Feature Story                                                                   Wednesday, May 10, 2017

 

It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over

NDP pulls off a minority government, absentee votes yet to be counted

Staff/Voice photos

 

Tracey O'Hara and Patti MacAhonic supporters watched the nail-biter election cheering with each seat the NDP won.

 

t may be raining outside, but the sun is certainly shining on the NDP and Green Party who together may be in the position of forming the first minority government in 65 years after stealing the majority of seats from the BC Liberals.

 

However, that won't be confirmed until the absentee ballots are counted May 22 and at least one recount in the Cowichan Valley riding where candidates were separated by just 9 votes.

The NDP ended up winning 42 seats with 57 per cent of the vote. The Green Party set precedents by winning 3 seats and coming up one short of getting official "party" status.

The polls and pundits were right when they indicated that the Greens could make the difference by stealing seats from the Liberals. But clearly it will be the Greens who'll be making all the difference in the Legislature with their 3 seats depending on which party they decide to back.

 

NDP candidate Tracey O'Hara remained upbeat despite giving up the riding to Liberal John Martin.

 

There's no word who the Green Party will back in the legislature. Party leader Andrew Weaver said it was too early to talk about any allegiance.

In his election speech, Weaver called it a historic day for BC and North America with the first "Green Party caucus".

"BC is ready to have politics done differently in this province," he said. "British Columbians delivered that change tonight."


Christy Clark praised the effort Ellis Ross, former chief of the Haisla First Nations, put into getting elected in the Skeena riding.

In her speech afterward, she referred to BC as the promised land saying they want a bigger economy, not a bigger government.

"We want to cut middle class taxes for those people who work so hard," said Clark.

Clark thanked NDP's John Horgan and Green Party's Andrew Weaver or their strong campaigns.

"British Columbians did tell us tonight that they want to work across party line and work together for a strong BC," she said. "We cannot afford to be weak we cannot be distracted on non-partisanship issues."

She remained cheerful and optimistic despite the election results and said Liberal candidates do it to make change and help guide the community through the future but said it was always a tough row to hoe.



"If you got into politics to be loved, you'd be better off getting a dog," quipped Clark.

Amidst chants of "NDP" and "thank you John", Horgan said in his speech following the results, that his party had a fantastic campaign and thanked candidates and volunteers for their efforts "knocking on doors and making a lot of sandwiches" but cautioned supporters not to put the cart before the horse.
 

"Thanks for working so hard to build a better BC," he said. "BC has waited 16 years, and we're going to ask you to wait a little bit longer until all the votes are counted."

"We voted to get big money out of politics, action on climate change and an economy that works for everyone," he said.

Closer to home in Chilliwack, 17,698 people voted. Liberal John Martin picked up 8,641 votes to win the Chilliwack riding, followed with a strong showing from NDP candidate Tracey O'Hara who came in with 5,673 votes. Green Party candidate Wayne Froese placed third with his 3,014 votes, while Independent candidate Ryan McKinnon wrapped it up with a total of 370 votes.

Patti MacAhonic (left) and Tracey O'Hara remained upbeat with a houseful of cheering supporters digging into a smorgasbord of food with thanks to local unions.

 

O'Hara's strength was in the downtown area and clearly beat Martin.


"I'm really happy with the results," said O'Hara thanking her campaign manager David Swankey for all his hard work and indicated she'll be back in 2021 to give it another go and be successful.

Looking at the number of votes O'Hara got, it was easy to see how hard she worked to win NDP voters in a staunch Liberal riding–just a couple of churches behind Martin.

In the Chilliwack-Kent riding, Liberal candidate Laurie Throness secured his riding once again with 11,257 votes, while Patti MacAhonic finished with 6,678. Green Party Josie Bleuer had an astounding 3,088 votes which defies logic considering she was absent for most of the all-candidates meetings and was rarely seen on the campaign trail.
 


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