Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau extended his majority government even into the B.C. Interior Monday, as Liberal Stephen Fuhr knocked off Conservative incumbent Ron Cannan in Kelowna-Lake Country.
Trudeau thanked supporters in his Montreal riding, and began preparations to implement his new government policies after nine and a half years of Conservative rule in Ottawa.
“For three years we had a very old-fashioned strategy,” Trudeau said. “We met with and talked with as many Canadians as we could, and we listened.”
Major commitments by the Liberal campaign include legalizing recreational marijuana sales and running three years of deficits to build infrastructure across the country.
Trudeau has also promised to scrap the Conservative government’s approval for the Northern Gateway pipeline and enforce a ban on oil tanker traffic on B.C.’s north coast.
The Conservative Party issued a statement that Stephen Harper would resign as leader but would stay on as MP in his Calgary riding, where he won a seventh term.
“While tonight’s result is not what we had hoped for, the Canadian people are never wrong,” Harper told supporters, adding his congratulations to Trudeau.
On Vancouver Island, seven-time Conservative MP John Duncan was knocked off by NDP challenger Gord Johns in Courtenay-Alberni, one of the new seats created for the 2015 election.
While the Liberals picked up several Lower Mainland seats, traditional voting patterns held up in much of the province. Conservatives Cathy McLeod (Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo) and Mel Arnold (North Okanagan-Shuswap) won their seats.
In Victoria, NDP incumbent Murray Rankin held off a challenge from the Green Party’s Jo-Ann Roberts in a seat where the Liberal candidate resigned.
Green Party leader Elizabeth May was re-elected in Saanich-Gulf Islands.
Vancouver Island saw six of seven ridings go to the NDP. Saanich-Gulf Islands was held by May. In her election night speech in downtown Victoria, May said voters’ desire to oust the Conservatives probably hurt her party.
“Strategic voting was the single main factor [working against Green], particularly in B.C. and also in Guelph,” she said.
“As my daughter said, [strategic voting] had ‘truthiness’ about it.”
Tim Kane, the Liberal candidate in Saanich-Gulf Islands, placed third and says he will return to his business life now that the election is over. He is, however, relieved to see the level of change across the country.
“The Liberal majority, it’s a huge sigh of relief to have a Prime Minister to speak to diversity in Canada and to welcome others — including the Conservatives — as neighbours,” he said on election night.
Kane said voters were frustrated, leading to that large turnout at the polls.
While disappointed the Liberals didn’t fare better locally, Kane noted the part in this riding almost tripled its share of the vote from the 2011 campaign.
The NDP’s Alicia Cormier, who placed fourth in Saanich-Gulf Islands, lamented the practice of strategic voting.
“It had a big impact,” she said.
Cormier noted her supporters had estimated a better voter response Oct. 19, after hearing from people throughout the campaign that they were looking for change.
However, that message, she continued, did not seem to translate into local votes for her party.
Elsewhere on the Island, the NDP maintained or gained seats in the House. Former Conservative seats in the Nanaimo-Parksville area and North Island, both went orange in this election.
The NDP held the B.C. coast, with Rachel Blaney winning North Island-Powell River and veteran North Coast NDP MP Nathan Cullen re-elected in Skeena-Bulkley Valley.
— by Tom Fletcher, with files from Steven Heywood/Peninsula News Review