Conservatives make gains in B.C.

The Conservative Party made gains in British Columbia in Tuesday's national election, with the party's support growing at the expense of the Liberals.

Voters redrew the political map of British Columbia in Tuesday's federal election as Conservative party support grew at the expense of the Liberals.

The Conservatives won 22 ridings, a pickup of four seats from prior to the election.

 The NDP lost one seat to finish with nine in the province. The Liberals lost two seats, leaving them with five, while the Green party lost their only MP.

Several Conservative cabinet ministers from British Columbia are on their way back to the House of Commons, including Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Chuck Strahl in Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day in Okanagan-Coquihalla, and Secretary of State for the 2010 Olympics James Moore in Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam.

Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn was declared re-elected in Saanich-Gulf Islands, as he beat back a "shun Lunn" movement that encouraged left-of-centre voters to defeat him.

Conservatives win 44.8% of popular vote

"The record of our government … was a huge boost to me," Lunn told CBC News.

The Conservatives won 44. per cent of the popular vote in the province, while NDP support stood at 26.05 per cent and the Liberals wound up with 19.33 per cent. The Greens polled 9.41 per cent in the province.

In 2006, the Conservatives earned 37.3 per cent of the popular vote. The Liberals picked up 28.5 per cent and the NDP snared 27.6 per cent.

Liberal losses

In Richmond, Liberal incumbent Raymond Chan lost to Conservative Alice Wong. The Conservative had garnered 49.77 per cent of the vote to Chan's 30.85 per cent.

The Liberals also lost North Vancouver, as incumbent Don Bell fell to Conservative Andrew Sexton.

Hedy Fry, the Liberal incumbent in Vancouver Centre, emerged victorious from a four-way race to take the riding for a sixth consecutive time.

"It was one of the toughest fights I've been in," Fry told CBC News.

Tight races

One of the tightest contests of the night was in Vancouver South, where Liberal incumbent and former premier Ujjal Dosanjh, who had trailed much of the night, eventually claimed victory over Conservative Wai Young. Dosanjh's margin of victory was less than two percentage points.

After he carried the riding, Dosanjh said the race had been "unexpectedly close."

"I think the carbon tax was a major issue," he said. "Mr. Harper was able to demonize Mr. Dion and the Green Shift, and we did have an adequate response for it."

In Burnaby-Douglas, NDP candidate Bill Siksay won a third term as he defeated Conservative Ronald Leung by less than two percentage points

In Newton-North Delta, Liberal Sukh Dhaliwal and Conservative Sandeep Pandher wrestled for the lead for much of the evening. Dhaliwal eventually emerged with a margin of more than five percentage points.

In the Vancouver Island riding of Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, Liberal Keith Martin and Conservative Troy DeSouza traded the lead led at various points throughout the night. Ultimately, Martin won by a mere 68 votes.

The Green party lost its only MP. Blair Wilson, who was booted from the Liberal caucus then sat as an Independent before moving the Greens just before the election call, polled a very distant third in West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country. Conservative John Weston was declared victorious, picking up almost 45 per cent of the votes cast.

Emerson did not run

Some high-profile MPs from the last Parliament did not run this time around. David Emerson, who captured Vancouver-Kingsway for the Liberals but then switched allegiances to the Conservatives when he was made minister of international trade, retired from politics.

In Emerson's absence, a three-way race emerged. Don Davies of the NDP carried the riding with 35 per cent of the vote, ahead of Liberal Wendy Yuan and  Conservative Salomon Rayek.

The environment is a major issue in B.C., which on July 1 became the first province to introduce a broad carbon tax.

The provincial tax is applied to fossil fuels, including gasoline, diesel, natural gas and home heating oil. The tax came in at a rate of $10 per tonne of greenhouse gases generated. The carbon tax will rise by $5 a tonne for each of the next four years until it hits $30 per tonne in 2012.

The tax increase works out to an extra 2.4 cents a litre on gasoline, increasing to 7.24 cents per litre by 2012.

The provincial government has said all carbon tax revenue — about $1.8 billion over three years — will be returned to British Columbians through reductions to income and business taxes.