Karina Gould keeps the Burlington seat; Emily Brown was never able to attract the Conservative vote

By Ryan O’Dowd: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

September 21st, 2021



Relieved at having won the seat Gould talks to media. She held the seat without a visit from the Prime Minister – unusual for this constituency.

Karina Gould will be the MP for Burlington. Will she be back in Cabinet, and which portfolio, are unanswered questions.

Her share of the vote was basically what it was in 2019. The election derided as unnecessary materially changed nothing.

Gould said she didn’t see the night as disappointing and framed the results as an endorsement from Canadians of the work the Liberals have been doing. Late last night after victory could be safely declared Gould arrived to greet volunteers at the Poacher.

“It’s a great night. We’re still in government. And you know, and we’re still moving forward, Canadians have said, we want to continue in this direction. We want to continue taking bold climate action, we want to continue making life more affordable. We want to pursue a $10 a day daycare. And even more importantly, that we want to stand up for inclusivity, women’s rights, fight systemic racism stand up for LGBT individuals. I think that what we were looking for in this election was to say, ‘hey, Canadians, is this the path you want us to continue on?’ And Canadians have said ‘yes,’” said Gould.

Gould said this was the nastiest campaign she’s been part of. Gould didn’t mention Conservative candidate, Emily Brown, by name but at a pre-election Chamber of Commerce debate, she said Brown was the first candidate she’s encountered who “brazenly misled people.”

“It was a bit nastier of a campaign. I’ve never had a candidate put up signs directly attacking me before. We’ve always run a very positive and respectful campaign. I think it’s upsetting because that’s not how this community is portrayed. I’m really grateful for the people that know we’re not going to go down that negative route, we’re going to be positive and hopeful,” said Gould.

Gould sent a letter to Burlington constituents telling them it would be a tight race but she ended up winning fairly comfortably. Gould received 45% of the vote down 3% from 2019, Brown scored 38%, bettering her 2019 counterpart, Jane Michael, by 5%. NDP candidate, Nick Page, held the NDP to steady results between 2019 and 2021. The Green Party’s Chris Cullis had a forgettable night scoring 2% of votes down from 6%. Michael Bator of the People’s Party won 4%.

(Note: result numbers are accurate as of 10:30 am with 243/244 polls reported)

The Burlington race did tighten but it was far from Gould’s nail-biting victory over Mike Wallace to first win her seat in 2015.

Karina Gould addressing her supporters in the parking lot outside the Poacher.

Gould and campaign staff did their jobs in this campaign, and still despite a solid performance the mood around the election night party was bittersweet. The election was called with visions of a majority Liberal government and a rapturous election night celebration, instead, results came in and were met with sighs of relief.

When Gould arrived following the election results she did manage to rally the troops and make it feel like a celebration.

“It’s such a privilege. I can’t thank the people of Burlington enough. I know this is a progressive community. I know more people want to move forwards not backward. But of course, I serve everybody. And so I’m looking forward to continuing to do that. But I just have to say a huge amount of gratitude to the people of Burlington for placing their trust in me once again, for a third term and I’m committed to continuing to deliver for them,” said Gould.

Gould said her top priorities going forward were daycare, affordable housing which she said she heard about at the door constantly and acting boldly on climate change which was the reason she got into politics in 2015. When asked what we could expect her federal portfolio would look like Gould said she had no idea.

Gould will begin her third term following her second re-election, first claiming the seat in 2015 then defending it in 2019. Gould was the former Minister of International Development and Minister of Democratic Institutions.

Gould’s decisive win suggests she’s endeared herself to the people of Burlington. Gould was highly visible running her campaign and said she and her staff knocked on over 60,000 doors and made over 30,000 phone calls.

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18 comments to Karina Gould keeps the Burlington seat; Emily Brown was never able to attract the Conservative vote

  • Mary Jenkins

    I’m sure my mentioning of the “media bailout money” given to the media just a few days prior to the election being called has ensured that my comment will not be printed. That’s ok, just confirms what I suspected. There are other ways to get the word out.

    Editors note: It would really help if you knew what you were talking about. The program that funds media across the country has been running for three years. The Gazette was advised that it would be funded in April – many many months before an election was called.

  • Fred Crockett

    Pepper, you have handled two of your most unique commentators with more dignity than most of us would have had the grace to do so,. Perhaps they may return to their traditional passion of yelling at clouds until the Ontario provincial election festivities begin….

  • Bob

    Karina misled me when she ran a campaign in 2015 promising election reform

    • perryb

      unfair comment. Karina did not run promising election reform, her party did. She was assigned this task well after the election, did a fair job at it until the PM pulled the plug. Then she was given other assignments, which she has executed capably. All the while being visible and supportive as a local MP. What’s not to like?

  • Eve St Clair

    Mud slinging from Karina was disturbing . Also this rag was anti Emily from the start and did a terrible job of reporting anything positive on her platform.

    Editor’s note: Hard to say much about the candidate – we were never able to meet with her – nor were important interest groups (the climate change people for one) were never able to hear what Emily Brown had to say.

    As for the words you use to describe us – you didn’t feel that way when you were battling the New Street diet. You appear to want a media that caters to your view rather than a media that strives to get the truth out.

    Wasn’t that what Trump wanted and did and look where that got the US of A

  • Alfred


    I agree with you.

    With reporters like Ryan O’Dowd doing one sided reporting and doing the Liberals dirty work Karina could just sit back and let it happen. Does anyone think he treated both candidates equally as well.

    Editor’s note: How can you argue that we did not treat Brown fairly when she refused to speak to media or take part of special interest debates (climate change for one)

  • Joe Gaetan

    And the Emmy for “Misleading Headlines” goes to Ryan O’Dowd. He may want to try to acquant himself with SPJ Code of Ethics.

    Editor’s note: I wrote the headline – and I don’t have problem with it

    • Joe Gaetan

      Well then, I owe Ryan O’Dowd a sincere apology. Thanks for stepping up Pepper, but the fact remains, this and other headlines that referenced Emily Brown were for lack of a better choice of words slanted. And why not, forthrightness be darned, Canadians once again just re-elected a three times Ethics violator as our PM. The shining example of this being his own words on election night,” You are sending us back to work with a clear mandate”. Clear mandate, the real message was, Canadians refused to give Trudeau the majority he wanted and put him on a short leash.

  • Penny Hersh

    It is unfortunate that Emily Brown ran what I consider a terrible campaign. If she had been more of a presence, and engaged more with the residents of Burlington she would have given Karina Gould a real run for the position.

    I think Karina is a wonderful person, unfortunately, she has to follow party lines, whether or not she agrees with them.

    • Tom Muir

      They all follow party lines. I thought you would be fully aware of this. My mistake.

      Emily Brown was doing the same thing and running as a hopeful ride for the Conservative vote.

    • The numbers speak for themselves Penny, Emily’s campaign was far superior to Gould’s or any other in Burlington and spoke directly of the better candidate to all time permitted her to meet.

      Editor’s note: We have to take exception to this comment. To run a campaign and totally ignore the many opportunities to meet with media and different interest groups (the climate people in particular) is not anyone’s idea of a superior campaign. The Marsden’s are not likely to retract their statement but for the record – much of what they say about the Conservative campaign is total rubbish.

  • Emily Brown was the only candidate who bettered her parties last performance – UP 5%. Gould was down 3% from 2019, Nick Page, held the NDP to steady results, Chris Cullis had a forgettable night scoring 2% of votes down from 6% That was a major achievement for a first time runner who was nominated just prior to the election call and no time to organize. Watch out for Emily she will be back and with more time to organize betcha she will capture the crown.

  • Phillip Wooster

    Ryan, your journalistic skills are very limited–you have consistently during this election presented Karina Gould in a favourable light while accepting everything she has said without question. At the same time, you seemed to have a vindictive streak towards Emily Brown who clearly didn’t want anything to do with you and your pre-ordained ideas. Even the title of today’s article was not explained–just another cheap shot. Emily had closed the gap significantly from 2019. All that LIberal money certainly paid off–journalism this isn’t.

    • Phillip, I’m sorry you feel like I’m portraying Gould favourably and I’m sorry that you feel like I’m being vindictive toward Brown. I acknowledged Brown closed the gap. I struggle to think of where you found an opinion or inaccuracy in this article. I did mention Gould’s comments about Brown because it was a noteworthy comment.

      As for “accepting everything Gould says” I am not writing opinion columns to tell the reader how to feel. If Gould’s answers or comments are unsatisfactory I’m sure you can determine that, and clearly you have.

      As you’ve been objecting to my journalistic standards based on your *feelings* the entire campaign it’s worth noting I can’t write stories to try to make you happy. That’s simply not the job.

      Brown didn’t want anything to do with me since before I penned a single political article, she didn’t want anything to do with other media or a climate change debate. I’m sorry sir, but you’re concocting narratives that are not there based on feelings.

      I wish we had time with Emily Brown and could cover her more comprehensively. If you have a substantive correction on an inaccuracy I’d happily make the correction. You commenting repeated ad-hominems because I didn’t write an opinion piece from your perspective is the kind of internet discourse I prefer not to engage in.

      (Also I do not write the headlines but I hardly see how it reaches the level of “cheap shot.”)

    • Tom Muir


      I think that vindictiveness is in your DNA. Accuracy and reasonableness are not. Preordained ideas are your language. This is based on my observations of your comments for a while now here in the Gazette.

      I kept close eye on the local election, and I never noticed anything you say here regarding the reporter’s treatment of Karina. Yet you insult Ryan gratuitously and make it even worse with the cheap shot about Emily who did not seem to have anything to talk to the Gazette about.

      I don’t think she had anything to say from what I saw or heard. It’s an old political saw that any publicity in politics is better than none.

      She was riding the party line and hoping something might happen to rebel against the Liberals and she could ride it. I never heard of her ever in the public eye or on issues. I never saw her photo before. I would never vote for such a person.

      The fact that you would stand up and insult a young man in training only adds to this never.

      You certainly are not a judge of journalism or civil tongue.

      • Phillip Wooster

        Tom, your post is an exercise in self-validation. “I never noticed anything you say here regarding the reporter’s treatment of Karina”. Really? Was that because, as a supporter of Gould, you chose not to review the articles very critically? Ryan accepted Gould’s version on the gun debate without question; at no time did he understand the realities of gun violence in Canada. Did he question Gould on rising homicide rates since 2015? Did he question Gould on her support of a soft-on-crime agenda (bills C-22 and C-75 and her rejection of bill C-238)? He allowed Gould to make a comment about Brown lying on Liberal housing policy–it was a gratuitous comment that was not explained. Why? But you didn’t care about these criticisms because the article validated YOUR point of view.

        Initially, I don’t know why Emily did not talk to the Gazette–perhaps she was too busy at the start of the campaign. But there was no excuse with the “hit piece” that Ryan wrote and published–he should have said he tried to interview her without success. PERIOD. Instead, he wrote a piece in which HE chose the information, including some pictures of her with guns–his favourites throughout the campaign. Yes she should have found time to talk to him but after that hit piece, an article that was roundly condemned by several posters at the time, had I been Emily, I wouldn’t have talked to the Gazette either. Of course, you weren’t upset by that article–it again validated your political views.

        And as for your comment that you would “never vote for such a person”–you would never vote for a Conservative candidate, let’s be honest.

        Editor’s note: What a hypocrite. He says he wouldn’t talk to the Gazette but he logs in daily and writes a comment that I have to spend my time reading to ensure that he hasn’t libeled someone that would require me to defend ourselves.

        I would invite you to find some other Burlington news source Mr Wooster

    • perryb

      It is a mystery to me why Emily Brown chose not to engage in this election, instead running a non-campaign. She seemingly avoided any opportunities to attend public meetings, state a platform, or express any commitment to serving Burlington. Perhaps she was instructed to keep quiet and count on loyal conservative voters to sweep her into office. Perhaps she didn’t like O’Toole’s swing into progressive conservatism. Who can say?