No surprise Vaughan wasn’t a landslide, Justin Trudeau says

21 Dec

MP Justin Trudeau says Vaughan’s byelection wasn’t a landslide like many pundits predicted because newly elected Conservative MP Julian Fantino shied away from talking about issues.

Speaking to an editorial board at the offices of Vaughan Today and its sister publications, Trudeau said Fantino nearly lost Vaughan because he spent no time talking to media, voters and the public about issues.

“If he’d done that more, maybe it would have been a landslide, or perhaps he actually wouldn’t have won,” Trudeau said. “Because we’ve seen the issues and concerns and debates he has with respect to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms isn’t necessarily in keeping with a member of parliament who’s there to uphold the Canadian constitution.”

Fantino was accused of running a “peek-a-boo” campaign in the lead up to the by-election, in particular because he didn’t attend a candidate’s debate.

Fantino told Vaughan Today this week he worked hard for the win. He said, with the long-time Liberal rule in Vaughan, he never thought “it would be a cakewalk”.

“The numbers albeit that separated the win may not have been that great in the eyes of some people, but we overcame a huge, huge obstacle to win in the end,” Fantino said. “I didn’t expect the campaign itself to be such a drag, in the point of view of the attacks, and the misinformation and the posturing. That kind of amazed me a bit. But we didn’t dwell on it. I did what I had to do. I spent my time, from very early in the morning to very late and night, meeting widely with people – I didn’t create a fanfare over it, I didn’t challenge my opponents to do the same or to anything. Being portrayed as I was just challenged me to work harder.”

Trudeau seemed to offer some advice for Fantino:

“A member of parliament doesn’t just represent the people who voted for him,” Trudeau said. “They represent everyone in their riding. You are a voice now for the entire riding of Vaughan, Mr. Fantino.”

He said Fantino is in a “learning process as a politician”.

“And I know he’s going to learn to temper his words and be a better representative for everyone in Vaughan, at least I hope he does, as he advances in his short time as a representative for Vaughan until the next election.”

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