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Politics

Liberals bend but don’t break in Metro Vancouver, party holds on to 11 of 16 seats

Global News’ Chief Political Correspondent David Akin breaks down an historic result in the 2019 Federal Election, as the Liberals are poised to win a minority government, despite losing the popular vote.

The Liberals bent in Metro Vancouver, but they didn’t break.

The party has managed to hang on to 11 of the 16 seats it had picked up as the party swept to a historic majority in 2015. The Conservatives climbed from one to eight seats, while the NDP lost ground, sliding from five to four.

There are 24 seats up for grabs in the area.

READ MORE: Liberals dominated Metro Vancouver’s outer suburbs in 2015. Can they hold ‘B.C.’s 905?’

The challenge for the Liberals was to lock down 2015’s gains in traditionally Tory ridings such as Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam; Cloverdale—Langley City; Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge; and Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon.

That didn’t happen — at least not completely.

Federal Election 2019: Despite election win, Wilson-Raybould facing challenges as an independent MP
Federal Election 2019: Despite election win, Wilson-Raybould facing challenges as an independent MP

Liberal losses

The Conservatives held on to the few seats they managed to win in 2015, such as Richmond Centre and Langley—Aldergrove.

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And they began to chip away at the edges of the Liberals’ regional supremacy.

The Liberals’ 2015 surge included wins in ridings like Vancouver South and North Vancouver that Liberals have won in the past. But it also included a near sweep of Surrey, and pickups in outer-suburban ridings traditionally hostile to the Liberals, some with decades-long histories of sending exclusively Conservative or Reform MPs to Ottawa.

South Surrey—White Rock, a key riding the Liberals picked up in a 2017 byelection, fell to the Conservatives, where popular former White Rock mayor and BC Liberal MLA Gordie Hogg couldn’t hold off a push by Kerry-Lynne Findlay.

“We worked really hard, we knocked on about 35,000 doors, we met people, we talked to them one-on-one. I think the hard work made the difference,” said Findlay.

READ MORE: Canada election 2019: Results from the federal election

And in traditionally right-leaning Cloverdale—Langley City, the Conservative’s Tamara Jansen defeated Liberal John Aldag, despite facing criticism during the campaign for “extreme” social conservative positions.

“But I know that we’ve done all this work for the right reasons,” said Jansen. “We want to ensure that our nation continues to be a place that embraces freedom. Freedom to speak our minds, freedom to worship, freedom to raise our families as we see fit.”

In Steveston—Richmond East, Liberal Joe Peschisolido fell to Conservative Kenny Chiu in a rematch of the 2015 election. Peschisolido had won the riding by nearly 3,000 votes in that prior contest.

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And in the northeast, the Conservatives easily marched back into traditional territory.

Conservative Mark Dalton defeated Liberal incumbent Dan Ruimy in Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge by a margin of more than 2,000 votes.

READ MORE: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh re-elected in Burnaby South

And in Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, the Tories’ Brad Vis nearly doubled the vote share of Liberal incumbent Jati Sidhu in a rematch of their 2015 contest.

And in perhaps the most painful loss for the Liberals, Jody Wilson-Raybould — the former Liberal justice minister and attorney general who was at the heart of the SNC-Lavalin Affair, won re-election, defeating a concerted attempt by Liberal Taleeb Noormohamed to retake the riding.

Key holds

It wasn’t all bad news for the Liberals.

The party held in its traditional Vancouver strongholds of Vancouver Quadra and Vancouver Centre, and held off a Conservative attempt to recapture Vancouver South.

Liberal Terry Beech managed to fend off a comeback attempt by former NDP MP Svend Robinson in Burnaby—North Seymour, the epicentre of the debate over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, despite strong opposition to the project locally.

READ MORE: Liberals re-elected in Burnaby North-Seymour where Trans Mountain pipeline looms

Robinson, who served as an MP from 1979 to 2004, had made environmental issues the centerpiece of his campaign.

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“There are people on my campaign team that want to see the Trans Mountain pipeline built, the are people on my campaign team that don’t want to see the Trans Mountain pipeline built,” said Beech after securing his victory.

“I have said, with regards to that issue throughout, and I think I’ve demonstrated with my actions that my number one concern my number one priority is making sure that my community have great representation. that’s exactly what they’re going to get.”

In West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, the Liberals held despite incumbent Pamela Goldsmith-Jones not running again.

Federal Election 2019: NDP Jenny Kwan reacts to Liberal minority
Federal Election 2019: NDP Jenny Kwan reacts to Liberal minority

Liberal Patrick Weiler held off a challenge by Conservative Gabrielle Loren in a riding that has sent Conservatives or Reformers to Ottawa in five of the last seven elections.

The party also held on to Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, a key target for the Conservatives and an area that was held by former Tory cabinet minister James Moore for a decade.

Incumbent Ron McKinnon was able to hold on to fend off Conservative Nicholas Insley, but just barely.

READ MORE: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May wins re-election in Saanich-Gulf Islands

And the party held firm in the northern reaches of Surrey.

In Fleetwood—Port Kells, Liberal Ken Hardie cruised to victory over the Conservatives Shinder Purewal.

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“It was a lot tighter than it was in 2015. We were expecting that,” said Hardie, who attributed the party’s get out the vote effort to his win.

“We identified a lot of Liberal support in this riding, it was huge. But in 2015 the areas that supported us the most heavily had the lowest turnout. So we knew strategically this was something we had to change this time, because we knew it wasn’t going to be a blowout.”

In Surrey—Newton and Surrey Centre, it was the NDP the Liberals fended off. Incumbent Sukh Dhaliwal easily defeated New Democrat Harjit Singh Gill, and in Surrey Centre, Randeep Singh Sarai held through a tighter contest with Sarjit Singh Saran.

READ MORE: All 4 Liberal cabinet ministers in B.C. hold onto their seats

Cabinet minister Carla Qualtrough also won a key victory for the Liberals, holding on to Delta — a region with a decades-long history of voting right-of-centre.

Conservative Tanya Corbet, a longtime Tsawwassen First Nation government worker, mounted a concerted campaign but fell at least 2,500 votes shy.