British Columbia

B.C. Votes 2017: Prince George-Valemount riding profile

A look at Prince George-Valemount, one of the 87 electoral districts in British Columbia.

Longtime cabinet minister Shirley Bond seeks re-election in the traditional bellwether region of Prince George

The riding includes Hixon, the eastern and southern parts of Prince George, and with the long stretch of highway 5 between the city and Cedarside. (Elections B.C.)

In advance of the 2017 B.C. election, we'll be profiling all 87 electoral districts in the province. Here is Prince George-Valemount, one of eight ridings in Northern B.C., and one of only two where the boundaries have changed.

Summary: A geographically diverse riding, it contains the southwestern half of Prince George, the areas south of the city up to Hixon, and the region to the east of the city, including McBride, Valemount and Dunster. 

In redistribution, the riding lost the Hart Highlands neighbourhood north of the Nechako River but added the southern half of West Bowl and the suburban neighbourhoods of Charella Gardens and Starlane.

Politics: Prince George has long been thought of as a bellwether region by virtue of the fact that the party in government has held at least one riding in the city since 1949. 

But the B.C. Liberals have increased their support in Prince George in recent elections and in 2013 the party's 57 per cent vote share was ninth highest in B.C.

Candidates: Shirley Bond seeks a fifth term in Prince George-Valemount. A former Prince George school trustee, Bond has been in cabinet during the B.C. Liberals' entire 16 years in power, and has been minister of jobs, tourism and skills training since 2013. 

The NDP candidate is Natalie Fletcher, a processing technician at University Hospital and union representative with the  Hospital Employee Union.

The Green Party candidate is Nan Kendy, a retired sessional instructor at the University of Northern B.C. 

Where does the NDP do best? The historic part of Prince George, north of Ferry Avenue and east of South Ospika Boulevard, is its most reliable area election after election, though the Liberals still drew even here in 2013. 

What about the B.C. Liberals? The Liberals sweep up in College Heights in the far south of Prince George, winning around 65 per cent of the vote the last two elections. It also does fairly well in the parts of the riding outside the city.