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

Ghostriders extend win streak to eight games

The action and energy grew exponentially at Friday night’s Ghostriders game. The… Continue reading

Hands on avalanche training for FSS students

On Thursday, January 9 the day began with a golden sunrise and… Continue reading

Friday fatality at Fernie Alpine Resort

It’s the second person to die in a tree well at a ski resort in B.C. in the past week.

Two weekend rescues for Fernie SAR

Fernie Search and Rescue (SAR) was activated twice this past weekend to… Continue reading

To Australia from Fernie, helping those back home

With her home country going up in flames over 13,000 kilometres away,… Continue reading

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Protesters block B.C. government building entrance to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

A letter with four demands was delivered to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

Most Read