NDP wins big on Vancouver Island, bucks Liberal trend

Lack of historical Liberal support on Vancouver Island sends voters looking for change in Ottawa to the NDP.

Forget red surge, it was an orange wave as Vancouver Island elects NDP candidates in 6 of 7 ridings

NDP incumbent Murray Rankin retained his seat in Victoria. His party captured 6 of 7 Vancouver Island seats, a reversal of the national trend that saw voters turn to the Liberals in huge numbers. ( Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

The Liberal red surge gave way to an orange wave on Vancouver Island where NDP candidates were elected in all but one of the seven Island ridings, providing perhaps the only bright spot for Thomas Mulcair's team that was otherwise devastated, retaining just 44 of the 103 seats it won in 2011.

The biggest upset came in the riding of Courtenay-Alberni where Gordon Johns unseated longtime Conservative and former Reform incumbent John Duncan, winning 38 per cent of the votes to Duncan's 28 per cent. Johns is a former Tofino councilor.

The closest a Liberal candidate came to winning was in Esquimault-Saanich-Sooke where David Merner finished second, more than 5,000 votes behind NDP incumbent Randall Garrison.

NDP incumbent Murray Rankin held on to his seat in Victoria with a comfortable win over second place Green Party candidate Jo-Ann Roberts. Rankin said a historic lack of Liberal support on Vancouver Island sent voters looking for change to the NDP.

"Everybody agreed on one fundamental point. We've got to get rid of Stephen Harper," said Rankin. "People in other parts of Canada chose a different vehicle than here to do that."

NDP campaign volunteer Melissa Moroz said the NDP's strong stand on environmental issues resonated with people on Vancouver Island. 

"I think we have a unique perspective because of the beautiful place that we live, and our proximity to the ocean." said Moroz. 

Other victorious NDP candidates were newcomers Alistair MacGregor in Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, Sheila Malcolmson in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, and Rachel Blaney in North Island-Powell River.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May was the only non-NDP winner on Vancouver Island, winning her Saanich-Gulf Islands riding in a landslide to retain the one and only Green Party seat in Ottawa.

With files from Megan Thomas


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