British Columbia

Liberal tide floods Metro Vancouver, while NDP holds rural vote

The Liberal tide that washed over Canada on Monday did not stop until it reached the West Coast, but the NDP, Conservatives and the Greens managed to hang on to some of their traditional strongholds in B.C.

The Liberals picked up urban seats from the NDP and Conservatives, jumping from 2 seats to 17

Liberal Leader and incoming prime minister Justin Trudeau speaks to supporters at Liberal party headquarters in Montreal early Tuesday. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

The Liberal tide that washed over Canada on Monday was bolstered by the urban voters of the West Coast, but the NDP, Conservatives and the Greens managed to hang on tightly in some of their traditional rural strongholds in B.C.

Voters were anxious for change and when the final votes were counted the Liberals, led by former B.C. schoolteacher Justin Trudeau, jumped from two seats to 17 seats in B.C. It was the Liberals' best result in B.C. since 1968, when Pierre Trudeau swept to power, taking 16 of 23 seats in the province at the time.

All but one of those wins were in the Lower Mainland region. The other victory was a surprise win for the Liberals in the Okanagan, where they knocked the Conservatives out of their stronghold in Kelowna-Lake Country.

The results showed a clear urban-rural divide split voters in B.C., according to University of the Fraser Valley political science Associate Professor Hamish Telford.

Telford said the Liberals are the party of urban Canada and they were able to capitalize on that, but noted the rest of B.C. will likely feel unrepresented in Justin Trudeau's Liberal government and that's going to cause a certain amount of anxiety.

Rural strongholds

The NDP took 14 seats, including all but one of the ridings on their traditional stronghold on Vancouver Island, along with wins in Metro Vancouver, the North and Central coasts and the southern Interior, up from 12 seats won in 2011. While they picked up rural seats from the Conservatives, they lost several urban seats to the Liberals

The Conservatives won just 10 seats, split between their strongholds in the Interior, Surrey and the Fraser Valley — a big drop from their 20 seats 2011.

The Conservative losses were split between urban seats that went Liberal and rural seats that went NDP.

Green leader Elizabeth May held on to the party's only seat in Saanich-Gulf Islands.

Of the 42 ridings in B.C., six were newly created for the expanded 338-seat Parliament, and many other were radically redrawn with new electoral boundaries for the 2015 election.

Elections Canada estimates voter turnout in yesterday's federal election reached nearly 70 per cent across the country — the highest it has been since 1993 when Jean Chretien led the Liberals to victory.

Despite the strong turnout, many voters in B.C. expressed disappointment when the major television networks — including the CBC —  called a Liberal win about 20 minutes before the polls closed in B.C.

Nevertheless, the B.C. results did matter, pushing the Liberals over the 170-seat mark required to form a majority government — the first time since Jean Chrétien won in 2000.

Former Liberal health minister Ujjal Dosanjh credited the party's victory to Trudeau's hard work and ability to connect with Canadians.

With files from The Canadian Press


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