Eric Melillo, MP-elect, planning on “hitting the ground running” for constituents
Tim Brody - EditorEric Melillo of the Conservative Party of Canada has been elected the Kenora Riding’s next Member of Parliament after receiving 34.1 per cent of the total Kenora Riding eligible vote in the Oct. 21 federal election.
Melillo defeated incumbent Liberal candidate Bob Nault and NDP candidate Rudy Turtle in a race that was tight all evening.
According to Elections Canada, With 147 of 148 polls reporting, Melillo received 9313 votes. Nault received 8188 votes, Turtle received 7781 votes, Green Party candidate Kirsi Ralko received 1475 votes, People’s Party of Canada candidate Michael Di Pasquale received 382 votes, and Independent candidate Kelvin Boucher-Chicago received 165 votes.
Voter turnout was 27,304 of 45,692 registered electors (59.76 per cent).
Reflecting back on Election Night Melillo said, “It was all very quick of course… over the last couple of days and in the meetings we’ve been organizing it’s definitely sunk in and I’m just excited to get going.”
He added, “We knew it would be a close race, as it traditionally is in this riding. From the doors we knocked on and the people we talked to across the region throughout the campaign we were very confident in our chances.”
The day following Melillo’s election as MP-elect, NDP candidate and Grassy Narrows First Nation Chief Rudy Turtle paid Melillo a visit. “I went to congratulate him, but we also went over some business, especially the mercury treatment centre and things that we’ve been pursuing as a First Nation,” he said.
“I hope that he speaks for us and I hope that he helps us,” he added.
Turtle thanked everyone who supported him and said he enjoyed meeting people throughout the campaign.
Melillo said meeting with Turtle was quite important, “The community which Chief Turtle is the Chief of, Grassy Narrows, is one that has been front and centre throughout this campaign and over the last few years with their mercury issue and it’s something that that we have to work together to address as quickly as possible. From a sense of duty standpoint, that was very important to me, but also understanding that we just had an election campaign, on a national scale people talk about it being one that’s very divided. At the local level I want to do what we can to ensure that we’re working together, we’re cooperating, moving forward and building relationships that are going to be beneficial for the people of our riding.”
Melillo also conversed with incumbent Liberal candidate Bob Nault. “Mr. Nault and I had a great conversation. I thanked him for his many years of service to our region. I think that giving two decades of your life to public service speaks for itself. He congratulated me and gave me some advice and some information going forward. So I was happy to be able have that conversation and just excited by the opportunity to serve the people across our riding.”
Asked his plans moving forward, Melillo informed, “I’m going to continue having conversations, having meetings with people across the region to help inform me… over the next few weeks I’ll be travelling to Ottawa, where we’ll be assembling our team, setting up offices, and once it’s all official, of course hitting the ground running.”
Commenting on some of the issues that were brought forward to him during the election campaign he shared, “I think affordability was one of the largest issues I heard throughout the campaign from people across the region, that it’s getting harder to get ahead across our region. Health Care as well has been top of mind for many people across the riding. Those are of course two key issues that I think we need to spearhead, we need to work across party lines in this parliament to be able to help address and help bring some result to our region.”
Responding to any concerns people may have about his experience he said, “I look back to my years working in government with Mr. (Greg) Rickford. My time in politics and of course my education background, my Economics Degree at Lakehead (University). But at the end of the day, I truly believe that the people of our riding aren’t going to judge me based on my age (21), but rather will judge me based on the content of my character and the strength of representation that they feel I’ll bring to the riding.”
In 2018, Melillo was Rickford’s campaign manager. He has also worked with the Northern Policy Institute, Northern Ontario's independent think tank.
Melillo thanked his fellow candidates for putting their names forward, and said he felt they all have the best interests of this area at heart.
“I’d like to thank the people of the riding who have put their trust in me to serve as the Member of Parliament. I also understand that there are many people who did not vote for me, or did not vote altogether, and I hope that I will be able to earn your support in the coming years. I just want everybody to know that I’m ready to work for everyone across our riding and I’m ready to deliver results for everyone in region,” he concluded.