ĎTrudeau took a gamble and lostí

Re-elected Souris-Moose Mountain MP Dr Robert Kitchen

September 29, 2021, 2:29 pm

Robert Kitchen out on the campaign trail.

Conservative Robert Kitchen won the riding of Souris-Moose Mountain with 76 per cent of the vote, the largest margins of any MP in Canada. World-Spectator editor Kevin Weedmark spoke to him last week about the election.

How would you characterize this election?
Justin Trudeau says that he took a gamble and he won because he got another minority government. No, he was definitely wanting a majority.

The spin is that they actually won the election because theyíre forgetting the fact that he called it to try and get a majority and that he didnít get it. The spin is thatís not a loss for him, itís actually a win because heís back in power. Itís just stunning to see. The mainstream mediaís doing that because the local media is being very open and very clear and very honest. But the truth is, Justin Trudeau took a gamble and lost.

Was that exactly how you thought this election was going to end up or did you think your party had a shot at forming at least a minority government?
I said to people, my bellweather was if we could win five more seats in the Maritimes. I was telling people this well before. I said if we get five more seats in the Maritimes that wave is going to come.

We came through and we ended up with five more seats in the Maritimes and I thought okay this is looking really good. Then all of a sudden, when the polls were closed and I thought we should be getting results from Quebec and Ontario and we werenít getting anything, because of the vote spliting.

We ended up with similar results to 2019. Do you think this election accomplished anything or solved anything?
No, it didnít. It was $600 million plus for Trudeau to get two extra seats in a time when an election didnít need to be called. When I went around the riding there were three things people kept saying to me. One was why are we having this election in the first place, and the other two were that we need to get rid of Trudeau and we need to get the economy going. The only reason for this election was so that Trudeauís vanity and his ego could be placated.

With a second minority government and a second election where the Liberals didnít win the popular vote, do you expect a different governing style from Mr. Trudeau?
Thatís a big question and I donít know whether I really have an answer for you there because I just donít know what heís going to do. I donít think anybody knows what sort of steps heís going to take here. Ultimately when we look at his speech at the end of the night, the comments on it were all about me as opposed to about Canada and talking about the good things that make this country great, and I just was shocked when I was listening to it. He didnít talk about the economy and I would have thought he would have talked about that. I thought he would talk about the debt and how heís going to attack the debt and things like that, but no comments on that at all.

What do you think the future holds for Erin OíToole? He kind of took a different approach for the Conservatives, tried to be a bit more of a centrist and ended up losing a couple of seats. Do you think thereís going to be some questioning over his leadership now or do you think the party will rally around him?
Well I hope there isnít a questioning of his leadership. We went through that after Andrew Scheer and then because of that we were in a year in a leadership race and by the time our membership chose Erin OíToole as our leader, boom! Weíre in a pandemic, no one gets a chance to see him, everythingís by Zoom and no one got a chance to even get to know who he was.

When you listen to his speech at the end of election night it was very powerful, it was very resonating with Canadians and thatís what people need to see about him. Iím hoping that now we will get that out there. I suspect the people listened to his speech were saying ĎI wish I heard that before.í If they can see more of that, they can see what type of leader he is.

Dr. Robert Kitchen in a field with a farmer.


Were you surprised about anything at the local level? I see you have the highest vote total in Canada with 76 per cent. Were you expecting that, or were you expecting a stronger showing from some of the newer parties?
As Iíve said to you every election I will always consider myself in last place at the start of each election. I always run like Iím the underdog. I always run like Iím behind and I need to work hard to get my message out.

I got out and did what I believed I needed to do which was to get around the riding and talk to my constituents and hear from them. Some of those answers and the comments we had were totally different from my opinions and thatís good. I need to hear that because that tells me whatís going on in the riding.

Itís a big challenge, this being my third election, but itís a challenge for each individual who puts their name forward and I commend everybody who did that. Itís a big commitment for every candidate.

To put your name forward and step up and run for office, itís a challenge as you get out there and about. Itís a challenge for candidates and families.

But thatís what makes this country great, the fact that we can have differences of opinion, but move forward together.

To me the biggest issue would have been that two of the candidates in Souris-Moose Mountain didnít show up for anything in the riding.

In the previous election, the NDP candidate showed up, we had a Green candidate that showed up, only the Liberals didnít show up in any debates that we had.

Unfortunately this time the NDP and the Liberal did not show up for any of the events and thatís unfortunate because if youíre going to put somebodyís name in there then I would like to believe that person would at least make an effort to try and talk to the constituents, to try and get their support.

How much of a challenge are the new right wing parties to the Conservatives forming a government again?
We talk about the Conservative party being a big tent party and thatís what we need is to have that big tent and those different views within it. But the issue is that for some people itís their way or the highway. Throughout the campaign the leadership had basically pointed out the fact that a vote for another party is basically a vote for Trudeau and I said that in my closing remarks at the Moosomin Chamber.

Ultimately there were only two parties that could form government and any other approach to that is basically voting for the Liberals and thatís unfortunate. There are suggestions that there are about 24 seats that would have gone Conservative if it hadnít been split between the Conservatives and the PPC.

We lost a certain number of votes to the PPC and thatís unfortunate but people have that right to choose who they think is best and so thatís one of the things about this great country is that you have that ability.

What are your top priorities when you get back to Ottawa?
Iím going to push on the issues that are important to this riding. The two main ones are basically energy security as well as our agriculture industry. Our producers as well as our ranchers need to be recognized for the good things that they do and the sequestering of carbon and the wonderful work they do in the stewardship of their land.

Those are things I want to push forward because our producers are the ones providing not only food locally but providing it for the province, providing it for this country and they need to be able to export that around the world.
Our farmers are private industry bringing in private business and foreign dollars for their products, which allow us to have the benefits we have in this great country.

What was the biggest surprise or the biggest thing you learned during this election campaign?
What is the biggest surprise? I was a lot more tired after this election and yet this is the shortest election of the three Iíve been in.

With that said, this time I had a fantastic team that got me out and about all over the riding and they did a really great job and they kept me going. So Iím sitting here today and going yeah, I am tired and Iíve got to spend time with my wife and get to know my wife again. Canadians want me back at work and I want to get back to work and I want to get Canadians back to work.

How much different is campaigning than serving as MP? Do you totally change gears once itís a campaign?
You do. And now I want to get back to Ottawa and get back to work. I believe we should be in Ottawa, we shouldnít be doing things by Zoom. We should be there and having that ability to do that and hopefully that will happen. We were voting by phone in many situations and again I donít believe thatís the best way to be doing it. I think we need to be in Ottawa to do that and I think when weíre in Ottawa we have a little bit more representation for my constituents when Iím there as opposed to doing it by Zoom.

Technology has been a benefit but at the same time itís also become a detriment as well. As youíre indicating, social media has all of a sudden got all these different answers and itís made a huge challenge on how we approach things.