Despite finishing in fourth place in the Tory stronghold of Simcoe North, Green party candidate Krystal Brooks said Thursday night she felt good about her first provincial election run.
Brooks, her team and a few family members watched the results roll in at Tiffany Restaurant in Coldwater, choosing to focus on the Green party’s small victories across the province.
“I pulled double what I did in the federal election, which is pretty incredible,” said Brooks, referencing her candidacy with the federal Green party last fall, in which she garnered 1,818 votes.
Brooks finished the provincial election with 4,071 votes — 8.79 per cent of the ballots cast — while incumbent Progressive Conservative candidate Jill Dunlop pulled 49.75 per cent of the vote to win the riding of Simcoe North for the second straight time.
The Green candidate said she was most excited to watch the tight race in neighbouring Parry Sound—Muskoka where Matt Richter of the Green Party narrowly lost a tight race to the Conservatives. A victory by Richter would have doubled the party’s seat count in Queen’s Park.
“I was really hoping that we would see another Green riding, but it was still exciting to watch,” said Brooks. “So much work went into that riding and I think that it wasn't wasted. I think in the next election it might be a Green riding.”
Building support for the party within Simcoe North was a “huge” goal according to Brooks — one she thinks her team was able to accomplish.
Advocating for issues, like those with the Alliston aquifer, and spending time listening to citizens were also highlights of the race for Brooks. “Just really connecting with people in this election was so amazing.”
Brooks’ campaign manager, Erik Schomann, said he is “heartened” by the support for the Green party in Parry Sound—Muskoka, and believes the party made gains in Simcoe North.
“We did the best job that we could with the people that we had; most of it was done by the people that are sitting at this table. We did an incredible campaign as far as I'm concerned,” said Schomann.
Green party volunteer Anna Bourgeois said she is disappointed that Ontario will face another four years of Doug Ford, but was pleased with the way Brooks represented the citizens of Simcoe North throughout the campaign.
“I think she has been able to represent people who are not wealthy. I think she speaks for the people. She speaks from the heart,” said Bourgeois.
Bourgeois shared her excitement over Brooks’ results in the mock Student Vote polls, where the Green candidate won 23.23 per cent of high school students’ votes to place second in the riding.
“In four years, they're going to be able to vote. I think our future is these young people,” said Bourgeois.
Brooks cited debates as an area of improvement for herself, adding that debate preparation would be beneficial in future elections.
A bout of pneumonia during the last week of campaigning also hurt her ability to go door knocking, as did vandalism to a campaign sign on her front lawn.
“Krystal did experience some real ugliness out there. I'm particularly heartened by how well we've done in spite of how ugly things have been, and I hope that going forward, that ugliness that we're experiencing isn’t a growing trend,” said Schomann.
The misogynistic and racist anti-Indigenous message written on one of Brooks’ signs made her consider dropping out of the race, Brooks said. In hindsight, the candidate says she is “really glad” she did not exit the race.
While Brooks said she would potentially run again in a provincial election, her next political move might come much sooner — she’s been asked to run for leadership of the Green Party of Canada, as well as Orillia city council.
Brooks is not sure yet which avenue she will most likely pursue. “It's all about where I can make the biggest impact.”
The Green candidate said she is also looking forward to continuing work in her role on the Green Party federal council, and getting more involved in the community by volunteering with local charitable organizations.