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Joe Peschisolido says Liberals have work to do

Not even the arrival of Joe Peschisolido at Liberal campaign headquarters near Save-On-Foods breathed life into stunned volunteers Monday night. - Martin van den Hemel photo
Not even the arrival of Joe Peschisolido at Liberal campaign headquarters near Save-On-Foods breathed life into stunned volunteers Monday night.
— image credit: Martin van den Hemel photo

“We tried, we tried,” former Richmond MP Joe Peschisolido lamented as he walked into his campaign headquarters, where not even his arrival could resuscitate his dejected-looking volunteers.

As the polling station results trickled in, Peschisolido stood a distant third, behind not only his chief rival, incumbent Conservative MP Alice Wong, but also NDP candidate Dale Jackaman, who was riding high from an apparent national Orange Crush wave that saw NDP leader Jack Layton become the head of the Official Opposition.

To say it was a somber night would be understating it. By the end of the night, local Liberal support had dramatically fallen, as they finished 172 votes ahead of the NDP in second-place finish, nearly 17,000 votes behind Alice Wong and the Conservatives.

Volunteers and supporters who gathered in Peschisolido’s office across from the Save-On-Foods on Ackroyd Road sat and stared in muted disbelief as the national results were broadcast on live television.

The appearance of the pizza man went virtually unnoticed, and campaign chief Mindi Cofman had to remind people to help themselves.

But not everyone did, as some appeared too stunned to eat.

While Cofman got the sense that people were tired of another election, Peschisolido didn’t get the same feeling during his door-knocking.

Cofman was optimistic that the Liberal defeat in Richmond was the end of one chapter and the beginning of something new.

“We had a fabulous candidate here,” Cofman said of Peschisolido, who was gracious in defeat and complemented Wong and her team of volunteers on running a strong campaign.

“I’d like to congratulate Alice Wong on a very solid campaign. I’m sure she’s going to do a good job as a member of Parliament,” he said.

“I congratulate Prime Minister (Stephen) Harper. He’s going to form a majority government it seems. And the NDP did extremely well. Dale Jackaman is a good friend and he deserves all the support that he got here.”

Shortly before visiting Alice Wong’s campaign headquarters, Peschisolido tried to raise the mood in his office, but had a tough go of it.

“I’m very proud of the work that we did. I think the Liberal Party has some work to do. I’m not sure how that’s going to play out nationally but we ran a phenomenal campaign here in Richmond. The national trends were perhaps against us.”

If there was something positive to take from Monday, it’s the fall of the Bloc Quebecois in Quebec.

“The last numbers I saw is that the Bloc had four seats in Quebec and I think that’s a good thing for Canada. Whenever you no longer have separatists sitting in the House of Commons, that’s a very good day for everyone. I would have preferred that Bloc Quebecois would have been defeated by Liberal Party candidates but that did not happen.”

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