Blue, but grateful; Pat Perkins is thankful for the opportunity

Pat Perkins avoided media throughout the night as the results rolled in. Photo by Bill Christou
Pat Perkins avoided media throughout the night as the results rolled in. Photo by Bill Christou

Pat Perkins served as the Conservative Whitby MP for just under a year. Though her time in parliament was short-lived, Perkins is grateful for the opportunity. Perkins lost her seat in the federal election October 19th.

Liberal candidate Celina Caesar-Chavannes beat out Perkins by about 2000 votes. With the loss Perkins steps down as the Whitby representative.

Though Perkins says she was hoping for a different outcome, she thanked all who supported her throughout her campaign.

“I’m here to say thank you, to all of you in this room,” Perkins says while also thanking those who may have been at home watching the Jays game instead. “I am truly blessed.”

Perkins also gave a special thanks to her son Sean, the Campaign Manager, whom she says has been “an absolute brick,” for her. Perkins assured her supporters that the loss was not their fault.

Following the death of Jim Flaherty in November of 2014, Perkins was elected MP in a by-election.

Prior to being elected, Perkins says she had never planned to run at a federal level.

“It wasn’t on the horizon for me,” she says, as Flaherty’s death was so unexpected.

Her decision to run, was not made overnight Perkins says.

“There was a tremendous amount of pressure put on me to move forward…It took me about two and a half months to make a decision,” she says.

Perkins says she made the right decision and, though her time holding the position was short-lived, she is still glad she could represent Whitby in parliament.

Perkins didn’t rule out the possibility of running again in the future.

“If the opportunity arises again I hope I’m able to step up and meet the challenge,” Perkins says. “I will never say never.”

Holding her husband, Perkins listened to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, before making her own speech.

As the polls raced in, Whitby Conservatives felt certain that Pat Perkins would be re-elected. Sitting in the Whitby Legion watching the updates Hank Nieuwstraten kept his faith in the party and Perkins herself. At one point trailing by 1000 votes, Nieuwstraten was still hopeful for a win. “I’m a Conservative, always Conservative,” he says.

With Harper in parliament for nine years, Nieuwstraten says maybe the change didn’t come soon enough. Though he supports the Conservatives, he says he doesn’t like Harper as the leader of the party, and believes this may be the mindset of other voters.

As the newly-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made his speech, remarks could be heard from many of the Conservative supporters in the Legion. “Hey look, it’s Justin Kardashian!” one woman laughed. “He has nice hair,” said another.

The loss was taken hard for everyone as they saw the newly elected Prime Minister talk of change and hope for the future.

With what many describe as a long campaign, Perkins put in perspective her prior campaigns in relation to this one. Having been Mayor of Whitby for eight years, and Regional Councillor for 17, Perkins took part in campaigns that lasted up to 10 months; however, she says this one was very tiring.

“An 11- week campaign is tiring because you’re going 100 per cent all of the time,” she says.

As Caesar-Chavannes takes her seat in parliament, Perkins looks forward to the future, and the chance to run again.