Holman ready to begin life as a new MLA

The NDP won Saanich North and the Islands for the first time with only 163 votes

NDP candidate Gary Holman saw his lead in Saanich North and the Islands go from 52 on May 14 to 163 on May 29, during Elections B.C.’s final count of the votes in this month’s provincial election.

That makes Holman the riding’s first NDP MLA. He defeated B.C. Liberal candidate Stephen Roberts. Green Party candidate Adam Olsen gained some ground but was some 216 votes off of second place.

“It’s resolved,” said a relieved-sounding Holman in an interview with the News Review on Monday, June 3.

“I suppose it’s a good thing that it’s resolved. It was a bit of a roller coaster and now I have to think of myself as an MLA.”

Holman has been on the losing end of provincial elections for nearly a decade and now he admitted it’s taking time for him to adjust to his new role. Already he is being invited to local events as the local MLA. He attended last Friday’s volunteer appreciation event, hosted by Beacon Community Services.

News of his 163-vote lead came from the NDP constituency association, whose members were monitoring the Elections B.C. count. And as of 2:26 p.m. on May 29, Elections B.C. made that count official.

Allan Collier, president of the NDP constituency association said Holman was in Vancouver for a caucus meeting that day.

“It was a very interesting race,” said Collier. “The vote was split three ways and it never let up.”

Collier said Holman will be looking now to open a constituency office and settle into his new role.

“It is a bit precedent-setting,” Collier said.

Holman won in Saanich North and the Islands with 10,515 votes, followed by Roberts with 10,352. Olsen placed third with 10,136 votes and independent candidate Scott McEachern was fourth with 599 votes.

Voter turnout was high, as more than 31,000 people cast ballots out of an estimated voter pool in this riding of around 44,000.

For the past 12 years, the riding was held by B.C. Liberal MLA Murray Coell, who had announced prior to the election that he was retiring from politics.

Roberts told the Peninsula News Review that since most voters in the riding didn’t vote for the NDP, Holman will have his work cut out for him.

“He is going to have to try to find the common ground here in order to get anything done,” Roberts said.

Holman agreed, adding no matter who would have won in Saanich North and the Islands, they would have faced the same vote split.

“I did see a consensus locally on issues like B.C. Ferries, affordable housing, transportation and local food,” Holman said. “People voted in different ways, yes, and I have to be mindful of that.”

He added he will be approaching a variety of community members and groups to talk about issues such as ferry fares and service levels — a matter he said crossed party lines in this election.

Holman said B.C. Ferries represents an example of something the NDP will be watching this year, most notably when the B.C. Liberals look to pass their budget in a planned summer sitting of the legislature.

As for his role with the NDP opposition caucus, Holman said he’s open to almost anything, but his main focus will be setting up shop on the Peninsula.

His constituency association is looking for office space in Sidney and is even considering Coell’s former office, as it has acted as an MLA’s headquarters for some 15 years.

“As a new MLA, there’s a lot of work to do,” said Holman.

Asked if he would consider opening an office on Saltspring Island, Holman said he’s considering all of his options. Holman does live on Saltspring but added he’s looking at renting a place to Vancouver Islands for practical reasons.

Roberts said the final vote count was clear and he has no plans to challenge the result any further.

“We know there aren’t that many votes that could be found questionable — at least not 163 of them. I’m pretty happy with how the system worked.”

Roberts, who said he is retired from the workforce right now, added he will be helping shore up the B.C. Liberals in the riding over the short-term. Long-term, he said he’ll be looking to do come volunteer and community work. As for running again, he said he is currently considering it.

“But four years is a long time.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sidney blocks off parking spaces to create more sidewalk

Additional measures to create more outdoor space for restaurants and cafe on way

Province buys Paul’s Motor Inn to house Victoria’s homeless population

Inn is the second hotel the province has purchased to support vulnerable community

Sidney/North Saanich RCMP seize vehicle stolen from New Westminster

Man arrested on Resthaven Drive charged with possession of property obtained by crime

Telus headquarters to come to Victoria in ‘landmark building’ development

City sells land on coroner of Douglas and Humboldt streets for $8.1 million

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Vancouver Island school principal mourns family killed during US protests

Jelks says he’s grateful for the outpouring of support from the community in the wake of this tragedy

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

Considerations made to keep Island community’s drive-by birthday celebrations going

Trucks will tone it down or not use horns at all to bring some joy to kids and older folks

Most Read