B.C. NDP make gains on Vancouver Island

B.C. NDP make gains on Vancouver Island
WatchFor the first time in history, B.C. has a two-time NDP Premier. Part of that win? An orange wave taking over new ridings on Vancouver Island. Rebecca Lawrence has more.

For the first time ever, British Columbia has a two-time NDP premier as John Horgan and his party win a majority government in the provincial election.

Even though thousands of mail-in ballots still need to be counted, a majority has been confirmed for the New Democratic Party.

The NDP is on track to earn 55 seats in the Legislative Assembly, the B.C. Liberals projected to take 29 and three seats for the Green Party.

On Vancouver Island, 12 of the Island’s total of 14 seats are orange, with the party making inroads.

One of those ridings was the highly contested Oak Bay-Gordon Head.

“It’s really an honour to be the first NDP elected since Elizabeth Cull in 1991,” said Murray Rankin, who is expected to take the riding with 48 per cent of the vote.

Rankin was able to snag the spot from the Greens beating out Nicole Duncan. The riding was previously held by Andrew Weaver, who didn’t run this year, instead, effective campaigning against his old party in favour of John Horgan.

“I’m thrilled that the population recognized what John Horgan and his team are doing,” said Rankin. “I’ve always been opposing politician, so that in itself is going to be different, to be part of a Caucasus that’s giving direction to the leadership.”

The Canadian Press has declared the NDP’s Adam Walker as the Parksville-Qualicum winner, beating out longtime Liberal MLA Michelle Stilwell, but with thousands of mail-in ballots still to be counted, that could change.

The NDP kept their seat on the North Island with new Candidate Michele Babchuk, who replaced previous NDP MLA Claire Trevena, who also served as the minister of transportation, who announced in September she would not run again.

In 2017, Courtenay-Comox was won by a razor-thin margin of only 9 votes.  This year incumbent Ronna-Rae Leonard nailed down 47.6 per cent of the vote.

Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne, who ran for the NDP, easily won the riding for Mid-Island-Pacific Rim, becoming the first candidate to be declared on election night.

“It is a real honour to receive such a strong mandate from the people of Mid-Island and Pacific Rim, but it comes back to the people,” said Osborne. “People spoke loudly and clearly tonight, in this riding and across bc about what they’re looking for in a government, I’m so excited to work for the B.C. NDP team.”

With this recent win, Osborne says she is stepping down from the role of mayor of Tofino.

“It is definitely a bittersweet feeling, to think about transitioning from being the mayor in Tofino, I’m so proud of my community,” she said. “I so loved being the mayor, but the opportunity to serve Tofino and the region and the entire riding in a new way is really exciting.”

NDP incumbents Sheila Malcomson, John Horgan, Mitzi Dean, Rob Flemming, and Lana Popham were all reelected in their ridings.

New NDP candidate Grace Lore appears to have won the Victoria-Beacon Hill riding, replacing longtime serving MLA and previous finance minister Carole James, who announced she will not be running again after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Lore currently has a 2,000 vote lead over Green candidate Jenn Neilson.

The Green Party did manage to hold onto two of their seats on the Island. Party leader Sonia Furstenau was reelected in the Cowichan Valley riding, and Adam Olsen was reelected in Saanich North.

But hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots still to count, Elections BC likely won’t be announcing the final results until sometime next month.

MORE: John Horgan’s pandemic election gamble pays off for B.C. NDP

Rebecca LawrenceRebecca Lawrence

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