Here are 14 ridings that could determine the B.C. election

Voters wait in line to cast their ballots both inside and outside the SHOAL Centre on election day in Sidney, B.C., on Oct. 19, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Voters in B.C. are about to be thrust into the most unconventional election in the province’s history under the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier John Horgan announced on Monday that he will send voters to the polls on Oct. 24, after weeks of deflecting the media’s questions.

Read more: British Columbians heading to the polls on Oct. 24 in fall election

Based on what’s known of the B.C. electoral map, here are 14 ridings that are expected to dictate whether the BC NDP or BC Liberals win a majority, or if we end up in another minority parliament.

Coquitlam-Burke Mountain (currently held by the BC Liberals)

Coquitlam-Burke Mountain was the tightest race in 2017: Liberal Joan Isaacs beat incumbent Jodi Wickens by a measly 87 votes.

Story continues below advertisement

Wickens is out as the BC NDP candidate, and former federal representative Fin Donnelly is in.

Donnelly won four elections as as MP in the region. He decided not to run again federally in 2019.

With the BC NDP’s popularity in Metro Vancouver and Donnelly on the ticket, the party expects to win this riding back.

Isaacs is running again for the Liberals.

Click to play video: 'Snap election? What a pandemic vote could look like in B.C.' Snap election? What a pandemic vote could look like in B.C.
Snap election? What a pandemic vote could look like in B.C – Sep 20, 2020

Cowichan Valley (currently held by the BC Greens)

Newly minted BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau will look to grow her party’s seat count across the province, while keeping an eye on her own riding.

Furstenau won the seat in 2017 with 11,475 votes on a margin of 6.1 per cent.

Story continues below advertisement

But the New Democrats have historically done well in the riding, and are hoping to shore up the internal problems that plagued them last time around.

Regional politician Lori Iannidinardo carried the orange banner in 2017, but only after a fight within the party about its mandate to run a gender- and racially diverse group of candidates. She received 9,603 votes.

The NDP have nominated North Cowichan municipal councillor Rob Douglas.

The BC Liberals finished a close third, with 8,400 votes. The Liberals have nominated Tanya Kaul, a recreation programmer with the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

Oak Bay-Gordon Head (currently held by an independent MLA, won by BC Greens in 2017)

Oak Bay-Gordon Head had been a Green riding since 2013, almost due entirely to former party leader Andrew Weaver’s own popularity.

Weaver is not running again, and the Greens have yet to nominate a contender in 2020.

It’s the only electoral district in B.C. that has elected MLAs from the Social Credit, New Democrat, Liberal and Green parties.

This time, the NDP is marking the return of a political heavyweight.

Murray Rankin represented the riding of Victoria at the federal level from 2012 to 2019 and has won the provincial nomination for the NDP.

Story continues below advertisement

The BC Liberals, who held this riding from 1996 to 2013 under Ida Chong, have nominated lawyer Roxanne Helme.

Read more: Why did B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan call an election during a pandemic?

Richmond-Queenborough (currently held by the BC Liberals)

The Richmond-Queensborough race was surprisingly close in 2017. The new riding was won by BC Liberal Jas Johal over BC NDP candidate Aman Singh by just 263 votes.

Johal is one of his party’s most recognizable MLAs and is running again.

The Richmond part of the riding was strong for the Liberals last time, while the New Westminster part leaned NDP.

The New Democrats have not yet named a candidate.

Johal’s popularity is being counted on to hold the riding for the Liberals.

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows (currently held by the BC NDP)

Getting rid of the tolls of the Port Mann Bridge, connecting Surrey to Coquitlam, got big headlines for the BC NDP in 2017.

But removing the tolls on the Golden Ears Bridge, which links Langley to Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, may have had a bigger impact.

Story continues below advertisement

That promise helped convince voters in the riding of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows to support the party’s hopeful, Lisa Beare.

Beare, who has been serving as tourism minister, beat BC Liberal incumbent Doug Bing by around 1,800 votes.

The riding has a history of being a tight race, the Liberals and NDP coming within a thousand votes of each other in the 2005, 2009 and 2013 votes.

Beare will take on two-time Maple Ridge city councillor Cheryl Ashlie.

Ashlie was one of the first BC Liberals to be nominated in 2020, and has been campaigning for months in an attempt to unseat Beare.

Story continues below advertisement

Maple Ridge-Mission (currently held by the BC NDP)

The BC NDP were simply hoping to have a chance in one of the two Maple Ridge-area ridings in 2017. Then they won both of them.

Bob D’Eith pulled off the upset over BC Liberal incumbent Marc Dalton with 325 votes. Dalton was a two-term MLA when he lost, and now represents the area in Ottawa.

The BC Liberals see this as one of the Metro Vancouver ridings they can take back from the New Democrats.

The NDP is riding high in the polls in Vancouver so far, but Maple Ridge has largely been ignored for major transit infrastructure in favour of other cities, and the mayor of Maple Ridge has been embroiled in a long battle with the province over a homeless camp.

The BC Liberals have nominated Maple Ridge city councillor Chelsa Meadus.

Fun Fact: D’Eith, a pianist, has been nominated for two Junos and has published a novel.

Courtenay-Comox (currently held by the BC NDP)

The entire 2017 election came down to Courtenay-Comox.

BC NDP candidate Ronna Rae Leonard was just nine votes ahead of BC Liberal Jim Benninger when the clock struck midnight that night.

Story continues below advertisement

At that point, the Liberals were just one riding short of a majority government and shaking their heads as to how they may lose a riding they had won by nearly 2,000 votes in 2013.

After a two-week break to count the mail-in votes, the NDP were declared the winners by 189 votes.

Leonard is running again for the NDP, while Brennan Day will carry the Liberal banner.

The BC Conservatives did surprisingly well in this riding, with 2,201 votes in 2017. It’s not yet clear whether they will be running a candidate.

Vancouver-False Creek (currently held by the BC Liberals)

On the BC NDP’s wish list of ridings they’d like to pluck from the Liberals is Vancouver-False Creek.

Story continues below advertisement

In the way is Sam Sullivan, the former Vancouver mayor, who will run again for the Liberals.

Sullivan has played a minor role for the Opposition since Andrew Wilkinson took over as party leader, but he remains well-known in his riding.

He won by just 415 votes in 2017 over the NDP’s Morgane Oger. It was a step back, considering he’d won by 2,247 votes in 2013.

The NDP have nominated Brenda Bailey. Bailey co-founded the first woman-owned and run video game studio in Canada

Port Moody-Coquitlam (currently held by the BC NDP)

The BC NDP spent a lot of time focusing in on Port Moody-Coquitlam in 2017 and it paid off.

Former city councillor Rick Glumac made the successful jump to provincial politics and defeated incumbent Linda Reimer by a little more than 1,800 votes.

Reimer lost momentum in the closing days of the campaign after comments that’d she made about supporting two-tiered healthcare became public.

Glumac has had a relatively low profile on the provincial stage so far. He will take on Liberal hopeful James Robertson, a veteran and leadership coach.

Click to play video: 'Global BC political panel: Sept 20' Global BC political panel: Sept 20
Global BC political panel: Sept 20 – Sep 20, 2020

Fraser-Nicola (currently held by the BC Liberals)

The BC NDP is trying to beat both itself and the BC Liberals in this riding.

Story continues below advertisement

The party recently nominated Indigenous leader and lawyer Aaron Sumexheltza as its candidate, which prompted the entire constituency association to quit.

The reason why was Harry Lali.

The longtime NDP MLA wanted to run again there and has the support of the party executive.

Sumexhelta was Horgan’s preferred candidate in 2017, but Lali ended up winning the nomination, only to lose on election night.

Sumexhelta will need the support of the area’s most prominent New Democrats if he hopes to win the day.

Liberal MLA Jackie Tegart is running again. She beat Lali by 522 votes in 2017 and by 614 votes in 2013.

But Lali has shown that the NDP can win the region, which includes Hope and Merritt, if they can avoid losing to themselves.

Columbia River-Revelstoke (currently held by the BC Liberals)

The NDP struggled three years ago outside of Metro Vancouver.

It lost two seats on Vancouver Island, one seat each in northern B.C. and the Rocky Mountains.

Columbia River-Revelstoke was held by longtime NDP MLA Norm Macdonald, but he didn’t run in 2017.

Story continues below advertisement

Doug Clovechok, who lost to Macdonald in 2013, turned around his result and beat Gerry Taft by nearly 1,400 votes.

The race was an unusual one: Four days before voting day, then-mayor of Invermere Taft was found to have committed defamation and was ordered to pay $75,000 in damages for comments he made about an animal rights activist.

The Taft mess is behind the party now, and Revelstoke city councillor Nicole Cherlet will now run for the BC NDP.

The party has won the riding in five of the last seven elections and is looking at the area as a possible gain outside Metro Vancouver.

Story continues below advertisement

Burnaby North (currently held by the BC NDP)

It took the BC NDP five elections to win back Burnaby North. Now, the party is just looking to hold onto it.

Janet Routledge will run again in the riding that is bordered by Vancouver to the west and the Burrard Inlet to the north.

Routledge, the BC NDP’s deputy whip while in government, beat out longtime incumbent Richard T. Lee in 2017 by 2,158 votes.

Vancouver-Fraserview (currently held by the BC NDP)

As goes Vancouver-Fraserview, so goes the election. Since the riding was created in 1991, its MLA has helped form government.

In 2017, it was a heavyweight battle between former Vancouver city councillor George Chow and then-attorney general Suzanne Anton.

Chow, who won by 1,502 votes, is running again in one of the province’s most diverse ridings.

The BC Liberals have nominated David Grewal, who was the highest vote-getter to not end up on Vancouver city council in B.C.’s municipal election in 2018.

He is hoping to have better luck at the provincial level.

Story continues below advertisement

Boundary-Similkameen (currently held by the BC Liberals)

This is bit of a sneaky riding.

BC Liberal Linda Larson won the seat by 2,238 votes in 2017. But she isn’t running again, putting the electoral district on the NDP’s radar.

The New Democrats took the seat in 1991, a carryover from Bill Barlee’s victory in a 1988 byelection, and in 1996.

Petra Veintimilla is running for the BC Liberals. Veintimilla is a current Oliver councillor.

The BC NDP have interview Roly Russell, director for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.

Sponsored content