British Columbia

B.C. premier wins close byelection

B.C. Premier Christy Clark squeaked out a narrow byelection victory Wednesday night that will see her return to the provincial legislature.
Supporters cheer as B.C. Premier Christy Clark, centre left, and her son, Hamish, celebrate her byelection win in the riding of Vancouver-Point Grey on Wednesday. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

B.C. Premier Christy Clark squeaked out a narrow byelection victory Wednesday night that will see her return to the provincial legislature.

Clark barely defeated B.C. NDP challenger David Eby in the tightly fought contest in the riding of Vancouver-Point Grey.

As the votes were being counted, Eby was actually ahead of Clark for much of the night.

But when all 167 ballot boxes were tallied, Clark had pulled ahead with 7,371 votes for 48.92 per cent of the votes cast. Eby's garnered 6,776 votes for 44.97 per cent of the vote.

Clark's victory marked the first time in 30 years that any sitting government in the province had won a byelection, and she said it shows people are endorsing the direction she is taking the province as premier.

"We are going to build on the change we have begun to bring," Clark said.

"We are going to build on things like raising the minimum wage, like eliminating parking fees in parks, we are going to continue to work and make sure that the total burden of costs put on families gets lower."

Clark is no stranger to the legislature in Victoria. She was an MLA and a prominent cabinet minister for a Vancouver-area riding from 1996 to 2004, when she resigned to spend more time with her family.

Narrow margin sends message: Eby

Eby said the narrow margin of Clark's victory sends a message to the B.C. Liberals.

"I am no politicial scientist, but I got to think the Liberals are in trouble if a first-time provincial run by David Eby almost takes out their premier," Eby said.

B.C. NDP hopeful David Eby, as expected, was Clark's closest competitor in the byelection. ((CBC))

"I am incredibly excited that we almost beat the premier, and I think it tells Liberals they are in real trouble in the general election."

Eby left his position as executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association to contest the byelection.

Four other candidates also contested the election in the riding. The Green Party candidate Françoise Raunet was third with 511 votes for about three per cent of the vote.

Also running were Danielle Alie of B.C. First and Independents William Gibbens and Eddie Petrossian.

The byelection was called on April 13 after former premier Gordon Campbell resigned as the MLA in March, after Clark took over the Liberal Party leadership.