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Marc Serré, re-elected MP for Nickel Belt, celebrated with friends, family, supporters, local dignitaries and his team at the Comfort Inn in Sturgeon Falls on October 22. He is shown with sister and campaign volunteer Lynne Gervais cutting a large cake.

by Isabel Mosseler

After Nickel Belt voters cast their ballot in the Oct. 21 election, incumbent Marc Serré (Liberal) handily won the riding with 39% of the votes cast, 3,390 more than the next leading contender, Stef Paquette of the NDP (32.1%). The federal results have Serré returning to a diminished Liberal caucus and a minority government, after four years of majority rule, but Serré himself remains optimistic. He sees his lead as an affirmation of his performance over his first term in office. The riding has gone back and forth between Liberals and NDP over the years, and there was one point in the vote count when there was only a 2% point spread between himself and Paquette, but Serré maintained the lead throughout the entire evening. Now he looks forward to continuing to represent the people of Nickel Belt – and his home base of West Nipissing.

After waiting of results and celebrating in Val Caron on election night, Serré was in West Nipissing the following day to share his victory with family, friends, his team, and various municipal leaders from West Nipissing and East Sudbury. He was busy the next day removing election signs throughout the riding, then counting, washing and storing them for the next election. With good humour, he related that indeed some of his signs were defaced, but said that overall, the local campaign was clean.

“I’m really proud of the campaign, it was really positive and I had a good team all over Nickel Belt, which is a large riding: 30,000 km of different communities.” He reflected that “the biggest part is that we put a team together in June… executed a plan... I commend all the candidates from all parties, and I think it was a positive campaign locally.” Indeed, compared to the federal campaign, the Nickel Belt campaign was eminently respectful. “You’ve got to expect some cheap shots, and I did get a few of them… My campaign was based on what I wanted to do and what I did over the last four years… What we did was highlight the involvement we had all over Nickel Belt… and we’ve been supporting the region in a big way.”

Looking at the federal results, Serré said that all the leaders had issues around confrontation, “except Elizabeth May; she’s wonderful.” He added that he was surprised she didn’t do better, but also noted May has far more influence than her votes would indicate, especially around the issue of climate change induced by human activity. “A high percentage of individuals want to address climate change, however there’s a lot of work to do, because as soon as we say we have to change our habits… the support is not there… In Sudbury, I praised the students striking, they are raising awareness.” Serré noted he is in full support of the federal carbon tax and the rebates to consumers, “but the… Conservatives (provincially and nationally) messed that up. They are only talking about the carbon tax… but 80% of families will be better off, getting more money, from the rebates.”

Serré was optimistic throughout election evening as the votes came in. “Right from the get-go we were ahead, sometimes not by much… I was right with the team the whole time... We hooked up by Skype with the Sturgeon Falls office… stayed with supporters all evening… When they put the checkmark beside my name, the whole building erupted, and that was emotional... We knew it was going to be tight because Nickel Belt has see-sawed between NDP and Liberals forever.”

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Serré begins second mandate as MP for Nickel Belt