BC NDP win two byelections, Ravi Parmar elected in Langford-Juan de Fuca

BC NDP win two byelections, Ravi Parmar elected in Langford-Juan de Fuca
CHEK
BC NDP's Ravi Parmar celebrates his byelection victory Saturday in Langford

From the hallways of the old Belmont High to the hallways of the B.C. Legislature, Ravi Parmar’s political journey came full circle in Saturday night’s byelection as the BC NDP candidate known for his community advocacy was elected to replace John Horgan in the riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca.

Parmar won 53.35 per cent of the popular vote with 7,224 votes.

While BC Green Party candidate Camille Currie jumped out to an early second place, it didn’t last. Mike Harris of the Conservative Party finished behind Parmar with 2,689 votes (19.86%) followed by Currie with 2,386 votes (17.62%), BC United’s Elena Lawson with 1,169 votes (8.63%) and the Communist Party of BC’s Tyson Riel Strandlund with 74 votes (0.55%).

The riding has been vacant since late March following the departure from the legislature of former premier John Horgan. Horgan had held the Langford riding since 2005.

Parmar celebrated the victory at his campaign office alongside Horgan and several supporters.

At the age of 22, Parmar was elected as the youngest chair on record in not just Vancouver Island, but all of the province.

The long-serving Sooke School District Board Chair has overseen what he describes as the largest expansion of public education in the district’s history. He also played a key role in the development of a new post-secondary university in Langford.

Parmar has said he hopes to build on Horgan’s record, aiming to improve transportation infrastructure, protect the environment, and promote local small businesses.

Advanced voting for the riding took place from June 16 to 21, when 6,805 people cast a ballot.

A vote was also held in the riding of Vancouver-Mount Pleasant to replace former cabinet minister Melanie Mark who left the legislature earlier this year.

With 5,404 votes and 67.86 per cent of the popular vote, BC NDP’s Joan Phillip was elected to replace Mark. Phillip topped the polls followed by BC United’s Jackie Lee with 1,097 votes (13.77%), BC Green Party’s Wendy Hayko with 909 votes (11.41%), Conservative Party’s Karin Litzcke with 389 votes (4.88%), and Kimball Cariou with the Communist Party of BC coming in fifth with 165 votes (2.07%).

The swearing in of the new MLA Elect is expected sometime at the end of July.

Opposition reactions

When CHEK News reached out the day after the byelection, all three front-runner candidates congratulated Ravi Parmar on his win and then gave their thoughts on the results.

Mike Harris from the Conservative Party of BC: “I am extremely happy with the results from the byelection, and the BC Conservatives will continue with a good base as we head towards the next election.”

Sonia Furstenau from the BC Green Party: “With a 25 per cent voter turnout, I think byelections are always hard to read a lot into, but I would say that all of us. All political parties have work to do to encourage more people to vote and participate.”

Elena Lawson from the BC United Party: “We always knew that this was an NDP stronghold. Was I a little shocked at the outcome? Absolutely. I am very proud of the campaign I ran.”

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