By Katherine Engqvist/Black Press
The cheers coming from the crowd at the Academy of Arts on McTavish Road in North Saanich are deafening throughout the night as results from ridings are announced and BC Green Party candidates start racking up the votes.
Adam Olsen, the new MLA for Saanich North and the Islands is one of the first Green candidates to claim a seat. The energy in North Saanich is electric.
“It’s now going to be a time in B.C. politics like we haven’t seen,” Olsen said. “We exist because the other parties aren’t offering something … (and) I’m ready to work with all British Columbians.”
Throughout the campaign, Olsen noted it was the support he received that helped him get through it. “My dad would call me and be like ‘one of your signs got stollen, don’t worry I’ll go put another out there.’”
But his support wasn’t just limited to family and close friends, Green Party supporters from across the country were in attendance and lending a hand with the campaign. Before the results were announced, Olsen joked with Mike Schrenier, Green Party of Ontario leader, that the only pipelines they would build would transport beer between the two provinces.
But on a more serious note and as the votes started to be tallied, Olsen noted “this is just the start.”
His wife and partner throughout the process, Emily, is at a loss for words. “I’m just so proud of everybody,” she said. “He’s worked tirelessly for this and he’s so passionate … I know he’s meant to do this work.”
Campaign manager Aldous Perl added, “We ran a really positive campaign … I think people are tired (and) I think we can show B.C. what we’re about.”
And that won’t be an easy task.
“We’ve got a lot of work ahead. We’ve got to put a government forward that British Columbians can be proud of and i”m going to be a part of that,” Olsen said.
Missing the mark four years ago by roughly 300 votes, Olsen noted he wasn’t going to be in that position again and has spent the past term learning more about what it means to be an MLA. “They almost elected me the last time and now look where we are … I’m really excited. I came into tonight with an awful lot of confidence that we had done what it would take.”
With Green Candidates claiming larger vote counts than expected in a number of ridings across the province, Olsen added, “I think it’ going to be a wake up call for the other two parties.”
As of 11 p.m. Tuesday night and close to 3,000 votes behind, the campaign of the NDP’s Gary Holman still would not officially concede the race.
Campaign manager Scott Colbourne said after talking with Holman and supporters, “we’re holding tight on this. We’re waiting.”
BC Liberal canadidate Stephen Roberts said, “obviously there’s been a bit of a wind change in the air here …”
“We’re still waiting. We don’t need to concede at this point.”
Roberts said he hadn’t thought of his future plans, adding it was a great campaign and he’s very proud of his volunteers and supporters.
— with files from Alisa Howlett/News staff