VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — It’s official. The BC NDP’s decision to call a snap election has paid off with the party winning 57 seats in the legislature, ushering in a decisive majority government.
The final count of hundreds of thousands of mail-in and absentee ballots concluded Sunday, with John Horgan’s New Democrats gaining 16 seats.
Elections BC’s official seat count shows the BC Liberals with 28, and the BC Greens with two. A judicial recount has been ordered in one riding, West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, where the incumbent BC Liberal leads by 41 votes.
Races that were too close to call in districts that have been longtime BC Liberal strongholds have officially flipped to the NDP, including in Vernon-Monashee where Harwinder Sandhu ousted incumbent Eric Foster who has held that seat since 2009.
“It was nail-biting and very exciting at the same time it felt like a rollercoaster. It feels like a historic moment for sure in our own little riding,” she says.
Thank you Vernon Monashee! I feel so blessed to be given this opportunity to represent people. I will make sure all voices are equally heard and congratulate the people of Vernon Monashee for exercising their right to vote #bcndp #teamhorgan pic.twitter.com/63Q7F2C4Zr
— Harwinder Sandhu (@harwinderndp20) November 8, 2020
Sandhu won by 424 votes, securing the first victory there for a candidate who is not a BC Liberal since 1996.
She says she’s looking forward to getting to work on the issues affecting her community: healthcare, seniors, care, housing affordability, and the economic affects of COVVID-19 on local farmers and industry.
“We do have so many issues in our riding and it’s time to put the words and the promises, the policies I’ve shared into action,” she says.
The BC Liberals held onto five seats in the Interior, but Sandhu is optimistic she can find common cause that crosses party lines.
“I have no concerns or issues working collaboratively with anybody regardless of party. The bottom line is, issues unite us all and we’re all equally passionate to serve our constituents,” she says.
While Sandhu was awaiting the results, she spoke with Premier John Horgan.
“We spoke last week when he called me because the race was so close and he was calling me to tell me how proud he was. I did mention our key priorities and issues and he was very supportive,” she explains.
Horgan, issuing a statement Sunday says his majority government will remain focused on the pandemic.
“COVID-19 is presenting us with new challenges each day, and we need to keep the focus where it belongs: keeping ourselves, our families, and our communities healthy, safe, and secure.”
Meantime, BC Greens Leader Sonia Furstenau will have to wait a little longer to know how her party fared.
In West Vancouver – Sea to Sky, Green candidate Jeremy Valeriote led Liberal incumbent Jordan Sturdy by 604 votes on Oct. 24. At the end of the final count Valeriote is trailing BC Liberal Jordan Sturdy by 41 votes, a result that has triggered an automatic judicial recount.
“We’re going to be watching closely and of course hoping for the best but also recognizing that no matter what Jeremy Valeriote was campaigning for four weeks and had a remarkably successful campaign,” Furstenau says.
You ran an excellent campaign, Jeremy – thank you to you and your team for all your hard work. We will all be watching the recount very closely. https://t.co/MuIcFohDIm
— SoniaFurstenau (@SoniaFurstenau) November 8, 2020
She remains critical of the decision to call an early election amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was not responsible to throw an unnecessary election at a time like this and what it’s meant is — effectively — since Sept. 21 we have not had a legislature to hold government to account, to ask hard questions, to be able to seek clear guidance from government, because there hasn’t been a government,” she says.
“It’s really unfortunate that we’ve been out of the legislature all these weeks when we should have been in there, serving the people of British Columbia.”