Incumbent John Nater has held on to the Perth-Wellington riding.
It's his third election win. He also won the seat in 2019 and 2015, with just over 46 percent of the vote in 2019.
Voters seemed to be engaged early with 20,952 of the more than 83,000 eligible voters casting their ballot early.
Perth-Wellington had the largest increase in advance voting of the local three ridings over 2019, by 42 percent.
Nater spoke to a small gathering of supporters and campaign staff at the Mitchell Golf Club following confirmation that he would hold his seat. He says with the election turning out fairly similar to the last one, with the Liberals holding a minority government, it's reflective of what Canadians want, which is for the parties to work together. Nater adds he's excited to get back to work for Perth-Wellington, once again from the opposition bench in Ottawa, on a number of issues.
One of those issues is affordable living, in terms of housing and renting, and Nater says that was by far the most common issue he was hearing on the campaign trail.
"One of the things we need to look at is what we can do to actually increase the supply of housing, so building more houses and a variety of houses so the first time home owner can get into the housing market. We also have to look at how we develop affordable housing in rural communities."
A bigger focus on rural housing needs also needs to be part of the strategy, Nater says.
"Too often when we see the funds coming from Ottawa, they don't have a rural lens. So they're designed for larger urban centres, so when communities like Listowel and Stratford apply for the Rapid Housing Program, when they apply, they're not eligible. So that's one of the concerns that we have, we have to have a rural lens on those programs so when they come out, they're eligible for small communities like here in Perth-Wellington."
Another big campaign issue that has been thrust to the forefront even more by the pandemic is mental health and addictions services. Nater states that it's crucial that there are more resources available to people in small and rural communities where people can't necessarily access them in big cities.
"So I was so proud that part of our platform, one of the 5 pillars, was securing mental health, so that's something I'm going to be pushing further going forward, supporting community groups that want to take initiative, like the Listowel Ag Society, like Do More Ag, that have some great programs to develop mental health resources for rural communities. More generally, just making sure that long term, there's treatment facilities for addictions services and making sure that people have access where they live to the services they need."
Of course, being in a richly rural area with a large farming community, Nater says ensuring there are more supports for farm families to be successful going forward is a major part of what he'll be doing in Ottawa.
"So what we need to do is look at the business risk management programs, making sure they're there to serve the needs of farmers and farm families. Looking at agri-stability, how we can change that to make sure it's responsive to the needs of farmers. We also need to look at the rural infrastructure that supports farmers and farm families in rural communities. So making sure we have that infrastructure there, making sure that every family is connected to rural broadband and hi-speed internet. That is absolutely essential as we move forward into the 3rd decade of the 21st century."
Finally, Nater addressed the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the response to the health crisis nationwide. He says the health of everyone and the supports for local businesses must be at the forefront.
"First and foremost, our priority has to be the health of Canadians and so I want to give a huge thanks to all our community health and public health officials who have done so much over the last year and a half, but also to the small businesses that have been so affected and they're the ones that we really need to support going forward, so they not only recover, but are able to thrive going forward. So we must have support programs that apply to all small businesses, whether they're newer or old, regardless of how many employees they may have, so that our small businesses and sole proprietorships really have the support they need to get back up and going, so they can reopen and stay open, long term."
Nater adds that he's thankful to everyone across Perth-Wellington for voting, whether it was for him or any of the other 3 candidates, and he looks forward to being a Member of Parliament once again for all constituents in Perth-Wellington.
John Nater's full post-election win is available here:
Unofficial results as of September 21 at 4:50 a.m.:
204/205 polls reporting
John Nater Conservative Party of Canada - 26,135
Brendan Knight - Liberal Party of Canada - 12,876
Kevin Kruchkywich - New Democratic Party - 9,097
Wayne Baker - People's Party of Canada - 5,277