Jill Dunlop will represent Simcoe North at Queen’s Park for a second term, following a blowout win that saw her gain a near majority of the votes in the riding in today's Ontario election.
With 72 of 74 polls reporting as of 11:30 p.m., Dunlop had amassed 20,913 votes — about 13,000 more than the runner-up, the NDP’s Elizabeth Van Houtte, who was closely trailed by Liberal candidate Aaron Cayden Hiltz. Dunlop received nearly three times as many votes as any of her competitors.
Following her victory as part of Premier Doug Ford’s second successive majority government, Dunlop addressed dozens of supporters at Bonaire Golf in her hometown of Coldwater.
“I’ve had the honour and the privilege for serving Simcoe North within the past four years, as your MPP, but also as a minister, and travelling this province and seeing the other areas always makes me appreciate what we do,” Dunlop said.
“(I’m) honoured to represent and to continue representing for four more years,” she said to cheers.
“I need to start off by thanking so many people and starting off with my parents, the people who taught me the true value of hard work,” she said. “To my three beautiful daughters, Rachel, Carly and Madison, this is truly a team effort for our family being involved in politics.”
Dunlop pointed to good jobs and building infrastructure as big-ticket items she is looking forward to working on across the province.
“We were brought here four years ago to do the things that we’ve done, to continue the work ahead to rebuild this economy after COVID, to continue to work with building infrastructure and to create better jobs for people in this province,” she said.
“The skilled trades, the apprenticeships, the work we’re doing in this area, so truly honoured to represent this party, and having grown up in a skilled trades family I know the value of the work that’s being done and that we need these workers across the province to continue the infrastructure and the building.”
Dunlop said she and her team knocked on more than 18,000 doors over the course of the campaign, and heard from many about the need for good jobs in Simcoe North.
“I heard at a lot of doors about the local labour shortage, so ensuring that we have good paying jobs for young people here” is vital, she said. "There’s jobs here; we need to get people into those jobs, so it’ll be proper and accessible training opportunities for young people. I (also) want to continue the work that we’ve been doing in health care and long-term care and infrastructure in the area.”
Garfield Dunlop, who served as the Progressive Conservative MPP in Simcoe North for 16 years, said he’s “so proud” of his daughter for the work she has done as one of Ford’s cabinet ministers.
“From what I hear around the province, Jill’s a rock star in cabinet,” he said. “I’m getting calls from people, and when I was a critic for colleges and universities, I toured the province. Those same guys are calling me today and saying, ‘We’ve met your daughter, we love her … she’s following in your steps,’ and some of them even say she’s a lot better than (me).”
Jill Dunlop said she looks forward to serving, once again, as Ford sees fit.
“I am happy to serve as the premier sees fit for me,” said the 47-year-old. “I have enjoyed my past two cabinet positions, and I’m excited for what the future lies for me ... I would be honoured to continue serving cabinet.”