British Columbia

B.C. Votes 2017: Port Coquitlam riding profile

A look at Port Coquitlam, one of the 87 electoral districts in British Columbia.

Mike Farnworth hopes his seventh provincial election campaign ends like his first: with a new NDP government

Boundaries for the riding of Port Coquitlam (Elections BC)

In advance of the 2017 B.C. election, we'll be profiling all 87 electoral districts in the province. Here is Port Coquitlam, one four ridings in the Tri-Cities — and the one the NDP traditionally has the strongest support in.

1. Mike Farnworth begins every single election campaign the exact same way.

"I start my door knocking on the same house when I first ran for city council in 1983, and I door knock that house every single time," said the longtime NDP MLA, who will seek a sixth term in 2017. 

"It's kind of like in hockey, you have pre-game rituals. With me, I knock on this door. It gets me into the campaign mode."  

2. Farnworth, one of two NDP MLAs first elected in 1991, is seeking re-election. 

After losing the NDP's 2011 leadership race to Adrian Dix by 677 votes, seeing his party suffer a surprise defeat in the 2013 election, and an aborted leadership run in 2014, you could excuse Farnworth if he wanted to leave the legislature.

But perhaps unsurprisingly for a man who has spent nearly his entire adult life in politics, he believes there's more work he can do for Port Coquitlam — particularly around the long-term future of the Riverview redevelopment

3. The NDP are heavy favourites in Port Coquitlam.

The riding, which has the same boundaries as the municipality itself, has chosen Farnworth in five of the last six elections — the only exception being the 2001 bloodbath that saw the NDP reduced to just two seats in the province.

"We were one of the few ridings with a functional campaign. I lost, but I thought it was a respectful loss," Farnworth said.

"But it was not a fun campaign on the doorstep. It's the only campaign I've had people slam the door at my face or swear at me." 

4. The NDP has plenty of history here. 

Prior to Farnworth's time as MLA, Port Coquitlam didn't have a dedicated electoral district provincially. But the city has historically supported the NDP.

Former premier Dave Barrett was the MLA for Coquitlam from 1966 to 1975, and the NDP has only lost a riding containing the city twice in the last 50 years.

"There's been a lot of change, but I think this is still in many ways a blue collar, middle class suburban community," Farnworth said.

"By Lower Mainland standards, it's still one of the most affordable places. You can still get a single family home for under a million dollars."  

5. The B.C. Liberals and Green Party chose their candidates late in the nomination season. 

The B.C. Liberals are running Susan Chambers, a small business owner from Maple Ridge. The Green candidate is Jason Hanley, a software developer who graduated from Wilfrid Laurier with a MBA.

6. Where does the NDP do the best?

While it tends to do well throughout the riding, the NDP does especially well in the Glenwood neighbourhood, receiving over 70 per cent in some polling stations.

7. What about the B.C. Liberals?

There are two specific areas where they've gained more votes than Farnworth in the last two elections — the southern portion of the suburban Mary Hill neighbourhood, and Riverwood, next to the Carnoustie Golf Club.  

8. Still, Farnworth knows no campaign win is guaranteed.

"Sometimes people ask 'Why are you out knocking on doors? You're going to win,'" said Farnworth. 

"I say thanks for the confidence, but I don't view it that way. I work as hard in every election as I did in the first election, and that's the only way I know how to win." 

It may be his seventh campaign, but the veteran politician says he still has unfinished business.

"I take out my [1983] campaign leaflet from time to time. There's a list of things on there that I felt needed to happen and I wanted to see done. It's amazing how many things I can put a checkmark beside, but there's a couple of things that haven't got that checkmark yet." 

Who's running in the 2017 British Columbia election?

With files from Richard Zussman

now