Conservative candidate Rob Morrison rode a wave of support to a big win in October’s federal election. Photo: Trevor Crawley/Cranbrook Daily Townsman

YEAR IN REVIEW: Rob Morrison wins Kootenay-Columbia in landslide

Our No. 3 story of 2019

A campaign expected to be close turned out to be anything but during the federal election.

Conservative candidate Rob Morrison won the Kootenay-Columbia riding on Oct. 21 by 7,000 votes in a landslide result that ousted NDP incumbent Wayne Stetski.

Morrison was new on the ballot but had the advantage of running for a party that has traditionally dominated the riding thanks to strong East Kootenay support.

“We always came in as the underdogs,” said Morrison after the victory. “It’s hard with the incumbent who has a lot of press time and has been around and has already built up relationships. We knew it would be an uphill battle. The days leading up the election, we were behind in the polls. It was pretty nerve-wracking.”

Those polls turned out to be meaningless.

Stetski, who eked out a surprising win in 2015 by just 282 votes, had been the first NDP candidate to win the riding.

But there were plenty of candidates ready to end his time in Ottawa. Abra Brynne of the Green Party, Robin Goldsbury of the Liberals, People’s Party candidate Rick Stewart and Trev Miller of the Animal Protection Party also shared space on the ballot.

The campaign featured 11 events throughout the riding, and it quickly became apparent where the frontrunners’ priorities were.

Morrison focused most of his attention on his base in the East Kootenay and opted to skip two public debates in Nelson. Stetski, meanwhile, tried to make his case to Green voters for their support.

That strategy didn’t work, and made months of hand-wringing over vote splitting moot. Brynne ended up finishing fourth, and even if all of her supporters had voted NDP it wouldn’t have been enough to sway the election in Stetski’s favour.

Still, there were surprises beyond the result once the dust settled.

Polling numbers showed Stetski led Morrison in a number of communities including Nelson, Revelstoke, Salmo, Kimberley and Fernie. Golden was much tighter, with Stetski edging Morrison by just five votes.

But where Morrison won, he won big.

He had nearly 2,000 more votes than Stetski in his Cranbrook stronghold, and also dominated in rural communities including Sparwood, Elkford, West Creston, Canyon, Lister, Baynes Lake and Elko.

Now Morrison has four years to show he was worth the avalanche of support.

“I’m going to hold myself accountable, to build on what we want and need for the Kootenay-Columbia region,” he said.

Related:

Rob Morrison ready to get to work

Elections Canada: Cranbrook, rural voters backed Rob Morrison

Kootenay-Columbia riding candidates have Canada’s highest expense limit

Correction: A previous version of this story stated Abra Brynne finished third in votes. Brynne was actually fourth behind Liberal candidate Robin Goldsbury.



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

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

Perry Siding man drowns in kayaking accident

The death occurred in Slocan River last month

Nelson Innovation Centre opens in Railtown

Centre will provide networking, training and workspace for all things tech

Memories all that remain of Balfour general store

History by Greg Nesteroff: In 1912 a log cabin near Balfour became a store

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Commercial huckleberry harvesting restricted in Kootenays

The province of B.C. has banned commercial-scale picking from July 15 to October 15

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

Most Read