It wasn’t the Vancouver Island breakthrough that Green Party leader had hoped for, but the green party leader has been re-elected in Saanich-Gulf Islands.
The outspoken May is extremely popular in the area, and had been widely favoured to win the riding. She has held it since 2011, when she knocked off former Tory cabinet minister Gary Lunn who had held it since 1997. The riding has something of a split personality, tending to lean Conservative in the Victoria suburbs of Saanich, while voting green on the Gulf Islands. Prior to May’s election, it had voted for Conservative/Reform/Alliance candidates back to 1993. Since its capture by the Greens, it has been the cornerstone of the party’s strategy of building support on Vancouver Island and the West Coast of BC.
May has a law degree from Dalhousie University, and is a long time environmental activist, who served as the Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada from 1989 to 2006. She is most recently known for her high profile opposition to anti-terrorism Bill C-51.
New Democrat Murray Rankin has held onto his seat in Victoria. Rankin won the seat in a 2012 by-election, after the NDP’s thrice re-elected Denise Savoie retired. The seat has flipped between the Liberals and New Democrats since the late 1980s. But this year the serious challenge came from the Green party, who recruited well known former CBC broadcaster Jo-Ann Roberts and have been consolidating support on Vancouver Island. Rankin is a Harvard educated lawyer, and former UVic Law professor. He also served as the lead First Nations treaty negotiator for the province under Mike Harcourt.
In a something of an upset, the NDP’s Gord Johns has captured the seat of Courtenay-Alberni. The riding was re-drawn in 2012, but in its previous form as Nanaimo-Alberni has been held by conservative politicians since 1984. The NDP lost that riding by about 6.5% in 2011, but the new boundaries and retirement of long serving incumbent James Lunney put it into play. Johns is a former Tofino councillor, and currently serves as executive director of the Tofino-Long Beach chamber of commerce.
The NDP’s Alistair MacGregor has captured the key battleground riding of Cowichan-Malahat-Langford. The race was seen as a duel between Baker and the NDP’s Alistair MacGregor, particularly after Liberal candidate Maria Manna resigned after making controversial comments about 9/11.three parties had hopes for this riding. The riding was created in 2012, and is composed of the former Nanaimo-Ladysmith and Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca seats — which have voted for both parties in the past. Martin is a 25-year resident of the Cowichan Valley, and has worked as a long time assistant to sitting NDP MP Jean Crowder.
North Island-Powell River
In another victory of the NDP in strategic British Columbia, Rachel Blaney has taken this new riding. Blaney took down conservative rival Laura Smith by in race that was less tight than some had predicted. It’s a breakthrough for the party, as area has Conservative fortress, represented by MP John Duncan with varying boundaries for nearly two decades (save a brief NDP stint from 2006-2008). Blaney is the executive director of the immigrant welcome centre, and a former employment officer for the Homalco First Nation.
In what shaped up into a surprisingly tight four-way race, The NDP’s Sheila Malcolmson has won the strategically important riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith. The newly created seat was billed as a tossup between the party and the NDP, as in previous elections North and South Nanaimo have split between the parties. But the race evolved into a competitive four-way competition. Malcomson faced a particularly spirited challenge from the Green candidate, who has NDP ties, but was rejected by the party over comments about Palestine. Malcolmson is the elected chair of the Islands Trust Council, and prior to that worked as an energy policy analyst for a variety of NGOs.
The NDP’s Randall Garrison has been elected MP For Esquimalt-Saanich Sooke. Garrison is being re-elected to the House of Commons, having previously representing the riding before it was redrawn in 2012 (It was previously called as Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca). It is a key win for the party, and for Garrison, who won in 2011 by just 406 votes. Garrison served in the last parliament as the opposition critic for public safety, serving as one of the party’s key voices of opposition to Bill C-51. Before entering national politics, Garrison sat on the Esquimalt Municipal Council and police board. He was a Criminal Justice and Political Science instructor at Camosun College for 20 years.