Hay River’s Jane Groenewegen, the only independent candidate on the ballot conceded defeat to Liberal incumbent MP Michael McLeod after coming in fourth place out of the five candidates.
National networks called the Liberal government win just short of 8:30 p.m. MDT as counts were still coming in for the Northwest Territories riding.
Groenewegen offered her congratulations to McLeod and Kotchilea’s results, but said she was surprised by Mollison’s vote count.
”Both Michael and Kelvin did amazingly well and I also thank my supporters,” she said.
“I was a little bit surprised by the number of votes for the Conservative candidate who hadn’t even stepped in the territory, but apart from that I was not surprised because historically the Liberals and NDP have done well.”
Groenewegen said party alliances revealed themselves to be much stronger than what she may have considered but she was grateful for the supporters she had, particularly those from Hay River.
“I think I did get good support in Hay River but on a territory-wide basis, it is hard to say,” she said.
The campaign was overall unusual, she noted, because she wasn’t able to have much dialogue with Northern residents and leaders throughout the territory due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“So there were not really any issues that came out of the campaign that I wasn’t aware of acutely,” she said. “With a campaign where there was not a lot of dialogue with constituents and it wasn’t a normal election in that sense, but big ticket items like climate change, cost of living, housing, the pandemic and the infrastructure deficit, these are all all issues I’ve been keenly aware of.”
Groenewegen was stationed with her husband at the Cambridge Suites in the South Slave town and was watching results as they came in.
As of Tuesday morning, she had captured 13 per cent of the vote share with 1,681 votes as one poll was still remaining to be counted.
McLeod remained in the top spot throughout the night and had 38 per cent of the vote with 4,979 votes. He was followed by NDP candidate Kelvin Kotchilea with 4,301 votes (33 per cent) and Conservative candidate Lea Mollison with 1,848 (14 per cent).
Green Party candidate Roland Laufer came in a distant fifth place with 334 votes (three per cent).