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Vancouver East NDP MP Libby Davies meets with Templeton High culinary arts students Monday afternoon before delivering lunch to her volunteer voting scrutineers Monday afternoon. May 2, 2011, Vancouver.

Brett Beadle/brett beadle The Globe and Mail

In hanging on to her seat in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, Conservative incumbent Cathy McLeod helped boost Stephen Harper's majority and dimmed hopes for an NDP breakthrough in the B.C. interior.

Ms. McLeod won with over 50 per cent of the vote, over second-place candidate, the NDP's Michael Crawford.

The NDP had hoped its late-campaign momentum would help it take the riding in the Kamloops region, which had an NDP MP in Nelson Riis for two decades until his defeat in 2000.

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It was the third attempt for Mr. Crawford, an assistant professor of social work at Thompson Rivers University who also ran against Ms. McLeod in the 2008 election.

In Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca the Conservative and NDP candidates were neck and neck for much of the night, before NDP candidate Randall Garrison was elected by a mere 406 votes.

That riding, put in play when long-time MP Keith Martin announced his retirement, was a sought-after plum for both Conservative leader Stephen Harper, who visited the riding early in his campaign, and for the NDP's Jack Layton, who made the riding the focus of his "ships not jets" commitment.

On the southwest corner of Vancouver Island, Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca had been held by Liberal Keith Martin through six elections since 1993.

Conservative candidate Troy De Souza - who lost by a mere 68 votes to Dr. Martin in 2008 - was initially a hair ahead of Mr. Garrison, who placed second to Dr. Martin in the 2004 and 2006 elections.

In a brief interview when polls were still open, Mr. Garrison said he expected a tight race.

The seaside riding was just one where the NDP hoped for a breakthrough in B.C., where the party's fortune's - and profile - dipped dramatically in the 1990s.

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In 1993, the party took an electoral drubbing that reduced its parliamentary presence to nine seats, including a mere two in B.C.

"Ever since that point, we've been slowly, but very steadily, rebuilding and gaining support in B.C.," Vancouver East NDP candidate Libby Davies said on Monday, speaking between stops on a final stretch of door-knocking in the riding, where she was first elected in 1997. "I think that's very evident in this campaign."

Ms. Davies won her riding, with 62 per cent of votes cast.

Mr. Layton made several stops in B.C., including an April 30 rally in Burnaby that drew more than 2,000 people.

Both Mr. Layton and Mr. Harper visited Vancouver Island North, a battleground riding where Conservative incumbent John Duncan faced off against NDP candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard.

The riding had see-sawed between the Conservatives and the NDP in the past three elections. The NDP hoped to win the riding back by focusing on issues including allocations for the region's halibut fishery.

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In the end, it was a victory for Conservative incumbent John Duncan.

The NDP hoped to capitalize on voters' discontent over the HST and their worries about issues such as health care and pensions, while the Conservatives focused on their themes of economic stability and jobs in key B.C. ridings to contribute to a hoped-for majority for Mr. Harper.

Dr. Martin first took the Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca in 1993 as a Reform candidate, but also won under the banner of the Canadian Alliance party before crossing the floor to the Liberals.

Mr. Garrison said he has been focusing on key issues, such as child care, saying that many voters in his riding have told him that affordable child care is a key concern.

Ms. Davies said NDP candidates had been energized by Mr. Layton's visits to the province and the youth vote, which she predicted would help propel the NDP to additional gains in the province.

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