Nail-biter election race in Saanich North and the Islands


WATCH: Closest three-way election race in modern B.C. history was in Saanich North and the Islands in 2013 and it could be even closer this time with the same candidates running again. Tess van Straaten reports.

Sleepy Sidney may not look like a battleground but Saanich North and the Islands is where one of the toughest races in B.C. is being fought.

“Absolutely I’m nervous and I’m running that way as well,” says incumbent NDP candidate Gary Holman. “I’m not taking anything for granted.”

“It was really close last time,” says Liberal contender Stephen Roberts. “I don’t know if anyone has an edge.”

“I’m working to make sure that it is not as close as last time,” Green Party candidate Adam Olsen says with a laugh.

In 2013, the riding made history as the closest three-way race British Columbia has seen in modern times.

Only 379 votes separated first place and third, with the NDP eking out the win ahead of the Liberals and Green Party and the same three candidates are running again.

“Conventional wisdom suggests the incumbent has some advantage but I’m not making that assumption at all,” Holman told CHEK News. “I’m running scared quite frankly.”

That’s because both Stephen Roberts and Adam Olsen have spent the last four years working on issues in the riding and they’ve both been actively campaigning since last summer.

“I feel very confident,” says Olsen, who was interim Green Party leader for two years. “We’ve invested a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of love into our campaign and into this riding and we’re seeing the results.”

“I think people’s votes will change  and we’re seen that happening on the doorsteps,” Roberts told CHEK. “People say, oh I know who you are. I’ve seen what you’re doing in the community and I really appreciate that.”

The riding, a mix of rural and urban areas, includes Central Saanich, North Saanich, Sidney and several Gulf Islands.

One of the biggest issues for voters on the Gulf Islands is high ferry fares.

Both the Liberals and NDP are offering some relief on fares, while the Greens want to return it to being a crown corporation.

Other issues include affordable housing and development concerns in rural areas.


Before the NDP took the riding in 2013, it was a Liberal stronghold for 22 years.

But it’s also considered the Green Party’s best chance for a breakthrough.

With such a tight race, all three candidates agree every single vote will count.

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Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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