Key ridings to watch as B.C. voters go to the polls for the Oct. 24 provincial election.
Laurie Throness won his conservative Fraser Valley riding with a 21-percentage-point margin over his nearest rival in 2017. If re-elected, that could cause headaches for the BC Liberals. Mr. Throness, an MLA since 2013, quit the party during the campaign to run as an Independent after Leader Andrew Wilkinson denounced remarks he made during an all-candidates meeting. Mr. Throness equated an NDP policy on free contraception with eugenics. It remains to be seen how the BC Liberals would deal with their former colleague if he returns to the legislature.
Fin Donnelly is among several former NDP members of Parliament running for the provincial party. He is seeking a seat in a riding that the Liberals won by 87 votes three years ago. Mr. Donnelly, an area MP from 2009 until 2019, is running against a field that includes Liberal incumbent Joan Isaacs.
BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau’s entry into provincial politics came in 2017 when she won this riding over an NDP rival. Holding onto the leadership is likely tied to her re-election in this riding. But the NDP are so intent on winning that Leader John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix and even federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh have campaigned in the riding. At the same time, Green fortunes hinge on whether Ms. Furstenau’s colleague Adam Olsen can hold Saanich North and the Islands, and on the party holding onto the Oak Bay-Gordon Head seat of former party leader Andrew Weaver.
BC Liberal Jackie Tegart won by 524 votes in 2017. NDP efforts to narrow the gap in the current election were initially hampered when the riding association quit over the nomination of lawyer Aaron Sumexheltza, an Indigenous leader, favoured by the party. Former cabinet minister Harry Lali won the riding in 2009, but lost twice to the Liberals, represented by Ms. Tegart.
Maple Ridge-Mission/Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows
The NDP narrowly won both Maple Ridge ridings in 2017 – by 325 votes in one and 1,800 votes in the other – although they had previously been reliably Liberal. Now, the question is whether the NDP can retain these seats in 2020.
North Vancouver-Lonsdale/North Vancouver-Seymour
The NDP scored a political breakthrough in 2017, winning North Vancouver-Lonsdale when Bowinn Ma beat an incumbent Liberal cabinet minister by about 2,000 votes. The party is aiming to hold a riding previously held by Social Credit and Liberals since it was created in 1991. The NDP will try to take North Vancouver-Seymour, a Social Credit and Liberal stronghold since 1975. Incumbent Liberal Jane Thornthwaite won the riding by about 3,400 votes in 2017. However, during this campaign, she made sexist and belittling remarks about Ms. Ma in a Zoom roast for a retiring area MLA.
Former TV reporter Jas Johal entered provincial politics in 2017, winning this riding for the Liberals by 263 votes over an NDP rival. This election marks a rematch with lawyer Aman Singh. The riding was created in 2015, and first contested in the 2017 election.
As in federal elections, B.C.'s fastest-growing city is politically competitive at the provincial level. It’s an area where seats have swung between the two major B.C. parties. In 2017, the NDP won six of nine seats, a gain of three as the party defeated three Liberal cabinet ministers.
West Vancouver-Sea to Sky
Ms. Furstenau, the Green Leader, has been to this riding three times. During a stop on Tuesday, she said the Greens can win this seat – expressing an optimism rooted in a BC Liberal win by only 3,200 votes over the Green candidate in 2017. That the NDP came third is a rarity in BC politics. In 2020, the Greens hope engineer Jeremy Valeriote can take the seat from the Liberals.
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