UPDATED 1052 EST Oct 27/08
Here are the preliminary results of the election as reported by Elections Canada:
Gary captured 10% of the popular vote with nearly 5,000 votes! He also scored 1st or 2nd in every Caledonia poll. Just as interesting, 62% of Gary’s votes came from outside Caledonia, signifying that there is a broad base of support both in and outside Caledonia for his/our efforts to fight race-based policing. Caledonia’s victims should be pleased to know that some of their neighbours really do care about their plight.
Here’s how the Simcoe Reformer wrote the story:
Hoskins was clearly hurt by the presence of McHale, whose reach went beyond Caledonia. He actually won a poll in Hagersville while finishing second ahead of Hoskins in other Haldimand communities such as Kohler and Fisherville. In Caledonia, McHale took roughly half the 20 polls and tied two with Hoskins. Wherever Hoskins went in Haldimand, McHale seemed sure to follow, sucking votes away.
But it is also telling that Finley endured in Caledonia, winning three polls there and finishing a respectable third in many others. This was supposed to be her undoing and it wasn’t. The Liberals failed to gain traction there, right in the heart of a nasty political crisis, or in any other part of the riding for that matter.
Simcoe Reformer, Oct 16/08: Conservatives hang on, even in the face of crisis
Karen Best of the Dunnville Chronicle offered these observations on Gary’s strength:
Both [PC Finley and Liberal Hoskins] were out distanced by independent candidate Gary McHale in almost every poll in Caledonia.
Compared to Norfolk County statisitcs, the tide turned in polls located in Haldimand County. In Jarvis, Selkirk, and Hagersville polls, McHale was getting about 40 votes in each. In one Hagersville poll, he pulled ahead of the top contenders with a 49-vote count.
In Caledonia, preliminary results showed McHale’s popularity. Finley won just two polls and Hoskins won three polls along with tying McHale at two others. The rest of the town was McHale’s. In one poll, he eclipsed the front runners with 106 votes compared to their 50 and 60 scores. In some polls, he was 20 to 30 votes ahead.
In Cayuga, Finley won the three polls, one with double the votes for Hoskins. The McHale factor played a roll in results. In two polls, he had more votes than the Liberal candidate. With his vote count ranging from 27 to 67, the independent candidate made his dent in statistics.
Finley won the Canfield polls where McHale was ahead of Nichols. McHale took a whopping 66 votes in Kohler surpassing Hoskins’ 53 and breathing down Finley’s 76-vote count.
In Fisherville and Selkirk, McHale pulled in front of Hoskins in three polls.
Dunnville Chronicle, Oct 17/08: Voters speak at the polls
A great victory for victims of race-based policing!
For two years, politicians and members of the OPP have been trying to paint Gary McHale as an ‘outsider/interloper’ with no support from the community. That myth has now been shattered forever! Almost 5,000 people voted for Gary – NOT for any party – and for his message that the law should be applied equally to protect all citizens from lawlessness during land claim disputes.
Dunnville Chronicle: Independent McHale makes strong showing in first campaign
There was disappointment, but also a sense of vindication as Haldimand- Norfolk Independent candidate Gary McHale earned more than 4,800 votes in Tuesday’s federal election.
The 46-year-old civil rights advocate finished in fourth place with 4,821 votes, earning 10 per cent of the total votes cast in the riding. Conservative Diane Finley was re-elected with 19,657 votes while Liberal candidate Eric Hoskins earned 15,577 votes and NDP candidate Ian Nichols received 5,549 votes.
“Obviously it’s disappointing, but at the same time more than 4,600 people at this point chose to vote for me and not for a party,” McHale told The Chronicle shortly after Finley’s re-election was announced around 11 p. m. on Tuesday. “As an independent it’s very hard to get anyone to vote for you. This also destroys the myth that somehow there are only 40 to 100 people who support me in Caledonia. Obviously there are thousands of people who want me to be a strong voice.”
McHale said voter support for his campaign provided a sense of vindication. “The government wanted to paint me as an evil person who created all the violence (in Caledonia) when the truth of the matter is that that’s not true,” he said. “The average person saw me as someone who had a strong voice for them.”
Mark Vandermaas, vice president and director of research for CANACE, has worked with McHale for the past two years and was alongside him throughout this election campaign. Even though the election results didn’t provide the “fairytale ending” that McHale and his supporters wanted Vandermaas viewed the final count of 4,821 votes as a great accomplishment.
“It’s just been such an amazing ride,” he said shortly after Finley was declared re-elected Haldimand-Norfolk MP. “If you look at where Gary’s been– he’s been arrested, had his life threatened, been attacked, sent to a hospital and lost his home for Caledonia. He’s had his reputation smeared especially by the OPP and supporters of the Douglas Creek occupation so to get to here I think that’s an amazing accomplishment. He’s made believers of about 4,600 people at this point.”
“I think it will be very hard for people to look at Gary and try to blame him for all the problems in Caledonia,” Vandermaas added. “Looking at the election results there are at least 4,600 people who disagree. From here on in I think the politicians ignore the injustices in Caledonia at their peril.”
Vandermaas said he expected McHale would take a short breather and then continue civil rights activities in Haldimand.
“We will continue to seek justice for people, native and non-native, in Caledonia,” he said. “We have a duty to continue to speak out for victims of injustice. Gary is just someone who never gives up–he won’t quit. He said to me that he didn’t care if anybody in Caledonia wanted him there. He would still go because it’s the right thing to do.”
Dunnville Chronicle, Doreen Hoover, Oct 17/08: Independent McHale makes strong showing in first campaign