Fair Vote Canada, a nonprofit, multi-partisan citizens movement for electoral reform in Canada, is sending out online ads in the riding encouraging residents to vote for candidates who support proportional representation in their platforms. (file photo)

Fair Vote Canada, a nonprofit, multi-partisan citizens movement for electoral reform in Canada, is sending out online ads in the riding encouraging residents to vote for candidates who support proportional representation in their platforms. (file photo)

Spotlight on B.C.: 12 races to watch on Election Day

Black Press Media presents a four-part series into how B.C. will affect the national outcome

By Bruce Cameron

It’s finally time to choose the next leaders of the country.

Here are 12 ridings in B.C. that could make the difference between which party forms government. Polls close in the Pacific Time Zone at 7 p.m.

Vancouver Island

Esquimalt–Saanich–Sooke: The shifting fortunes of federal parties in B.C. are reflected here, with the NDP incumbent Randall Garrison pitted against his 2015 Liberal challenger, David Merner, now running for the Greens. Merner has an excellent chance to turn this seat Green if he can channel the concerns of moderate voters who oppose Liberal pipeline policies. However, Green hopes may be dashed if the New Democrat base of support that had weakened at the outset of the campaign rebounds dramatically by Oct. 21.

Courtenay–Alberni: The NDP’s Gord Johns won this riding in 2015 in a three-way race, defeating longtime Conservative MP and former Harper cabinet minister John Duncan. Given the drop in NDP support since the last time at the polls, this riding could be another close three-way race, with the Greens having an outside shot, especially considering nearby Nanaimo–Ladysmith shifted from NDP to Green in a recent byelection.

Interior

Kamloops–Thompson–Cariboo: Incumbent Conservative MP Cathy McLeod faces a strong challenge from popular former BC Liberal environment minister Terry Lake, now running for the federal Liberals. The Liberals initially believed that NDP support could shift their way after a second NDP candidate was forced to resign on the first day of the campaign. However, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s late surge may make this close.

Kootenay–Columbia: The NDP’s Wayne Stetski won here four years ago by a razor-thin, 280-vote margin, despite it being a longtime Conservative stronghold, held by former Alliance and Reform Rarty MP Jim Abbott since 1997. If the Tories are to challenge the Liberals nationally, they must win back seats like Kootenay–Columbia.

Lower Mainland

Pitt Meadows–Maple Ridge: Liberal Dan Ruimy narrowly won his seat in 2015, beating out the Conservatives by only 1,300 votes. But loyalties and personalities have shifted considerably since then. The NDP challenger from 2015, Bob D’Eith, is now the area’s MLA, and former BC Liberal MLA Marc Dalton is running for the Conservatives. This result could be right down to the wire.

Cloverdale–Langley City: Liberal incumbent John Aldag won by 10 per cent over the Tories last time around, but Liberal support has dropped across the country since then, putting this riding into play. Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives have high hopes that businesswoman Tamara Jansen will be able to wrest back what was once a fairly safe Tory seat. But former Conservative MP Gurmant Grewall is also running here, for the People’s Party of Canada, and could siphon off Conservative votes.

Coquitlam–Port Coquitlam: Liberal Ron McKinnon captured this formerly solid Conservative seat by fewer than 2,000 votes in 2015. The Liberals will be spending a lot more money here this time, after they were outspent by the Conservatives by more than $170,000 the last time at the polls. If some of the NDP voting base shifts to the Liberals to stop the Conservatives, then this seat will remain Liberal.

South Surrey–White Rock: Gordie Hogg, the popular former mayor of White Rock, is battling to keep this seat Liberal against Conservative Kerry-Lynne Findlay. If this 2015 pick-up by the Liberals falls to the Conservatives in 2019, it may signal that Scheer will form government.

ELECTION 2019: It’s so close, it could come down to who turns out to vote

Vancouver

Vancouver Granville: Former Liberal justice minister and newly independent candidate Jody Wilson-Raybould will face off against Liberal Taleeb Noormohamed in this contest sure to garner national attention. A riding poll by Justason Market Intelligence suggests Wilson-Raybould may have a lead, cobbled together from a diverse collection of former Liberal voters, NDP voters and even some Conservative voters eager to send Justin Trudeau a message.

Vancouver Kingsway: Three-term NDP MP Don Davies was first elected here in 2008, but with a star candidate running for the Liberals in former TV anchor Tamara Taggart, this riding is in play. Not only is it one of the oldest ridings in B.C., it also contains a high proportion of immigrants, such as Chinese Canadians (36 per cent) and Filipino Canadians (13 per cent). The rise in New Democrat support post-debates might be enough for Davies to hold on.

Spotlight on B.C.: Setting the agenda on key election issues

North Vancouver: Liberal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Jonathan Wilkinson will test the Liberals’ ability to retain seats in areas around Vancouver in 2015. He faces Andrew Saxton, former Conservative MP from 2008-2015, in a re-run of the 2015 vote. In the previous campaign, Wilkinson won by 30 per cent, so there would have to be a large collapse of Liberal support for Saxton to make this a close race. If it is close, this head-to-head, Conservative-Liberal clash could have national implications, deciding which party forms government.

Burnaby North–Seymour: For pure theatrics and candidate charisma, this riding is worth watching. It pits young, energetic incumbent Liberal MP Terry Beech against former NDP MP Svend Robinson, one of Canada’s first openly gay MPs, who is trying to win after serving many of the same constituents for 25 years. It also happens to be the endpoint for the Trans Mountain pipeline, which puts the Liberal government’s pipeline policies and recent federal purchase of Trans Mountain in the spotlight like no other riding in the province. The Conservatives will be a non-issue here, since their candidate was removed for anti-gay statements.

KEEP READING: Liberals need at least 10 B.C. ridings to take the election

Projections are based on data from Statistics Canada and Elections Canada and compiled by Canadian market research firm Return On Insight.

Bruce Cameron, Black Press Media’s polling analyst, is the founder of Return On Insight. Follow him on Twitter @roitweets

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Members of the Nelson Nordic Ski Club show off their new snowcat. Photo: Submitted
Nelson Nordic Club celebrates new snowcat

A community fundraising effort led to the purchase

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. File photo.
Kootenay-Columbia MP supports motion condemning Uighur genocide

Rob Morrison says labelling Uighur persecution as a genocide sends a message to Chinese government

The Skinny Genes Foundation is raising awareness and funds for a rare genetic disorder that claimed both his father and uncle.
NHL players, local businesses help Kootenay man raise funds and awareness for rare genetic disease

Signed NHL jerseys and local business donations up for auction in Skinny Genes Foundation fundraiser

An architectural design proposal from June, 2020, illustrates what a re-developed Hall Street Pier might look like. Illustration: City of Nelson
Nelson receives $1M grant for Hall St. Pier project

The design and extent of the project will be decided in the next few weeks

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

Most Read