Conservatives hold on as urban ridings shuffled in B.C.
NDP gains three seats as Liberals collapse
The Conservative Party extended their victory into B.C. last night, holding on to most of their seats as several urban ridings changed hands in the wake of a crushing Liberal defeat.
Conservatives candidates were elected in 21 of 36 seats in the province, down one seat from the 22 the party held following the 2008 federal election.
The Conservatives picked up one seat from the Liberal seats in Vancouver South, but lost one in Surrey North to the NDP and another in Saanich-Gulf Islands to the Greens.
B.C. results for 36 seats
- Conservatives 21 (-1)
- NDP 12 (+3)
- Liberals 2 (-3)
- Greens 1 (+1)
The NDP, however gained three B.C. seats. The party was elected in 12, up from the nine seats it held after the last election. The party picked up two Liberal seats in Newton Delta and Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca and took one from the Conservatives in Surrey North.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May made history by winning in Saanich-Gulf Islands by more than 7,000 votes, scoring her party's first elected seat in Parliament and unseating long-time Conservative incumbent Gary Lunn.
Meanwhile the Liberals suffered the biggest loss, winning in only two seats in Vancouver, down from five seats in the previous election.
Tories standing tall following victory
Conservatives up in B.C.
- The Conservatives won 45.5 per cent of the popular vote, better than their national average of 39.6 per cent in 2011, and up from the 44.5 per cent they won in B.C. in 2008.
- The NDP surge gave them 32.5 per cent of the popular vote, a little better than their national average of 30.6 per cent and up from 26 per cent in B.C. in 2008.
- The Liberals fell to 13.4 per cent, much worse than their national average of 18.9 per cent, and down from 19 per cent in B.C. in 2008.
- Despite May's win, the Greens also fell to 7.7 per cent, much better than their 3.9 per cent vote nationally, but down from 9.4 in B.C. in 2008.
Tory MP James Moore was standing tall following the victory. Moore said the Conservatives can now deliver on their goals of shaping the country.
"I think it's obviously a night of wow," said Moore on Monday night.
"I think political stability will help lead to economic stability and I think this is what the Canadian people voted for tonight."
Despite the loss of a seat, political analyst David Mitchell said B.C. played a big role in landing the Conservatives a majority government.
"British Columbia provided Mr. Harper with a majority Conservative government, the first we've had in more than seven years," he said.
"There were a number of other firsts as well. B.C. was the icing on the cake for Jack Layton as well in his historic breakthrough for the NDP."
Young wins in Vancouver South
In a breakthrough that helped cement the majority, Tory newcomer Wai Young knocked off Liberal heavyweight Ujjal Dosanjh in Vancouver South, despite Young gaining a controversial endorsement from Vancouver millionaire Ripudaman Singh Malik.
Following her win, Young spoke briefly to reporters.
"The community has come out. We've worked really hard to achieve this win," said Young.
"My priority right now is to, obviously, celebrate with my constituents and my voters and to learn the job," she said. "I'm going to be a rookie MP, so I'm going to go to Ottawa and I'm learn the job."
Dosanjh, who has held the riding since 2004 and been active in B.C.'s political scene since the 1970s, said following the defeat he was quitting electoral politics.
"I will not run again for political office. I made it very clear this was my last run in my own mind and I wanted to make sure that we did a good job," he said.
"We ran the best campaign that I've ever run and ultimately what happened is no reflection on [my team]. It's a reflection of the circumstances nationally."
Rural Conservatives retain seats
One of the longest serving MPs in Parliament will be Dick Harris in Northern B.C. The Cariboo-Prince George Conservative kept his seat in last night's race.
Harris said his priority will be to push forward the Prosperity Mine Project near Williams Lake and that includes amalgamating the environmental assessment process.
"If the federal government and provincial government can decide on the criterias that would regain approval, and that the provincial government could handle it on a one approval basis, then that would be a boom for our natural resource development," he said.
In the Okanagan, the Conservatives scored a decisive victory, winning all three seats. Newcomer Dan Albas, a 35-year-old Penticton city councillor swept Okanagan Coquihalla, replacing high-profile former Conservative cabinet minster Stockwell Day, who announced his retirement before the race.
"The trust I've earned with the people is going to help carry me forward. Again, it doesn't matter if you're a city councillor or member of parliament, the riding is now bigger and I'm going to be representing a lot more people, but I'm looking forward to the challenge," he said.
In Vancouver Island North Conservative John Duncan said he was excited to be returning to Ottawa as a member of the Conservative majority.
"I've worked hard in this riding for many many years. We are now a majority goverment. I'm delighted to be part of it," he said.
NDP victory bittersweet
The New Democrats were also celebrating a big win in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca on Vancouver Island, where the Conservatives were confident of victory. But by the end of the night it was New Democrat Randall Garrison who came out on top.
Garrison described the outcome as bittersweet, noting the NDP's victories in B.C. and across the country were welcome, but the Conservative majority was a tough pill to swallow for the party.
"I think it's been a tight a tight campaign all the way along, but I think that the negative campaign that was run nationally by the Conservatives had a big impact here locally," he said.
"Lots of people did not like the fear, did not like the smear, and again through all that Jack Layton kept a positive," he said.
In the Southern Interior NDP incumbent Alex Atamanenko won easily, but said the party's new role in parliament will be a new challenge.
"This paces a tremendous responsibility on us as official opposition to hold these guys accountable," he said.
The NPD incumbent in Vancouver Kingsway Don Davies saw his victory as both an endorsement of the NDP and a rejection of the so-called blue and red doors offered by his opponents.
"Well folks, Canada just created another door. And that door is painted orange," he told supporters.
Even for Libby Davies, who coasted to a sixth victory in Vancouver East was incredulous about the NDP surge.
"Who can believe it -- we are the official opposition," she said.
Liberals mull future of party
Liberal incumbents Hedy Fry in Vancouver Centre and Joyce Murray were the only Liberal success stories in B.C. Murray defeated the Conservatives by about 1,000 votes while Fry led the NDP by about 2,000.
Murray blamed Conservative attack ads and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, who failed to resonate with voters, for the loss.
"Of course it had a lot to do with a set of personal attack ads that were directed at him by the Conservative Party relentlessly since he became the leader," said Murray.
"So the next question: How to rebuild the party... And how to respond to the kind of American style politics thats been imported up here to Canada," she said.
But Murray said the party that once dominated Canadian politics will need to reflect before taking action.
"I mean we have to diagnose the problem before we can begin to put together a strategy to solve it. If you haven't figured out the problem out correctly, you're solution may well not be the right one," she said.
Analyst David Mitchell agreed the Liberal defeat will prompt some serious soul-searching for the party in B.C. and across the country.
"There's gonna be calls for some sort of merger or accommodation with this NDP to create one centre-left party," he said. "This is going to take some time to unfold. This is going to be very painful for the Liberal Party of Canada."