Conservative candidate Michael Chong took a substantial lead early and by the time election night was over he walked away with more than 50 per cent of the votes and a second term as MP for Wellington-Halton Hills. Final unofficial riding results for Monday's federal election showed Chong collected 27,807 votes, Liberal Rod Finnie earned 16,065, NDP candidate Noel Duignan had 6,795, Green Party candidate Brent Bouteiller finished fourth with 3,362, Carolann Krusky of the Christian Heritage Party was fifth with 606 votes and Independent candidate Mike Wizniewski
was last with 352. Chong collected 50.6 per cent of the riding's votes compared to 29.2 per cent for Finnie. An impressive 71 per cent (54,987) of the riding's 77,441 registered voters cast their ballot. Voter turnout was 67 per cent in the riding in the 2004 federal election. A jubilant Chong celebrated his victory with a throng of happy supporters at the Mill St. Crossing pub in Acton. "I didn't know what to expect," said Chong late Monday night. "You work as hard as you can. Today I felt at peace with myself because I had done everything I could."
He attributed his win in part to a strong national campaign. "It was much more focused, it was much more disciplined. We looked like a party in waiting." Other factors that contributed to his success in the election he said, were a better-run local campaign compared to 2004, and the fact the Conservatives' policies-- on cuts to the GST, new accountability legislation, crackdown on gun crime and helping parents with childcare costs-- resonated with the electorate. Chong, 34, of Nichol Township (near Fergus), said the national outcome for his party was "within the parameters I expected. He said the government will "work on an issue by issue basis with each of the different parties" and stressed the Conservative government "will not form any coalition with Bloc Québécois." His personal priority, he said, will be to "continue to ensure I remain connected to the people in the riding." He also plans to continue serving on the Halton Hills' physician recruitment committee to try and bring new doctors to the area and ensure the government fulfills its commitment to cut GO Transit costs by 16 per cent. "I'm happy to serve in any position (Conservative Leader Stephen) Mr. Harper wants to serve me in," said Chong, when asked about speculation by some political pundits he could be in line for a cabinet post. "My primary role is to serve my constituents as their MP. Any additional responsibility is up to Mr. Harper." Liberal candidate Rod Finnie, 58, of Erin, was pleasantly surprised by his party's national showing, but he expected to receive more votes personally. "It was not the reaction that I was getting at the door so I thought we would do better than this," said Finnie, who surrounded by family and approximately 20 supporters, watched the election results come in at the Georgetown Optimist Hall. "I think Michael Chong has been a good representative," Finnie said, when asked why the Liberals had a poor showing in the riding. "He's a good person, he works hard and he makes sure he works in all parts of the riding." Finnie, Erin's mayor, also said the sponsorship scandal was one of the key issues he heard from the public while campaigning and the Conservatives "played that issue up well." Early in the campaign Finnie said he was worried that a Conservative government could weaken the federation, but he is hopeful that won't occur. "I'm sure if the other Conservatives that were elected are like Mike they will do what's best for the country and that's what I sincerely hope will happen." When asked about his future political plans, Finnie said he needed to consider his options before making a decision.