On what was a disappointing night for the Ontario Liberal Party, Orléans MPP Stephen Blais was among eight Liberal candidates who managed to stem the big blue tide that swept across the province last Thursday night and win their respective ridings.
Despite their optimism heading into the election, the Liberals only managed to gain one seat in the provincial legislature, while the Conservatives increased their majority from 67 to 83 seats mostly at the expense of the NDP which held on to its status as the official opposition despite losing seven seats.
The inability of the Liberal Party to pick up more than one seat and the NDP losses have resulted in the resignations of both party’s leaders – Liberal leader Steven Del Duca after just two years and Andrea Horvath who has led the NDP since 2009.
Blais was among six Liberal incumbents and two newcomers who did get re-elected. Only one Liberal incumbent failed to hold on to their seat. Amanda Simard lost to her Conservative opponent, Stéphane Serrazin, in Glengarry-Prescott-Russell by less than 1,500 votes.
Simard was elected in 2018 as a member of the PC party, She crossed the floor to join the Liberals just over a month later after Doug Ford eliminated the province’s French-language services commissioner and cancelled plans for a new French language university.
Blais was first elected to the legislature in February 2020 in a by-election to replace Marie-France Lalonde who successfully ran to replace Liberal Andrew Leslie as the federal MP for the area.
Prior to winning his seat, Blais served as a school trustee for the Ottawa Catholic School Board from 2006 to 2010 and city councilor for Cumberland Ward from 2010 to 2020.
He will now work with his fellow Liberal MPPs to continue to rebuild the Ontario Liberal Party, but first they must chose an interim leader.
For his part, Blais plans to continue to hold the Conservative government accountable for their actions and work hard to ensure the residents of Orléans gets their fair share of investments.
“(The results) are disappointing to be sure. We were hoping to do better. We have to understand what happened tonight and understand what worked and what didn’t work.
“Unfortunately, (the results) give Doug Ford the time and the mandate to cut education, to cut health care, and to really drive our province backward.
“I’m going to work really hard for the next four years to ensure issues like the 174 and the expansion of MIFO are brought front and centre.