VANCOUVER – NDP Leader Adrian Dix won his seat in British Columbia’s provincial election Tuesday, while the leader of the fledgling Conservatives lost his — two results that are important for those parties but foretold little about which party would form government when the night was through.
Dix was projected to easily win his riding of Vancouver-Kingsway, with more than half the vote an hour after the polls closed.
Conservative Leader John Cummins on the other hand, whose party was once seen as a significant threat for the governing Liberals, lost his riding of Langley to Liberal cabinet minister Mary Polak. In early returns, Cummins had just 12 per cent of the vote in the riding, compared with more than 50 per cent for Polak.
The Liberals led in early returns after polls closed, but those results were likely cold comfort for a party that entered the campaign widely expected to be a long-shot to hold onto power.
An hour after polls closed, no ridings had changed hands, but two-thirds of the province’s 85 ridings had yet to be decided.
The vote came after a month-long campaign that saw the Liberal party play the part of underdog under Premier Christy Clark, who took over the party from Gordon Campbell more than two years ago.
Clark attempted to frame the election as a vote on the economy, gambling that her predecessor’s economic record would be enough to convince voters to keep the Liberals in power.
The New Democrats, on the other hand, have run a populist campaign that has focused on Liberal scandals, from the introduction of the harmonized sales tax to the BC Rail scandal, to argue for change.
Colin Hansen, a former Liberal cabinet minister who has been helping on the party’s campaign, said high turnout in advance polls will help his party once all the ballots are counted.
“The advance polls, of course, gets counted separately and typically aren’t announced until the end of the evening,” said Hansen said.
“So it could put a different spin on some ridings.”