Sakran is sanguine about his election loss – but he isn`t losing any sleep over it. Back at his law practice.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 21, 2011  He is in really great shape.  Jovial, animated and having fun.  Karmel Sakran didn’t want to lose the provincial election but – lose it he did and while he certainly isn’t saying no to another run – that’s not on today’s agenda.  “I went four months without an income and now I’m glad to be back to work doing what I was trained to do.”  He might have added that his wife and family get to see more of him these days.

For Karmel Sakran this all started back in November of 2010 when he got a call from the late John Boich.  “I was coming out of Cumis with a cheque for $92,000. for the United Way in my pocket and I was feeling great.  I was on Bluetooth and John Boich called and asked me if I would consider being the Liberal candidate in the 2011 election.  It came right out of the blue – I wasn’t even a member of the association.  I was kind of stunned – John had to ask me several times if I was still on the line.   I said that I would have to take some time to think about it – and I found that all I needed was a day.” I called John the next morning and said I would stand for nomination.”

Karmel making his views known to a Spectator reporter

As it turned out Sakran had a competitor for the nomination when Alyssa Brierley put her name forward but she withdrew shortly after when she was asked to run as the federal Liberal candidate against Mike Wallace.  Brierley ran a short vigorous campaign but lost to long time Burlington Conservative whose roots went back to municipal council.

As for Sakran – what’s next?  His time on the Hospital Board has come to end.  “The day I was nominated I was legally required to resign from the Hospital Board”, explained Sakran who was on the Board when that internal bit of hospital governance was passed.

“I’ll be seen more frequently at Rotary where I`ve been a member for a number of years.  I will hold my annual fund raiser – the Wills & Power of Attorney event I put on, so I`ll be busy.

We did our very best as a campaign and I`m proud of the team I was given to work with”, is the explanation Sakran gives for the loss.  A look at the numbers and it was evident that Burlington was not prepared to elect a Liberal provincially.  McKenna took every one of the advance polls – and while those numbers weren`t evident during the last few days of the election – they are an indicator of just how well the Conservative team did.  They got their vote out.

The Liberals also got their vote out – but the New Democrats got more of their vote out – a surprising 19.9% of the Burlington total went to the New Democrats – in the past their numbers were in the 5% (in the 2007 by-election) and 11% in the 2007 election.

No one really knows yet why the NDP did so well.  Walter Mulkewich, former Mayor of Burlington and chair of the NDP Finance Committee for their campaign,  will tell you that the NDP is back to where they have been historically.  Others think there was a distinct Layton factor in play.  The federal New Democrats took a very significant number of seats in Quebec during the federal election and basically wiped out the Parti Quebecois.  Shortly after the federal election Jack Layton died and many felt there was a sympathy vote that brought out NDP types in Burlington that had in the past gone to the Liberals.

The overall poor voter turnout didn’t help.  Because Burlington actually had a bit of a contest going,  the voter turnout was higher here than in the rest of the province.  For many it just wasn`t that exciting an election.  Andrea Horwath, the NDP leader brought some colour to the picture but other than that it had a bit of a boring cast to it.

Quite why elections have to be exciting and a real contest is beyond me.  That poor bugger who died in a mud filled trench in France trying to clear the mustard gas from his lungs didn`t sign up so that we could have exciting ‘elections.  But I digress – this is something that I get a little steamed about.  It`s not about partisan politics – it`s about a democratic process where a community chooses the best person it can find to represent that community in the Legislature.

As for Karmel Sakran – he is sanguine about the whole thing. “It was an amazing experience.  I loved every minute of it and I sure learned a lot.  Would I do it again – maybe.“

If you`re a community based organization and you are looking for some very experienced executive talent – Karmel Sakran is in the phone book – give him a call.


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