The signs in the Parksville-Qualicum riding are coming down today but the final outcome is still very much in the air.
“We’re feeling very optimistic though and hopefully the mail-in ballots will solidify Adam’s win,” said Jacqueline Russell, an NDP volunteer while she took down signs today.
Last night instead of a party to celebrate B.C. Liberal candidate Michelle Stilwell’s third win in the Parksville-Qualicum riding there was a much more subdued tone.
“I think we’ll see as the results come in we’ll see some shifts. It’s still early in the night,” said Stilwell when she entered the room.
By night’s end, NDP candidate Adam Walker was leading by 942 votes.
The Canadian Press and other media outlets declared Walker the winner but more than 14,000 vote-by-mail packages were issued in the riding, which has yet to be counted.
“It’s going to be a long-drawn-out process and we’ll just wait for those ballots to be counted,” said Stilwell.
As of Sunday evening, Walker remained ahead of Stilwell by a little more than 940 votes, according to Elections BC’s website.
In a statement, the NDP candidate said every vote needs to be counted properly.
“While the results are looking very positive for me so far, democracy will take just a little longer here in this riding. I feel very strongly that every vote matters, and that every vote must be counted properly,” said Walker.
One change on the ballot this election was the addition of a B.C. Conservative Party candidate.
Don Purdey garnered nearly 1,000 votes and says he believes the Liberals would have won the seat if he hadn’t run.
“That makes me really happy to think about that because most of the candidates, the NDP have been really good to work with and some of the other ones but the Liberals, in particular, have been particularly nasty. They really resent us putting them out of the running in the last election up in Courtenay-Comox,” said Purdey.
A political scientist at Vancouver Island University agrees, saying the Conservative candidates put Liberal candidates in a tougher position.
“Those votes are not Green or NDP votes. It’s splitting the traditional Liberal political base of support or potential support, so I think the Liberals coming into this campaign had a tougher game to deal with,” said Alex Netherton.
The mail-in ballots in the riding won’t be counted until Nov. 6.