Newly re-elected MPP for the Kenora Rainy-River riding, Greg Rickford says he plans to hit the ground running and get right back to work as the region’s provincial representative after his re-election last week on Election Night 2022.
“I’m humbled. I’m humbled by the support, and I think it’s a call for us to continue to build on the things that we’ve been doing so far,” said Rickford, in an interview with the Q Morning Show on June 6. “I want to thank all of the candidates who put their names on a ballot. It’s a tremendous sacrifice.”
Rickford dominated local polls with just under 60 per cent of the region’s support, winning the riding with an over 6,000 vote lead by the end of the night. He notes he and his team knocked on the doors of over 17,000 people in the region throughout their campaign.
But province-wide, voter turnout took a nearly 14 per cent dive compared to 2018’s numbers, with turnout in Ontario estimated to be about 43 per cent. In Kenora Rainy-River, voter turnout was listed at 38 per cent and at 27 per cent in Kiiwetinoong, as both districts saw 15 to 18 per cent turnout drops compared to 2018.
“Voter turnout could always improve,” adds Rickford. “But for the folks that did vote, they elected a strong, stable Progressive Conservative majority. And of course, I serve folks who vote and who don’t vote.”
Ontario’s voter turnout likely dropped this year due to the Progressive Conservative’s demanding lead in the polls leading up to the election, which ultimately paved the way for a majority win and re-election for Premier Doug Ford on Election Night.
Ford fought through a difficult first year as Premier among public service cuts in healthcare in education spending, but his leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic rebounded public opinions in a trying time for the province.
Under the Conservatives' previous term, MPP Rickford had served as the Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, as well as the Minister of Indigenous Affairs.
Rickford has refused to speculate on any potential cabinet positions moving forward, noting the PC’s still have the provincial budget to finalize.
“These things take a week or two to sort out. I suspect we’ll get back at ‘er soon and the folks of Ontario will have a very clear understanding of where we’re headed,” adds Rickford.
Rickford first joined provincial politics in 2018, but he had previously served as a federal MP under Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, first elected in 2008. He was later re-elected in 2011 and served under the Ministry of Indian Affairs and the Ministry of Northern Development.
Rickford would later be appointed as the Minister of State for Northern Ontario as well as the Minister of Natural Resources. He was defeated in 2015’s federal election by Bob Nault and Howard Hampton. He re-entered politics provincially in 2017 and won the riding in 2018.
Prior to his political career, Rickford worked as a lawyer and as a nurse in northern First Nation communities with degrees from McGill and Laval.