VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — It is crunch time for the main party leaders as the election is now just days away. As the deadline to convince voters approaches, the efforts of the parties to sway those in tight Metro Vancouver ridings has also heated up.
“B.C. is a very, very important part of this race. That’s where all the leaders see opportunity,” Allan Tupper, political science professor at UBC said. He believes there are some tight races that could shift the outcome of the election significantly.
He says it’s very complex here and it can vary a lot between Liberal and Conservative loyalties, as well as the growing force of the NDP.
“You get a really confused and difficult-to-read map, with a lot of unpredictably,” he said, calling the region volatile when it comes to elections.
“There’s been a lot of attention to the ridings in Vancouver proper. Particularly the riding that was Jody Wilson-Raybould’s previously but is now wide open,” Tupper said.
Stewart Prest, political science lecturer at Simon Fraser University agrees. He says ridings all around Vancouver that have been competitive previously have really tightened up in recent elections. Prest says the Liberals are the favourites in Vancouver Granville. But now that Wilson-Raybould is not running for re-election, it could be anyone’s race.
The former Liberal cabinet minister had won as an Independent in the previous election, but said Parliament Hill had become “toxic and ineffective,” about her decision to leave federal politics.
The riding made headlines recently after it was discovered the Liberal candidate had made millions in home flipping, a practice the Liberal Party has said it will tackle if re-elected in 2021.
Liberal candidate Taleeb Noormohamed has bought and sold at least 21 homes within a year of buying them since 2005.
Anajali Appadurai is running for the NDP in Vancouver Granville, while Kailin Che is on the ballot as a Conservative. Imtiaz Popat is the Green candidate and Damian Jewett represents the People’s Party of Canada.
The riding has been held by Liberal Harjit Sajjan, who served as the defence minister from 2015 to 2021, and Tupper believes could be a significant victory if it went Conservative this time around.
Sukhbir Singh Gill represents the Conservatives in Vancouver South in this election, while Sean McQuillan is running for the NDP.
Anthony Cook is the PPC candidate, and Anne Jamieson is listed as the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada candidate.
Outside Vancouver, several nearby cities are getting a lot of focus during the campaign. Among them is Delta.
The riding was won by Liberal Carla Qualtrough last time around, a boon for the party.
But will the Liberals be able to hold on to the seat? Tupper says it will be a focus for the Conservatives, who have Garry Shearer representing the party.
Monika Dean is running for the NDP and Jeremy Smith is the Green candidate in Delta. Paul Tarasenko represents the People’s Party of Canada, and Hong Yan Pan is running as an independent.
South Surrey-White Rock
Another riding that has become a focus is South Surrey-White Rock. It has previously been a Conservative stronghold, but Kerry-Lynne Findlay was able to steal it from Liberal MP Gordie Hogg in the last election.
“White Rock and that whole area is another one that’s going to be very hotly contested, I think,” Tupper said about the riding.
Prest says ridings like this one are steadily urbanizing and getting more densely populated with younger families who are looking to find more space and have particular values as a result.
It appears to be the case, with the Liberals and Conservatives both pushing family-focused platforms geared towards those voters.
“[Voters are] looking for commitments on childcare, that’s going to matter, and also looking for some commitments on longstanding issues like climate change and the environment,” Prest explained about the shift happening in some suburban areas that had previously been seen in more urban communities.
Hogg is running for the Liberals again, while June Liu is the NDP’s candidate. Gary Jensen is running for the PPC.
“We’ve seen two, and sometimes three parties being highly competitive. Whether we look at the ridings in the Surrey area, or the Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam areas, those are some regions where we’ve seen tight races in the past,” Prest said.
The Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam riding was won by incumbent Ron McKinnon with the Liberal Party. But it was not a landslide victory, with only 35 per cent of the vote, and fewer than 400 votes between him and the Conservative challenger.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau recently visited the riding in his campaign stop to B.C. in hopes of getting his party more of a foothold with voters.
This time, Katerina Anastasiadis is running for the Conservatives, while Laura Dupont is representing the NDP. Kimberly Brundell is running as the PPC candidate.
Another riding where voters could jump back from the 2019 outcomes is the riding of Steveston-Richmond East.
Conservative Kenny Chiu captured the win over the incumbent Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido in 2019. The Liberals have a new candidate in this election, with Parm Bains representing that party.
The NDP’s Jack Trovato, the Green Party’s Françoise Raunet, and the People’s Party of Canada’s Jennifer Singh are also vying for this riding’s vote.
The Burnaby North Seymour riding saw the Liberals hold on, but barely. Prest says the riding will be watched closely to see where it lands this time around.
Incumbent Liberal Terry Beech narrowly won over NDP candidate Svend Robinson in the last election, and all eyes are on the possibility of an “orange crush” in this riding, even though the NDP has changed its candidate to Jim Hanson.
Kelsey Shein is running for the Conservatives, Peter Dolling is representing the Green Party, and Brad Nickerson is running as a PPC candidate.
The riding won by federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in a byelection has been a focus for the New Democrats this campaign. Singh has made several stops in his home riding in recent weeks speaking to voters on affordability and environment concerns.
His competition comes from Conservatives Likky Lavji, Green Party candidate Maureen Curran, and Liberal candidate Brea Huang Sami.
Although this riding’s outcome will be significant, especially if it’s lost by the New Democrats, Prest says every riding will really count this time around.
He doesn’t believe any party will make up a majority, and it will mean every seat will be crucial to making up the power dynamic of the House of Commons.
“Sometimes the result is a foregone conclusion, that is not the case here. What is going to happen in the last week…is going to be decisive I think in determine the ultimate outcome,” he said.
Marcella Williams represents the People’s Party of Canada in this riding. Martin Kendell is running as an independent/
With files from Hana Mae Nassar and Martin MacMahon
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly named Marcella Williams as the Liberal candidate in Burnaby South. Brea Huang Sami is, in fact the Liberal candidate in this riding. Williams is the candidate for the People’s Party of Canada.