It’s historically been a Conservative riding, and it will stay that way after incumbent Dan Albas easily won the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola on Monday night.
“I love working as a Member of Parliament and I’m so excited to have another mandate,” Albas said to his supporters and media shortly after winning the riding.
“I love people, I love working on problems, so I am looking forward to doing the people’s work in Ottawa. I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Albas, who was first elected to Parliament in 2011, captured 30,364 votes. That represents 47.9 per cent of the popular vote.
“I believe they’ve (constituents) said they appreciate my work as a Member of Parliament, that’s very gratifying,” a jubilant Albas said at Wings restaurant, where his supporters gathered to help celebrate the victory.
Albas’ closest contender was Mary Ann Murphy, who ran for the Liberal Party.
The political newcomer garnered 15,843 votes, roughly half the amount Albas did.
“We’ll have to do the analysis later, but certainly as the incumbent he has done very well,” she told Global News. “I have to congratulate him.
“This is a democracy and the people have spoken, so we will see how that bodes in the future.”
The NDP’s Joan Phillip came in third at 10,772 votes, or 17 per cent of the popular vote.
The Penticton Indian Band councillor and wife of Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said over the course of the campaign, she heard time and time again people were ready for change.
But in the end, that voice was not strong enough to tip the vote.
“I think people have difficulty with two things,” she said. “Loss and change. We need to vote with our hearts.”
Green candidate Robert Mellalieu came in fourth with 4,910 votes. And while that’s almost double the number of votes he captured in 2015, it wasn’t enough to move up in the ranks.
Despite not winning any local seats, Green supporters in the Central Okanagan celebrated their success nationally as the party managed to pick up an additional seat bringing the total to three — it’s best result to date.
“I’m feeling positive because, yes, we are getting some seats. But more importantly, we are coming in very close seconds and thirds, which really means the popular vote is going up,” Mellalieu said.
While thanking his campaign team, volunteers and supporters, Albas outlined his priorities for the upcoming term.
Those priorities include work on stronger protections for Okanagan Lake against the invasive zebra and quagga mussel threat, as well as an issue that he said needs immediate attention: the struggling forestry industry and the need for a new softwood lumber agreement with the Americans.
“Right now, forestry is going through a crisis,” Albas said. “The provincial government and 21 mayors in British Columbia have said that the federal government has not come to the table to support these communities, so I’m going to be a voice for forestry.”
The People’s Party of Canada candidate, Allan Duncan, received 1,138 votes, while the Libertarian Party’s candidate, Jesse Regier, captured 209 votes.
Much to no one’s surprise, Dan Albas is heading back to Ottawa.
The Conservative MP won a third term in office, capturing 47.9 per cent of the vote in the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.
With 30,364 votes, he easily outdistanced Liberal candidate Mary Ann Murphy, who placed second at 25 per cent and 15,843 votes.
In third was Joan Phillip of the NDP at 17.0 per cent (10,772), with Robert Mellalieu of the Green Party in fourth at 7.7 per cent (4,910).
“This has been a really long campaign. It always feels longer than it is,” Albas said Monday night. “But I want to take a moment to step back and thank all of the other candidates who ran for office in Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.
“It is so easy to complain about our system, or our democracy, but it really takes guts to stand up in front of your neighbours, in front of your family and friends, and people you don’t know and tell them you have a vision for this country.”
Albas then said “from the view of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, all I can say is Mr. Trudeau has received a stern rebuke for his policies. Now there’s going to be a lot of work to discuss how we’re going to be moving forward, but all I can say is I will continue to champion your voices in Ottawa.
“I will make sure I’m as accessible as possible, come back to be as accountable as possible, and, in this new, 43rd Parliament, to get as much as results for the people of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, so you can feel proud of the representation you have.”
In 2011, Albas won in a landslide with 53.6 per cent of the vote. The NDP were second at 24.1 per cent, with the Liberals in third at 10.9 per cent.
In 2015, his numbers dipped to 39.6, with the Liberals second at 37.2 per cent and the NDP third at 19.3 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Green Party increased its support from 3.9 per cent in 2015 to 7.7 per cent in 2019.
“I want to get a piece of the pie chart, the popular vote,” Green Party riding candidate Robert Mellalieu told Global News on Monday night.
If the Green Party can reach that threshold, Mellalieu said he could approach the MP and say “there’s a lot of people in your riding that want something done, and this piece of the pie is going to get bigger unless you listen to what I have to say.
“That’s where, in the next four years, I’ll have a bigger influence with (Albas) and we’ll get more push.”
Mellalieu added he wished Green support “was growing faster and get to be half the pie; that would be perfect. But at this point, I’m going to be happy with the piece of the pie growing and growing, and the Green Party getting a better reputation all the time.”