Kootenay-Columbia Liberal candidate Don Johnston celebrated news of Justin Trudeau’s election as prime minister with local supporter Cheryl Elliot.

Kootenay-Columbia Liberal candidate praised Trudeau’s leadership

Liberal candidate Don Johnston praised Justin Trudeau for his leadership.

  • Oct. 23, 2015 3:00 p.m.

Kootenay-Columbia Liberal candidate Don Johnston spent Monday evening in the basement of the Hume Hotel in Nelson, surrounded by a smattering of supporters, watching television while results rolled in from across the country. The moment Justin Trudeau was announced as the next prime minister of Canada, the Nelson native pumped his fists in the air and cheered: “Line up, pot’s legal!”

“I’m feeling absolutely blown away and happy,” a tearful Johnston told the Star. “I got my Canada back. When I did my nomination speech in this very hotel the title was ‘I want my Canada back’ and I’m so happy to have my Canada back. The possibilities are limitless and for the last nine years we’ve done nothing but limit them. It’s so nice to be free of that weight.”

He said he’s excited Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been defeated.

“Justin [Trudeau] ran an amazing campaign, he’s put together an amazing team, and he’s definitely ready. That question is dead and gone. To see this? This is so good for Canada and so exciting. We’ve all heard there’s no way a Liberal can win in this riding, but our first hope and goal tonight was to have a Liberal government, and now we know we’re going to have that.”

Local supporter Cheryl Elliot was effusive as well.

“We were all holding are breath, and as soon as the results started coming in from the Maritimes we realized the best possible scenario was starting to happen,” she said. “I think Justin will be an amazing prime minister. He has a lot to learn but he will surround himself with very smart people, and if he doesn’t know something he’ll ask for advice. He’s got a coalition of really bright people guiding him.”

Johnston’s campaign manager, Brian May, was surprised by the results.

“I didn’t expect this. I don’t trust the polls, but people are obviously starting to hear our positive message. Justin stayed on message the whole way through the campaign, he never went negative, and we ran things the same way here.”

Addressing Johnston’s pot proclamation, May said: “Our policy is legalization, the NDP’s is decriminalization. There’s a big difference. Legalization means putting controls on it, putting controls on the kids and controls on the gangs and taking control of the situation.”

He said NDP leader Thomas Mulcair’s dismissive comment about Trudeau’s marijuana-smoking past during a debate was “immature” and showed how out of touch the NDP leader is with young voters. He also criticized the local NDP campaign, which he called “a campaign of fear.”

“They said ‘I’m the only one who can beat Harper,’ and that just wasn’t true.”

May said there were plenty of disenfranchised Conservative voters elsewhere in the riding who would never vote for Green or NDP — a fact he feels some overlooked. Liberal riding association vice president Reggie Goldsbury, who celebrated with his wife Xyiah, told the Star transparency was the most important issue for him in this election, and said seeing Trudeau elected gives him hope.

“As a young person — I’m 25 — I want to know what my government is responsible for. There’s been this shroud of secrecy and we’ve had no say, the people of Canada, and that’s why I’m happy to be supporting the Liberal Party.”

Former Nelson Mayor Dave Elliot was also there to support Johnston, and said the Liberals are gathering political strength in the Kootenays. “I have a sense we’ve come a long way and Nelson will start to open their eyes to the Liberals. Most people are pretty unhappy with the Conservatives, and I think the main thrust of this election was ‘anyone but Harper’.”

And though he wasn’t successful this election, Johnston was still elated to spend the night in Spiritbar.

“We chose the Hume because I’m a local boy. I grew up here…and to me the Martins are the epitome of the small town entrepreneur and concerned corporate citizen. They’re a lot more than business people — they’re Nelsonites through and through. There’s no better place.”

May said he believes the election’s results show a “generational shift.”

“This means a lot of 24-year-olds, 35-year-olds, they got out and made a vote. They got committed, and if they got committed this time it means they’re going to be committed next time. Trudeau shows that generational change. Here’s a 42-year-old winning the election with a great team behind him.”

“We’re proud of the campaign we ran and we’re proud of the way we did it.”

By Will JohnsonNelson Star

 

Just Posted

The Free Press editor wins awards

Editor Phil McLachlan has been recognized at the 2018 Canadian Community Newspaper Awards.

UPDATE: New lead narrows the search for Serval cat

UPDATE, July 17: A new lead has narrowed the search for Aquila… Continue reading

East Kootenay Open this weekend

Fernie tennis players are warming up for the biggest tournament east of the Okanagan.

Community spirit shines at centennial

Hundreds have helped mark Fernie Golf Club’s 100th anniversary

SAR rescues injured dog after fall

A rope technician was able to reach the dog after being lowered nearly 90 metres down the cliffs.

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Car calls 911 on possible impaired B.C. driver

A luxury car automatically calls Princeton police to scene of crash involving alcohol

BC Games marks 40 years in 2018

Cowichan Games a milestone for BC Games Society

VIDEO: Life’s a beach at this B.C. sand sculpting contest

More than $50,000 was up for grabs at the annual contest held in Parksville

Group urges Canada to help Holocaust denier on trial in Germany

They’re concerned about Canada’s apparent unwillingness to come to the aid of Monika Schaefer

Most Read