BC Liberals take Kootenay-East by 27 per cent

Tom Shypitka takes 9114 votes, 4335 more than Randal Macnair

British Columbians support of Christy Clark’s BC Liberals secured them with a minority government win over the BC NDP and BC Green Party on May 9.

The Liberals won 43 seats, the NDP won 41 and the Greens won 3.

This is the first minority win in the province since 1952.

Although three seats is minimal, Andrew Weaver will no doubt have a voice in the provincial capital.

“Tonight, we won the popular vote, and we have also won the most seats,” Ms. Clark told supporters at a BC Liberal Party gathering in Vancouver. “It is my intention to continue to lead British Columbia.”

On a provincial scale, this means that the Liberals will now be faced with following through with several large promises: a balanced budget and strong GDP growth, reduced MSP rates for some citizens, eventually phasing out health-care premiums all together. As well, the Liberals are in support of the expansion of the Site C Dam, while the two other parties are opposed to it.

In Columbia River-Revelstoke, Doug Clovechok delivered a BC Liberal victory, dominating the NDP who have reigned for the past 12 years.

In the Kootenay-East region, what was thought to be a tight battle between the NDP and Liberals resulted in a landslide victory for the reds.

Out of 44,092 eligible voters, 16,092 votes were reported after 75 polling stations counted ballets.

BC Liberal candidate, Tom Shypitka took 57 per cent of the vote share with 9114. BC NDP candidate Randal Macnair only reached half of that, taking a 30 per cent vote share with 4779 votes. Yvonne Prest, although not elected, did better than any Green Party candidate in the area to date, taking 11 per cent of the vote share with 1814 votes. BC Libertarians candidate, Keith Komar took two per cent of the total vote, with 385 votes.

On Tuesday, May 9, the polls closed at 9 p.m. MDT. By 10 p.m., CBC was predicting a landslide victory for the BC Liberals in Kootenay East.

Tom Shypitka was surrounded by supporters in Cranbrook when he took position as the new MLA.

“It comes to this, and I couldn’t be happier,” he said to everyone present. “The people in Kootenay-East have made a decision, and they have decided with a party of free enterprise.

“I’m a team player,” he added. “And I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this Christy Clark team.”

Randal Macnair was also present in Cranbrook, eagerly awaiting results. Although he is disappointed, he said he was pleased and humbled at the result.

“We knew it was an uphill battle (from the) start… It’s been a liberal stronghold for 16 years. We knew breaking through that would be difficult, and it was just insurmountable,” said Macnair.

After he thanked supporters and presented a few individuals with flowers, Shypitka spoke again about how he was feeling, and acknowledged that he was overwhelmed and excited.

Bill Bennett, the longest serving MLA in Kootenay-East, was happy to pass on the torch to Shypitka.

“He’s going to make a real good MLA,” he said. “I think people will be quite happy with him.”