by EVAN MATTHEWS
The 2017 B.C. Election is in the rearview mirror, and while the Prince George-Valemount riding never really seemed to be in doubt, the province as a whole is subject to a very different political landscape.
Incumbent MLA Shirley Bond has been re-elected once again for the Prince George-Valemount riding; it will be her fifth consecutive term representing the region.
Preliminary voting results indicate Bond taking 58.7 per cent of the vote over NDP candidate Natalie Fletcher (29.22 per cent) and the B.C. Green’s candidate Nan Kendy (12.09 per cent).
Preliminary results show Bond garnered 10,094 votes total, to Fletcher’s 5,025 and Kendy’s 2,080.
During her 15 years in provincial politics, Bond served in various positions within the B.C. Liberal Government.
She has served as Minister for an array of ministries including Public Safety and Solicitor General, Transportation and Infrastructure, Education, Health Services, and Advanced Education.
Between 2004-09, Bond was appointed Deputy Premier under Premier Gordon Campbell.
Bond was also B.C.’s Attorney General from 2011-13 under Premier Christy Clark, the first woman to ever be appointed to the position in the history of the province.
Final voting results will not be available until after the conclusion of final count, which starts on May 22, according to the Elections B.C. website.
A perfect split?
While the Prince George-Valemount riding is all but confirmed, the final voting results could change the outcome in a major way, as Elections B.C. is expecting recounts in two of the 87 provincial electoral districts (Courtenay-Comox and Vancouver-False Creek), while Elections B.C. recently rejected requests for recounts in four other ridings, according to media reports.
In Vancouver False-Creek, Liberal Sam Sullivan won 9,332 votes over the NDP’s Morgane Oger with 8,772.
In the tightest race of the election, preliminary results for Courtney-Comox riding show the NDP’s Ronne-Rae Leonard coming out on top over the Liberals Jim Benninger with a difference of nine votes – an outcome that could change after the recount.
Preliminary election results show the B.C. Liberals forming a minority government with 43 legislative seats, though the possibility of a Liberal Majority still exists when factoring in absentee ballots and recounts.
The B.C. Liberals have already confirmed Christy Clark will stay on as Premier for the time being.
The B.C. NDP Party won 41 legislative seats, while the B.C. Greens won an unprecedented three seats in the legislature.
If preliminary results hold, the B.C. Greens could play a major role in helping decide who forms government.
Coalitions between the Greens and the Liberals, or the Greens and the NDP are both possible, as is the chance of a coalition involving all three parties.
No party has made any official announcements, though B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver said the party would be open to working with anyone, and that changing the voting system to proportional representation is of a high priority to the party — a view they share with the NDPs.
The Greens would of course lose influence if final results show a Liberal majority.
Preliminary results show the Liberals winning 40.84 per cent of the popular vote, while the NDP took 39.86 per cent and the Greens garnered 16.75 per cent.
There are 179,380 certification envelopes containing absentee ballots cast across the province, according to Elections B.C., and the absentee ballots will be counted at final count.
Elections B.C. says it may make adjustments to accurately reflect election night results, and the screening of certification envelopes, re-iterating results will not be finalized until final May 22 count is completed.