Surrey’s nine ridings once again proved to be a significant bellwether for another provincial election, as the New Democratic Party won seven seats on Saturday, including one flip in Surrey-Cloverdale, by former city councillor Mike Starchuk.
Among the key issues the NDP promised in the snap, one-month, online-based pandemic campaign were: the business plan approval for a new Cloverdale hospital; matching federal funds to build the Phase II SkyTrain extension to Langley; eliminating portables in schools; and keeping bridges toll-free (including a new Massey tunnel crossing). An NDP win also means the municipality’s police transition will continue on without an imposed referendum, as promised by the BC Liberals.
While thousands of mail-in ballots have yet to be counted in each of the city’s nine ridings, the margins of victory are enough for pollsters to declare each race over.
Just over 1.2 million people voted Saturday, while Elections BC had received just under 500,000 mail-in ballots that are yet to be counted.
As of Sunday, the NDP is leading in 55 of 87 ridings, for a clear majority government. However there are some close races that could swing some seats after the final tally, expected in mid-November. The BC Liberals maintain leads in 29 ridings while the Green Party has significant leads in three ridings. The BC Liberals did not concede defeat Saturday night and Premier John Horgan will await the final count.
Starchuk defeated BC Liberal incumbent Marvin Hunt with 50% of the vote to 36% (Greens took 9% while Conservatives took 4% of the vote).
All NDP incumbents won in Surrey, otherwise.
Jagrup Brar won in Surrey-Fleetwood with 59% of the vote over BC Liberal and Surrey school trustee Gary Thind, who had made headlines after his campaign was alleged to have collected personal data on voters. A BC Elections investigation turned up no violations.
Gary Begg won in a more quiet campaign in Surrey-Guildford, garnering 60% of the vote.
Rachna Singh took 56% of the vote to the BC Liberals’ 44% in a riding that had no Green Party candidate.
Jinny Sims also had some breathing room without a Green competitor, taking in 53% of the vote, over well-known BC Liberal challenger Dr. Gulzar Cheema (44%).
A third riding with no Green candidate was Surrey-Whalley, however veteran NDP MLA and Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Bruce Ralston easily won his fifth straight election with 69% of the vote.
Minister of Labour Harry Bains also easily won his fifth straight election, in Surrey-Newton, with 60% of the vote.
Meanwhile, South Surrey remained BC Liberal territory. In Surrey South incumbent Stephanie Cadieux won her third straight term with 49% of the vote, while newcomer Trevor Halford, a public affairs specialist for the Trans Mountain pipeline project, won the region’s closest race, in Surrey-White Rock, against NDP challenger Bryn Smith, with a 40% to 36% victory (with Greens picking up 15% and independent Megan Smith receiving up 7% of the vote). There were 11,206 mail-ballots requested in Surrey-White Rock, which have yet to be counted. Elections BC stated it had received approximately 69% of packages (or, about 500,000) issued, as of October 23.