The B.C. New Democratic Party came up with two wins in provincial by-elections on Thursday, one of them in a riding that has never elected a left-leading representative to the legislature in Victoria.
Former Mayor of Port Moody Joe Trasolini won a decisive victory in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam, where he took 54 per cent of the vote. In Chilliwack-Hope, a riding where the NDP has never won, the right- and centre-right vote was split between the Liberal and Conservative candidates. The benefit went to the NDP’s Gwen O’Mahony, who took the seat with support from 41 per cent of voters.
“This is going to send a clear message, the NDP is growing,” said NDP Leader Adrian Dix on Thursday, quoted by the CBC.
B.C. Premier and Liberal leader Christy Clarke blamed her party’s by-election losses on a split in the right-leaning vote. “It’s never been clearer that only a unified free enterprise coalition can defeat the NDP,” she said in a statement, quoted by the Globe and Mail.
The by-elections were widely seen as a preview of upcoming provincial elections, where the NDP serves to gain from flagging support for the Liberals. The party, which has governed for more than a decade, is also losing voters to the B.C. Conservatives, a party that was barely on the political radar until recently.