For Murray Ryan, the past two-and-a-half weeks are something he’ll never forget.
From being named the Progressive Conservative candidate for the provincial riding of Northside-Westmount to knocking on doors, Ryan has seen and heard it all.
Ryan, 52, was finally able to take a breather from the grueling campaign late Tuesday night after the North Sydney native was successful in winning the byelection.
“It’s been a full schedule,” said Ryan of the past two-and-a-half weeks. “It’s been a great experience and I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to talk to people and hear their concerns and the issues they have.”
Ryan, a chartered professional accountant, received 2,243 votes, nearly 600 votes more than Liberal candidate Paul Ratchford, who finished in second place with 1,645 votes.
Danny Laffin, who ran as an Independent, finished in third place with 1,465 votes.
Ronald Crowther (NDP/1,316), Andrew Doyle (Independent/834), Ron G. Parker (Green Party/203) and Thomas Bethell (Atlantica Party/38) rounded out the bottom four candidates.
The byelection was called after PC MLA Eddie Orrell stepped down from his position to run in the federal election in the fall. Orrell held the Northside-Westmount riding for eight years.
Ryan admits he heard a lot of things during the campaign, however healthcare was the main topic on the mind of his constituency.
“The long emergency room wait times and the trouble of getting family doctors was heard a lot,” said Ryan.
Despite his success in the byelection, Ryan wasn’t the first choice to represent the PC party for Northside-Westmount.
In early August, Laffin was named the candidate for the riding, but was later dumped by the party just hours before nominations closed on Aug. 14.
Laffin was eventually replaced on the PC ballot by Ryan, who was initially up against Laffin for the nomination but withdrew from consideration due to his elderly father falling ill for a time.
Laffin would later decide to run as an independent. Meanwhile, the health of Ryan’s father started to improve, and Ryan made the decision to accept the nomination.
“He’s five months away from being 101-years-old so every day is a gift with him and I’m so blessed to still have him here,” said Ryan of his father Rick, who also ran for the PC nomination in Cape Breton North in 1963 but was unsuccessful.
“The reasons why I was going to get involved and run for the nomination back in July were still valid and they were still things that interested me and were close to my heart, so the opportunity was right.”
Ratchford was disappointed the Liberal party wasn’t able to win the seat but gave full credit to all candidates who put their name on the ballot.
“Clearly the people have spoken, the democratic process is apparent,” said Ratchford, a constable with the Cape Breton Regional Police.
“We had a very seriously split vote – I have to give props to the independent candidates, they did a phenomenal job, they’re great people – the rest of us, myself included, earned every vote we had.”
In the Northside-Westmount riding, there were 15,952 registered electors. The total valid votes cast was 7,744 while 48 were rejected. The voter turnout for the byelection was 48.85 per cent in the riding.
Ryan joined fellow Tory candidate Brian Comer at the Sydney River fire hall following the election. Comer won the riding of Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg Tuesday after Alfie MacLeod stepped down from the position in July.
Along with Ryan and Comer, Orrell, MacLeod and PC leader Tim Houston were also in attendance for the celebration.
“It means a lot to me to know that the person coming behind me is a Progressive Conservative and can continue the good ways going on in this province,” said Orrell.
“People in Northside-Westmount deserve a good PC candidate in the legislature in Halifax to carry on and continue to fight for what we need here and what we need in healthcare.”
With the byelection over, Ryan said he plans to take two or three days off to prepare for a busy schedule which will see him adjust to life as an MLA.
- Age: 52
- Hometown: North Sydney
- Occupation or experience: Chartered Professional Accountant, self employed
- Family: Wife, Joanne (MacDonald), son, Andrew, 26, father, Rick Ryan
VOTES (43/43 polls reported)
- Murray Ryan – PC – 2,243
- Paul Ratchford – Liberal – 1,645
- Danny Laffin – Independent – 1,465
- Ronald Crowther – NDP – 1,316
- Andrew Doyle – Independent – 834
- Ron G. Parker – Green Party – 203
- Thomas Bethell – Atlantica Party – 38
Number of registered electors: 15,952
Total number of valid votes cast: 7,744
Total number of rejected: 48
Percentage of voter turnout: 48.85 per cent