UPDATED WITH VIDEO: NDP hold on to Courtenay-Comox riding after absentee ballots counted


The absentee ballots have been counted and NDP Ronna-Rae Leonard has held on to the riding of Courtenay-Comox, leaving the BC Liberals to form a minority government.

5 John Horgan

5 John Horgan

Duration 58s


Rona-Rae Leonard and Jim Benninger

Rona-Rae Leonard and Jim Benninger

Duration 57s


Andrew Weaver

Andrew Weaver

Duration 33s


Michael Prince

Michael Prince

Duration 2m


At around 4:30 p.m., Elections BC said the vote count in the riding had been completed, with Leonard winning the riding by 189 votes over B.C. Liberal Jim Benninger. Leonard had 10,886 votes, compared to Benninger’s 10,697. 

With the final count of the election results, the BC Liberal Party has 43 seats, the BC NDP have 41 seats and the Green Party has three seats. 

Premier Christy Clark issued a statement just before the results came in, saying the party had ended up with 43 seats and plurality in the legislature. 

“We have a responsibility to move forward and form a government,” Clark said in the statement. 

BC NDP Leader John Horgan also released a statement, saying British Columbians have voted overwhelmingly to replace the Liberals. 

“The newly elected BC NDP team will be working hard every day to ensure British Columbians get a new government that works for them instead of just the wealthy and well-connected,” Horgan said in the statement. 


Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver also released a statement, saying the party’s caucus is committed to ensuring the B.C. Green caucus is committed to making sure the province has a stable minority government. 

“With this historic result, British Columbia can finally put the ineffective two-party system behind us,” Weaver said in the statement. 

“It has led to a divisive legislature that primarily benefits special interests. This is an incredible opportunity for B.C.?s political leaders to put partisan differences aside and work for the common good.”

The riding has swung between the two candidates. The original vote count had Leonard declared the winner with just a nine-vote margin. Her lead got to 13 votes at one point, before Benninger held a three-ballot lead Tuesday morning. By Tuesday evening, Leonard was once again ahead by 101 votes.

The final results in all of the ridings are not close enough to trigger an automatic judicial recount. Candidates and parties can request one within six days. 

READ MORE: NDP back in the lead in Courtenay-Comox riding, counting continues

The popular vote gap between the Liberals and the NDP also closed. The B.C. Liberals have 40.36 per cent of the votes, compared to 40.28 per cent for the NDP.  

The difference is 1,566 votes of the 1.97 million ballots counted. 

On May 10, the B.C. Liberals had a 0.98 per cent lead in the popular vote. 

The B.C. Greens now have 16.84 per cent of the popular vote. 

If the Liberals had won the riding, it would have turned their current 43-seat minority government into a 44-seat majority. 

Since the NDP have won the riding, there could be either a Liberal or NDP minority government in the 87-seat legislature, with the support of the three elected Green members. Clark will have the first chance to form the government. 

Ronna-Rae Leonard and Jim Benninger.

Follow CHEK News throughout the evening for more updates.

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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