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B.C. ridings to watch

B.C. is expected to play a key role in the federal election. There are several ridings that could change hands on election day.

Global BC Legislative Bureau Chief Keith Keith Baldrey takes a look at 12 of them:

Fleetwood-Port Kells

The area has elected Reform/Alliance/Conservative MPs since eastern Surrey was given its own seat beginning in the 1997 election. Provincially, the area has generally supported the provincial Liberal party by narrow margins.

Nina Grewal has been the longtime incumbent but retired RCMP inspector Garry Begg of the NDP and former TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie of the Liberals are hoping to pick up the seat.

Surrey Centre

The riding was held by Chuck Cadman, who was elected as a Reform, Canadian Alliance, and independent candidate in the 1997, 2000, and 2004 elections. Since then, the riding has alternated between the NDP and the Conservatives.

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In the last election NDP candidate Jasbir Sandhu defeated Conservative MP Dona Cadman by four per cent to take this riding, back when it was called Surrey North.

A Liberal resurgence could put this seat in play with Randeep Singh Sarai potentially taking it from Sandhu and the NDP.

Cloverdale-Langley City

This is a new seat, but had this riding existed in the last election, the Conservatives would have taken it by 31 per cent more votes than the NDP (based on polling results).

Like other ridings in the area, if numbers trend in the right direction for the Liberals across the country, candidate John Aldag has a chance at an upset.

South Surrey-White Rock

Former Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts should be a shoo-in. But there have been reports that her campaign may be in a bit of a trouble. She has taken out personal radio ads, which can sometimes be a sign that the candidate may think that what’s going on with the campaign isn’t working so well.

WATCH: Ridings to watch in Vancouver Island

North Island-Powell River

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A large, somewhat redrawn riding, North Island-Powell River is another Vancouver Island district that has been close in recent elections. This had been the home riding for John Duncan, who has represented this area for most of the last 25 years, but is now running in Courtenay-Alberni. Prior to Duncan, NDP candidates were elected for several decades so this could be a tight race between the Tories and NDP.

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Cowichan-Malahat-Langford

Like North Island-Power River, voters in Cowichan-Malahat-Langford will elect a new MP in 2015 and it is expected to be a very close race between NDP candidate Alistair MacGregor and Tory Martin Barker.

The Liberal Party’s original candidate in this riding, Maria Manna, resigned over a Facebook post questioning the origins of the 9-11 attacks.

Nanaimo-Ladysmith

This is a new seat created from Nanaimo-Cowichan (which elected NDP MP Jean Crowder by 10.6 per cent in 2011) and Nanaimo-Alberni (which elected Conservative MP James Lunney by 8.1 per cent in 2011). Neither of them is running here.

The Greens are expected to be a factor in this riding. They had a large rally in the area recently and candidate Paul Manly is hoping to play spoiler.

Victoria

The Greens are expected to make a strong showing in Victoria, which may explain why NDP leader Tom Mulcair brought his campaign to the B.C. capital over the weekend to support candidate Murray Rankin.

Liberal candidate Cheryl Thomas dropped out of the race although her name will still appear on the ballot. But it will be interesting to see where the 8,000 people who voted Liberal in the last election will park their vote on election night.

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WATCH: Ridings to watch in Vancouver

Vancouver Granville

This is a new seat created from all five previous Vancouver ridings. In 2011, voters within this new riding’s boundaries voted 35.4 per cent Conservative, 30.1 per cent Liberal, and 24.4 per cent NDP.

Four years later, Vancouver Granville looks like a tight race with Liberal candidate Jody Wilson-Raybould and the NDP’s Mira Oreck both thinking they have a good chance of winning.

Vancouver South

Generally a swing seat, Vancouver South had a Liberal MP from 1962 to 1972 and 1993 to 2011, and Progressive Conservative MP John Allen Fraser from 1972 to 1993.

This year’s election looks like it will be another battle between the Tories and Liberals.

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Liberal Harjit Singh Sajjan has surged in the polls, giving the Grits an opportunity to take the seat from Conservative incumbent Wai Young.

READ MORE: Battleground B.C.: Ridings to watch as parties tussle for votes

Burnaby North Seymour

This riding takes parts from the previous ridings of Burnaby-New Westminster (which elected NDP MP Peter Julian by 13.8 per cent in 2011) and Burnaby-Douglas (which elected NDP MP Kennedy Stewart by 2 per cent in 2011).

Had this riding existed in the last election, the NDP would have taken it by 4.4 per cent more votes than the Conservatives (based on data from polling stations).

Green Party candidate Lynne Quarmby could be an X-factor. The Simon Fraser University cell biologist who made headlines when she was arrested protesting Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain pipeline, makes it a much more interesting riding, especially because the Liberal and NDP leaders have been cautious about coming out too strongly either for or against pipeline development.

Surrey Newton

Jinny Sims won this seat in a tight three-way race last election (when it was known was Newton-North Delta), defeating two-term Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal by 2 per cent.

As the Liberals surge in the poll nationally, Dhaliwal may win the re-match as voters explore the idea of voting strategically in an effort to unseat the Harper government.

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-With files from Justin McElroy,Patrick Cain and Anna Mehler Paperny and Keith Baldrey

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