Liberals win new seat in northern B.C. in tight Skeena riding

The Liberals have once again taken the lead in northern B.C., having been re-elected in six of the region's eight ridings — and winning a new seat in the region's closest race.

New Liberal candidate Ellis Ross beat NDP candidate Bruce Bidgood

Of the 10 ridings in northern B.C., Skeena is expected to be the closest race. (Julie Landry/CBC)

The Liberals have once again taken the lead in northern B.C., having been re-elected in six of the region's eight ridings — and winning a new seat in the region's closest race.

In Skeena, new Liberal candidate Ellis Ross managed to break the NDP's hold on the riding. The NDP had won it in the past eight out of 11 elections — but not always by much.

"It's pretty surreal. It's hard to digest this," said Ross.

"Its the first time I've ever done something like this, but it's really encouraging to know that B.C. still wants the economy, it still wants jobs."

Ross, an elected chief councillor of the Haisla First Nation, has a provincewide profile because of his opposition to the failed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline — but more importantly for Liberal Leader Christy Clark, he supports the LNG industry.

He was facing Bruce Bidgood, a hearing-impaired social work professor at the University of Northern B.C.'s Terrace campus, who replaced incumbent NDP MLA Robin Austin.

The latter only won by 522 votes in 2013 and retired after 12 years of representing the riding.

Northern B.C. ridings:

  • Nechako Lakes: John Rustad (Liberal)
  • North Coast: Jennifer Rice (NDP)
  • Peace River North: Dan Davies (Liberal)
  • Peace River South: Mike Bernier (Liberal)
  • Prince George-MacKenzie: Mike Morris (Liberal)
  • Prince George-Valemount: Shirley Bond (Liberal)
  • Skeena: Ellis Ross (Liberal)
  • Stikine: Doug Donaldson (NDP)

With files from Justin McElroy