It still didn’t end in victory for him, but Sault Conservative candidate Sonny Spina - in his second run for MP - came close to unseating Sault Liberal MP Terry Sheehan in the Sept. 20 federal election.
Not until Thursday - after all mail in ballots were counted - did it become clear Sheehan had won reelection in the 2021 vote.
But it was by a mere 247 votes.
“I think a lot of people in our city realized that they’re actually Conservative and they didn’t know it,” Spina said Sunday.
Final results showed Sheehan and the Liberals lost ground to Spina and the Conservatives, not the NDP (the Liberal Party’s traditional electoral rival in Sault Ste. Marie).
Locally, vote counts from late Wednesday night showed:
People's Party - PPC Kasper Makowski 1,943
NDP- New Democratic Party - Marie Morin-Strom 8,043
Liberal -Terry Sheehan 15,231
Conservative - Sonny Spina 14,984
“They recognized that our platform was a tremendous platform that addressed a lot of issues in Canada, whether it be the economy, jobs or social issues, helping people in need,” Spina said.
“People recognized that across the city and people really supported that platform. It’s a tremendous platform and I think people really enjoyed hearing about it. I just wish they had more time to hear about it because there was so much in there, for everyone.”
Throughout the campaign, Spina promoted the Conservatives Job Surge Plan to recover one million jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, the winding down of COVID benefits to put people back to work, a GST holiday in December on all purchases made at bricks and mortar stores, loans of up to $200,000 with 25 per cent forgivable for businesses, and a Dine and Discover Canada program in which consumers would receive tax credits for dining out in support of the Canadian restaurant industry.
“People genuinely had questions...when we started talking about our platform they were really interested,” Spina said.
Sheehan was reelected MP after a tight race, running on a record $750 million in spending on this riding.
Justin Trudeau’s Liberals won a third consecutive federal election and are now set to form a second consecutive minority government.
Minority governments traditionally last from two to two-and-a-half years.
If that tradition holds, Sault voters will join other voters across Canada in another election in 2023 or 2024.
Would Spina run again?
“It’s hard to say,” he said.
“Running in an election is very difficult on families. It takes a lot of time away from families. You don’t get that time back. So, that’s something I certainly have to weigh moving forward.”