Kevin Falcon has soared to victory in a crucial byelection in Vancouver-Quilchena earning his way back into the BC legislature.
Falcon received 6,200 votes, 58.6 per cent, with all polls reporting.
NDP candidate Jeanette Ashe was second with 2,590 votes. Green Party candidate Wendy Hayko received 1,025 votes.
“Tonight, tonight is an exciting night,” Falcon said after his win Saturday. “Tonight we got a wonderful message from the voters in Vancouver-Quilchena that said it is time for an end to the empty rhetoric. It is time for a government that gets it.”
“No matter who you pray to or who you love you will be welcome in the new BC Liberal party.”
A byelection was triggered in the riding after former BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson stepped down as an MLA.
It will now take a few weeks before Elections BC can ratify the election results.
But the expectation from the BC Liberals is Falcon will be in the legislature before the end of the spring session.
Falcon’s victory will allow him to square off with Premier John Horgan during question period and should allow him to participate in estimates.
Estimates are an opportunity for the opposition to question Horgan on a wide range of topics for an extended period of time in the legislature.
Falcon claimed a decisive victory during the BC Liberal leadership campaign falling just short of winning on the first ballot in February. Falcon ultimately was named the winner on the fifth ballot.
Falcon, who served as a minister in both Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark’s BC Liberal governments left politics in 2013 and resigned his seat in the legislature. He previously served as the MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale.
The NDP attempted to knock Falcon off by pecking away at the previous government’s history of cuts.
In a statement Ashe thanked the people of Vancouver-Quilchena and all the candidates, taking some parting shots on the way out.
“I’d like to congratulate Kevin Falcon on his return to the legislature. I’m proud of the campaign we ran focusing on the BC NDP’s record of working for people and how it’s different from Kevin Falcon’s record of working for the wealthy and well-connected,” Ashe said.
“I gave him an opportunity to address his record of cuts that hurt women and people seeking mental health support, his opposition to the speculation tax, and his clear welcoming of anti-science climate denial in his party. Unfortunately he avoided accountability on all these issues and he even avoided a debate.”
The byelection also marked a significant change in the way Elections BC counted votes.
It was the first provincial byelection in B.C. conducted under the modernized B.C. Election Act.
Electronic voting books and tabulators were used allowing Elections BC to report results faster on election night.
“Lessons learned from administering the Vancouver-Quilchena byelection will help Elections BC prepare for the next provincial general election in B.C., currently scheduled for October 2024,” Elections BC said in a statement.