British Columbia·Analysis

Canada election 2015: 5 B.C. ridings to watch

Expect these ridings to play a crucial role in the upcoming federal election.

Recent electoral boundary changes have shaken up federal politics in B.C.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced the beginning of the official campaign period for the 2015 federal election. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Welcome to 11 weeks of attack ads, door-knocking and campaign analysis: Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has officially kicked off Canada's 42nd federal election campaign.

Across the country, 87 per cent of the ridings have had boundary changes. In B.C., these have resulted in six more seats, a jump to 42 from 36. 

The following electoral districts will play crucial roles in the upcoming campaign.

Delta

Goodbye North and South Delta, hello Delta.

Elections prediction website ThreeHundredEight.com suggests this is the tightest three-way race in B.C.

The federal riding Delta. (Elections Canada)

Running for the Conservatives is Kerry-Lynne Findlay, who is currently the minister of national revenue. The de-facto senior minister for the province has taken the reins since Industry Minister James Moore announced his departure from politics in June.

The Liberals and NDP are both fielding rookie politicians.

Jeremy Leveque is the NDP candidate. Little is known about him, but if the prediction holds up from ThreeHundredEight.com, he will be the next MP by a narrow margin.

The Liberal candidate is Delta resident Carla Qualtrough. She knows how to compete: the visually-impaired lawyer won three medals combined at the 1988 and 1992 Paralympic Games.

South Surrey-White Rock

There are very few true star candidates in politics anymore, but when Conservative Leader Stephen Harper recruited a hugely popular mayor of the second-largest city in the province, he checked the star box.

The South Surrey-Whiterock federal riding. (Elections Canada)

And Dianne Watts has embraced the role, hitting the political circuit since her departure as Surrey mayor, including a comfy seat next to Harper at the FIFA Women's World Cup Final in Vancouver.

The Conservatives are hoping the 55-year-old can carry her municipal electoral success to the federal level. If the Conservatives get back into power, expect Watts to get an express pass to the cabinet table.

South Surrey-White Rock has long been considered a safe Conservative riding. Watts replaces Russ Hiebert, who has been the Conservative MP in place there since 2004.

But analysis from ThreeHundredEight.com suggests this riding may not be as safe as it has been, pegging Watts as the 53 per cent favourite with the Liberals closing in.

The Liberal candidate is Joy Davies, a White Rock resident who once served two terms as councillor for Tumbler Ridge and is a founding member of the Canadian Medical Cannabis Partners Society.

The NDP candidate is Crescent Beach resident Pixie Hobby.

North Okanagan-Shuswap

​When looking at a results map from the 2013 federal election, B.C.'s interior is painted blue.

The North Okanagan - Shuswap federal riding. (Elections Canada)

Breaking through in the Interior for the NDP at the provincial or federal level has been a huge challenge; this has a chance to be that breakthrough.

The NDP's Jacqui Gingras is trying to wrestle the riding from the federal Conservatives. ThreeHundredEight.com's prediction gives Gingras a 56 per cent chance of winning the riding for the NDP. She won the nomination for the party a year ago when she moved back to the riding after teaching at Ryerson University.

Former Conservative MP Colin Mayes carried the party's banner for three elections and won last time by more than 16,000 votes. Hoping to hold on to that seat for the Conservatives is Mel Arnold. The Salmon Arm resident is the former president of the B.C. Wildlife Federation.

Cindy Derkaz is the Liberal candidate in the riding.

Vancouver-Granville

​This is one of the brand-new ridings in B.C. and is made of up of parts of four different ridings, which are currently held by two Liberals, one NDP and one Conservative MP.

The Vancouver Granville federal riding. (Elections Canada)

If the Liberals or the NDP are going to have a breakout in the province, they need to win this riding, which sits in the heart of Vancouver, spanning a mix of neighbourhoods from Shaughnessy to south Cambie to Marpole.

What makes it a hard riding to judge is there is no track record of the area as a whole.

Liberal Jody Wilson-Raybould has been working the riding for more than a year. The former regional chief with the B.C. Assembly of First Nations is seen as a star candidate for the Grits.

Mira Oreck was just recently nominated as the NDP candidate. She's a Broadbent Institute director who also worked on Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson's campaigns.

Conservative Erinn Broshko is the CEO of a biotechnology company. He was previously a Vancouver-based lawyer and grew up in Saskatchewan.

Burnaby North-Seymour

Another of B.C.'s new ridings, Burnaby North-Seymour is made up of parts of ridings represented by a Conservative and an NDP MP.

The Burnaby North - Seymour federal riding. (Elections Canada)

Expect this riding to come down to who can control more of their traditional power bases. For the Conservatives, the focus will be on North Vancouver and for the NDP they will try and keep control of its Burnaby stronghold.

The NDP have recruited Carol Baird Ellan to run in the riding. The former chief judge of the B.C. Provincial Court was the first female judge of the court. Baird Ellan is a strong opponent of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline expansion, which is a major issue for this riding.

Conservative candidate Mike Little is no political slouch. The three-term North Vancouver councillor is hoping to make the full-time jump into federal politics.

Liberal Terry Beech is a newcomer to the riding, having previously served as a Nanaimo city councillor.

The X-factor in the riding is Lynne Quarmby, one of the Green Party's high-profile recruits from B.C. The Simon Fraser University professor was one of the main activists involved in the Burnaby Mountain protests against Kinder Morgan pipeline twinning.

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