It was a tight race throughout the night, but in the end, Kenora’s incumbent Member of Parliament Eric Melillo was re-elected by his constituents Monday night.
“We feel good about it. We had really strong support. I’m thankful for the opportunity to keep working and to keep serving the region,” said Melillo, after he joined his supporters at Bob’s Burgers in downtown Kenora.
Melillo received over 10,000 votes in the 2021 Federal Election, ahead of the NDP’s candidate Janine Seymour with just over 7,300, the Liberal’s David Bruno who was just shy of 5,000, Remi Rheault of the Green Party with around 350 and Craig Martin of the People’s Party of Canada with 1,500 roughly.
“Not quite the result we were looking for at the national level,” adds Melillo. “But Justin Trudeau called this election searching for a majority, and I think Canadians showed what they thought of that. They want another minority government. They want parliament to work together through the next stage of this pandemic. And we’re going to form a strong opposition.”
This is Canada’s 15th minority federal government and fifth in the last seven elections. Although the Liberals hold more seats than any other party, Prime Minister Trudeau will need support from other parties to pass any legislation.
Heading into the election, Melillo said his priorities included funding new infrastructure work in northwestern Ontario, delivering high-speed internet to all regions by 2025, to stand up for the rights of law-abiding gun owners and to advance reconciliation with Indigenous communities.
Now, Melillo says those priorities remain, but his main focus will be the economic recovery of northwestern Ontario’s struggling industries.
“I truly believe this election is about who Canadians want them to guide them in the post-pandemic recovery. Unfortunately, we fell just short, but in a minority government, it’s incumbent we all work together. I’ll be continuing to work with the other parties to ensure northwestern Ontario is at the forefront of that economic recovery.”
Melillo, now 23, was elected as Kenora’s MP as a 20-year-old in 2019, beating out incumbent MP Bob Nault of the Liberals and Rudy Turtle, former Chief of Grassy Narrows First Nation of the NDP. Melillo won by less than 1,200 votes just two years ago. Now, he took his position with an over 3,000 vote lead.
“All of the candidates here really had a good, clean campaign and a passionate exchange of issues. I’m thankful to all of them that put their names forward,” said Melillo, as he congratulated the other nominees on their campaigns.
When he was sworn in, Melillo became the second-youngest Canadian MP in history. As a Beaver Brae Secondary School student in 2015, Melillo spoke about having a goal of sitting in the House of Commons one day. Four years later, that dream became true.
Prior to his election, Melillo offered to work for provincial MPP Greg Rickford’s campaign. Starting as a party volunteer, Melillo would later become a constituency office worker and Rickford’s campaign manager in 2018.
Once the federal cabinet is sworn in, MP’s will undergo their swearing-in ceremonies shortly afterwards. The date of the ceremony has not been released.
Minority governments typically last less than two years. They can be defeated when a governing party loses a vote on a motion or matter of confidence in the House of Commons. Confidence votes typically come after a voted-down budget plan.
Stephen Harper led two Conservative minority governments from 2006 to 2008, and 2008 to 2011. Paul Martin led a Liberal minority from 2004 to 2006. If a minority government is elected, that would mean in the previous 21 federal elections, 10 of them have resulted in minority governments.