Three-way battles give NDP big gains in B.C.
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 | 1:25 AM ET
Almost all of the gains come at the expense of the Conservatives, who ended with 17 seats in B.C., five fewer than 2004.
Although British Columbians continued to support Stephen Harper and his Conservatives, especially outside the Lower Mainland and Victoria, the New Democrats made substantial gains with just a slight increase in the popular vote.
In one of the anomalies of Canadian elections, the Conservatives actually increased their percentage of the popular vote in B.C., but that didn't translate into more seats.
Svend Robinson applauds his supporters after conceding defeat in Vancouver, Monday Jan. 23, 2006. (CP photo)
In most cases, tight three-way battles worked in the NDP's favour.
The NDP knocked off four Conservatives in total and snagged a vacant seat.
The ridings of British Columbia Southern Interior and Vancouver Island North changed from Conservative to NDP.
The NDP also picked up New Westminster-Coquitlam from the Conservatives, with former MP Dawn Black getting elected again after being defeated in 1993.
The New Democrats also took a Liberal seat, Victoria, which had been held by former environment minister David Anderson, who didn't run again.
The riding of Surrey North also ended up in the NDP column. It was left vacant following the death of Independent MP Chuck Cadman.
With a final total of nine seats, even the Liberals made gains at the Conservatives' expense. Although they lost one seat to the NDP, they picked up two Conservative ridings, ending the night with a net gain of one.
But one high profile New Democrat won't be going – or going back – to Ottawa.
Svend Robinson represented the riding of Burnaby-New Westminster for decades, but in this election was trying to make a comeback and knock off popular cabinet minister Hedy Fry in her riding of Vancouver Centre.
The vote wasn't close, with Fry taking an early and substantial lead.
In conceding defeat, Robinson said he and his supporters wouldn't be making history this time. "That's going to have to wait until the next election."