June 30, 2004: the Now on Grewal's election victory
Grewal hangs on
The Conservatives suffered a stunning loss of six seats in B.C., but incumbent Gurmant Grewal managed to hold on to his seat - barely.
With only 480 votes splitting Grewal and Liberal Sukh Dhaliwal in Newton-North Delta, it was clearly not a runaway.
The final count took longer than expected and the three front-runners waited in anticipation until close to 10 p.m. while Grewal, Dhaliwal and third place NDP candidate Nancy Clegg, battled back and forth, each taking their turn pulling ahead and then dropping behind.
But in the end, a relaxed-looking, blue jean-wearing Grewal prevailed and his early optimism and intrepidness paid off.
"I am confident I will win. I have a solid track record," Grewal said while waiting for the results to roll in at his campaign headquarters. Grewal said he was sure he would win because success is measured by how well an MP can help his constituents and because he speaks up in the House of Commons.
"Gurmant is probably the hardest working member of Parliament," said campaign manager John Connelly. "He is very well known and respected by everyone."
Connelly added that this election is the "dirtiest" he can recall, characterized by nasty remarks and damage to election signs.
"Gurmant takes it in stride though, he has a level head and rolls with the punches," said Connelly.
Said Grewal: "They broke a lot of signs during the campaign but they cannot break my courage and they cannot break my conviction."
Gurmant and his wife, Conservative Nina Grewal, who won the Fleetwood-Port Kells seat, celebrated their twin victories together surrounded by family, friends, supporters and campaign volunteers.
"We are here in this family business to make families stronger and to prosper," Grewal said, his wife by his side.
"Stronger families make stronger communities and stronger communities make stronger nations," said Grewal to the cheering crowd of well-wishers.
Across town at Liberal Sukh Dhaliwal's campaign office, there were also cheers but tears, too.
Dhaliwal exuded a quiet hopeful optimism during the lengthy poll count and showed grace under pressure when he accepted defeat.
"It's OK, it's OK," said Dhaliwal's 14-year-old daughter, Keerat. "You're awesome and everyone else knows it, too."
"Don't cry, you should be happy, now you will have more of dad at home," Dhaliwal said while he hugged and kissed Keerat and her 12-year-old sister, Joat.
"It's was not a very big margin and that tells me a lot," Dhaliwal continued. "We put everything into the campaign, we ran it very clean and that's all I can say."
He offered congratulations to rival Grewal and added, "I'm sure and expect he will represent all of the people of Newton-North Delta regardless of their political background and personal acquaintances."
Dhaliwal also offered well wishes for the NDP's Clegg: "Nancy is a very fine lady who I have a lot of respect for."
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