A red wave of Trudeau optimism swept B.C., boosting the Liberals’ seat count in the province from two to 14, in one of the best showings for the Liberals according to the party.
“We did it! We did it!” said incumbent Liberal MP Hedy Fry, 74, to an ecstatic partisan crowd Monday night in downtown Vancouver.
“People said we want our country back! We want our country to be what it could be. And they went out and did it. I do think we never could’ve done it without Justin Trudeau.”
"He said it’s not his win, it’s a people’s win,” she added, in reference to Trudeau’s victory speech. "But his coat tails were really, really long,” said Fry.
Vision Vancouver Mayor’s director of policy and communications, Braeden Caley, who doubles as the federal B.C. Liberal president, boasted about the "absolutely historic” results for the party.
"We’ve achieved one of the very best performances for the Liberal idea in this province and in the federation’s history,” he said.
- Libs: 17 seats, up from 2
- NDP: 14 seats, up from 12
- Cons: 10 seats, down from 20
- Greens: 1 seat, no gain/loss
- Total ridings: 42
NDP up slightly
New Democrats, who lost dozens of seats nationally, actually gained two seats in British Columbia. The party led an orange sweep of all but one of the seats on Vancouver Island.
The NDP also held the party’s Vancouver East stronghold by electing Jenny Kwan. She said the NDP will resume its traditional role as a strong opposition voice, pushing the issues she heard from voters in the campaign.
“They said to me, on the doorsteps of East Vancouver, that they care about housing, they care about national inquiry into missing and murdered women, they care about climate action….they want Bill-C24 gone.”
Conservative seat count cut in half
Conservatives saw their 20 seats halved to 10 on the night Stephen Harper was removed from power.
Holding one riding for the tories was ex-Surrey Mayor Diane Watts, elected to the Surrey-White Rock. She pledged to be a force against Trudeau in the opposition benches, in a party now cut to 99 Conservatives MPs nationally.
“I know there were a lot of promises made throughout this election, and I also know we will hold them to account,” she said Monday night.
A hot race to watch was in the new riding of Vancouver Granville, where a star Indigenous Liberal candidate—former Assembly of First Nations regional chief Jody Wilson-Raybould was elected in a nail biter.
Controversially, the strategic voting website Leadnow had chosen her opponent —the NDP’s Mira Oreck.
Oreck said the NDP put up a tough fight, but said her party’s "orange crash" was due to voters’ desperation to find the leader most likely to oust Harper.
“You know what? When people want change…people were desperate. They felt desperate for change,” said Oreck on Monday night.
Greens: tough night
The Green’s faced a disappointing night. Leader Elizabeth May was re-elected to her Saanich–Gulf Islands riding, but saw the party lose its only other seat in Ontario.
Greens had pinned its hopes on star candidates such as SFU scientist Lynne Quarmby and ex-CBC meteorologist Claire Martin, but they failed to get elected. The party now has just one seat nationally.
Liberal candidate and former clean-tech CEO Jonathan Wlkinson took North Vancouver handily.
“This is a victory for all Canadians. This is a victory for a tolerant, just, open Canada, that actually wants to play a progressive role in the world. My goodness, this is a good night to be a Liberal,” he told a Liberal crowd Monday night.
One Liberal supporter, former Vision Park Board commissioner Trevor Loke, was optimistic Trudeau would alter the way decisions are made in Ottawa.
“It’s going to be a different, because it will respect evidence-based decision making. It will take experts in the field, and take their work as truth. I think we’ve had a government that’s tainted its decision making with ideology,” he said.
Despite the gains for the NDP in B.C., supporters were clearly disappointed by the results.
Pipeline concerns remain with Liberal government
Jannika Nyberg, a 23-year-old UBC grad, said she worries what kind of oil-friendly agenda Trudeau will usher in, especially given the recent scandal in which Liberal co-chair Dan Gagnier resigned after complaints that he was giving TransCanada advice on how to lobby the next government on Energy East.
“I don’t think Liberals are strong enough at all on oil pipelines. I don’t have any faith they’re going to be principled enough to ensure Enbridge or whichever pipeline company, will have strong environmental protection. And they’re going to be hand-in-hand with lobbyists.”
"It’s worrisome,” she said.
Liberals have pledged to overhaul Canada’s environmental review process for pipelines, and to work with provinces to achieve climate targets. But Trudeau himself has previously endorsed Keystone XL, while opposing the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.