Stephen Harper’s Conservatives held their B.C. ground against a surging NDP in Monday’s federal election, securing a majority government as Liberal and Bloc Quebecois support crumbled in Eastern Canada.
With most results counted, the Liberals were barely holding onto two of the five B.C. seats they had going into the election, with Joyce Murray in Vancouver Quadra and Hedy Fry in Vancouver Centre maintaining slim leads over their Conservative challengers.
The biggest surprise of the B.C. race was Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who defeated Conservative cabinet minister Gary Lunn in Saanich-Gulf Islands. The Green Party poured most of its national resources into May’s campaign, and were on their way to winning the party’s first-ever seat in the House of Commons.
“Today we proved that Canadians want change in politics,” May told cheering supporters after Lunn called to concede.
The B.C. Interior ridings saw little change, with Conservative and NDP candidates holding their traditional areas even as some incumbents retired. In Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, one of the closer races, Conservative Cathy McLeod held off a challenge from the NDP”s Michael Crawford.
In B.C.’s most closely fought seat of Vancouver South, Conservative Wai Young was headed for victory over Liberal Ujjal Dosanjh, who held the seat by only 20 votes in the 2008 election that gave the Conservatives their second minority government.
In Newton-North Delta, the NDP’s Jinny Sims held a slim lead on Conservative Mani Fallon and incumbent Liberal Sukh Dhaliwal.
In Surrey North, where Conservative incumbent Dona Cadman kept a low profile, the NDP’s Jasbir Sandhu held a slim lead.
Conservative Nina Grewal won re-election in Newton-North Delta, defeating the NDP’s Nao Fernando.
The 2011 election saw the retirement of some familiar faces. Liberal Keith Martin held the Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca seat while representing three different parties. Monday night the NDP’s Randall Garrison and Conservative Troy DeSouza were virtually tied in the race to replace Martin.
Conservative veterans Stockwell Day (Okanagan-Coquihalla), Jim Abbott (Kootenay-Columbia) and Chuck Strahl (Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon) have retired, but the Conservatives held those seats with new candidates.