The work has just begun for Etobicoke Centre MP Ted Opitz, following a judicial recount that confirmed his win by 26 votes.
“I didn’t feel right taking on tasks until it was for sure,” Opitz said in a phone interview from Ottawa. “Having said that, I’m nearly three weeks behind, so I’m really scrambling to catch up.”
The final tally after the recount had Opitz winning the riding for the Conservatives with 21,644 votes compared to Liberal incumbent Borys Wrzesnewskyj’s 21,618. Because Opitz and Wrzesnewskyj were so close on election night, Elections Canada ordered a judicial recount.
Opitz said he was confident that he would still prevail in the recount, but was still wary of the results.
“I wasn’t nervous,” he said. “I knew there was a possibility of it going in the other guy’s favour. But the answers are in the box … there’s nothing more you can do or say that affects that.
“You can’t be overconfident about these things because anything can happen.”
Opitz’s campaign manager Roman Gawur, said there were roughly 800–1,000 disputed votes after the initial count. Ultimately, six valid votes were found in the spoiled envelope, including four for Opitz. Ballots are generally marked as spoiled when more than one candidate is selected.
The recount went smoothly according to Opitz, who described the judge as meticulous and said the entire process was cordial.
Opitz, a veteran of the Canadian Army, said the economy and job creation were chief concerns among his constituents. One issue that really hit home for him was senior care, not only because his riding has one of the largest senior populations in the country, but also because his own father was hospitalized mid-election.
“The most stressful part of the campaign for me wasn’t campaigning,” he said. “It was actually putting my dad in a home.”
The newly minted MP said he now has a hectic schedule to catch up on, including briefings and contacting constituents.