The BC Green party looks unlikely to expand its seat count in the 2020 provincial election but appears to be on track to make history with their first seat off Vancouver Island.
With all ballot boxes counted, former Gibsons town councillor Jeremy Valeriote had a 604-vote lead over BC Liberal incumbent Jordan Sturdy. Mail-in and absentee ballots won’t be counted for at least 13 days.
“I’m just ecstatic to have been gifted the trust and confidence of the people of this riding,” Valeriote told Global News on Saturday.
“It really says a lot that the Green message is resonating, that the scope is expanding.”
It was a bittersweet night for the party, which lost Oak Bay-Gordon Head, former party leader Andrew Weaver’s old riding, to the NDP.
But newly minted party leader Sonia Furstenau — who was thrust into an election just seven days after starting the job — held onto her Cowichan Valley riding, as did incumbent Green Adam Olsen in Saanich North and the Islands.
“The NDP engineered this election to get a majority and wipe out their opponents. They were half successful,” Fursteanau told supporters Saturday night.
“What these results are showing is that British Columbians are not willing to give the government a pass on things like climate change or old-growth protection or the holes in the COVID recovery plan.”
The Greens have had their eye on the West Vancouver riding since 2001 when they finished in second.
They’ve finished second in three of four elections since then but were never able to come within striking distance until now.
“It’s really exciting,” Jonina Campbell, executive director of the BC Greens, told Global News.
“It demonstrates that we’re not a Vancouver Island party and that we are really going to resonate with folks outside that area and start to build from that.”
The Greens also have reason to be cheery about their performance elsewhere in the province: the party finished in second place in no less than 14 ridings.
One of those ridings, Nelson-Creston, remains too close to call with Green candidate Nicole Charlwood trailing New Democrat Brittny Anderson by 934 votes before mail-in ballots are counted.
Overall the Greens scored about 16 per cent of the popular vote.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots were requested across B.C. this election. As mail-in ballots cannot be counted until after election night, this may change the outcome of these projections.