and a handful of dessert wines. Paradis regained his seat in this election. Let’s hope the grapes won’t suffer.
THE LOVABLE LOSER
Wyatt Scott (Independent), British Columbia
In the end, riding a flying Canada goose, slaying a dragon, even destroying a Conservative robot with his laser-beam eyes, failed to win B.C. Independent candidate Wyatt Scott a seat in the House of Commons. Apparently, the voters of Mission–Matsqui–Fraser Canyon expect more from their MP than an overactive imagination and one quirky viral campaign video. So, late in the campaign, Scott delivered another. In that one, he promised to “let’s get serious,” only to have a pledge to restore lost social programs play second fiddle to a guitar-playing Bigfoot. Scott’s videos, meant to engage young voters, drew international media attention, but the 37-year-old independent businessman finished a distant fifth in a six-person race won by Liberal Jati Sidhu, with 16,606 votes. Still, with 911 votes, he trounced Marxist-Leninist Elaine Wismer, who managed just 57, perhaps handicapped by a shortage of laser beams. Scott was philosophical in defeat. “I have met many incredible people throughout the whole riding,” he told the Mission Record. Not to mention Bigfoot, a giant goose, a dragon and a robot.
THE RISING STAR, AT LAST
Jody Wilson-Raybould (Liberal), British Columbia
Will Canada finally boast an Aboriginal minister of Aboriginal affairs? With eight Liberal faces among the record 10 Indigenous MPs elected this week—many of them rising stars, such as Robert-Falcon Ouellette, who knocked the NDP’s Pat Martin out of Winnipeg Centre—the new prime minister has a formidable class to choose from. The odds-on cabinet favourite among them is Jody Wilson-Raybould, the candidate Liberal insiders say Justin Trudeau most wanted to see elected from B.C.
Wilson-Raybould’s victory in Vancouver Granville was never assured. Lead Now activists flooded the riding with an aggressive “strategic voting” push in favour of the rival NDP. And some Liberals—dinosaurs, presumably—expressed concern over running an Indigenous candidate in midtown Vancouver. But, in the end, the former prosecutor and regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations clinched a staggering 44 per cent of votes, with the NDP a distant third. “Gilakas’la,” she tweeted. “We can build a better future.”