When the roars finally settled at Bartholomew’s Pub on election night, Laurel Collins took to the mic.
“We did it,” was all she had to say and the roars started again.
With just over 35 per cent of polls in the riding in, NDP candidate Collins was declared winner shortly before 9 p.m. in the Victoria electoral district.
“It was a closely fought race, amazing to be part of,” Collins said.
It preserves the Victoria seat for the fifth straight election dating back to the end of Liberal David Anderson run in 2006.
Collins accepted the win by thanking volunteers “whose feet are aching” and supporters “who look at the world and want to make it better.”
“When we send New Democrats to Ottawa good things happen,” declared Collins to a boisterous crowd Monday night. “The work begins tomorrow, but tonight is for celebrating.”
A Victoria councillor on leave - and soon to be former - she was greeted by current Couns. Jeremy Loveday, Ben Isitt and Sharmarke Dubow, and was greeted to the room by provincial Minister of Education, Rob Fleming.
“The thing that came up the most in this campaign is that our community wants bold action on the climate crisis, it wants leadership on the housing crisis and to make sure we are investing and expanding on our health care system,” Collins said.
Collins defeated eight other candidates in the Victoria electoral district including Richard Caron (Conservative), Laurel Collins (NDP), Alyson Culbert (PPC), Robert Duncan (Communist Party), Racelle Kooy (Green Party), Nikki Macdonald (Liberal), Jordan Reichert (Animal Protection Party of Canada), Keith Rosenberg (Veterans Coalition Party of Canada), and David Shebib (Independent).
Collins took the lead early and the temperature felt good according to volunteer Teale Phelps Bondaroff, who twice ran for the NDP in previous federal elections back in Calgary.
“The rest of the country is always kind of baffling … but here in B.C. it’s looking good,” he said earlier in the night, adding electoral reform is a key. “A lot people in British Columbia are really annoyed with Justin Trudeau for lying about electoral reform and I think the results are going to show that.”
Two cheerful Liberal voters watching the election results roll in @swansvictoria. They say they voted Liberal for the balance between environment, economy, and people. They predict an NDP win for Victoria. #yyj #yyjpolitics #CanadaElection2019 #CanadianElection #bcpoli pic.twitter.com/ZnTZCEWLNA— Sophie Heizer (@yrlocaljourno) October 22, 2019
Liberal candidate Nikki Macdonald, is optimistic about the outcome of the election, despite not winning in her riding. “The party only nominated me for this riding two months ago, so I’m really proud of the job we’ve done to raise the Liberal profile in Victoria. We’ve seen a lot more volunteers come out and participate, and we couldn’t have done it without them,” she said.
Macdonald said they knew they would be coming up against a strong NDP and Green presence in Victoria and that it would be a hard fight.
“I’m really happy we have a Liberal minority, we still have a lot of work to do on the Island and across Canada, but I am disappointed I won’t be the one doing it in Ottawa,” she said.
@OceanNikki speaking @swansvictoria after @Laurel_BC was confirmed as the seat winner for Victoria. She says she is very happy with a Liberal minority in Ottawa. #yyj #yyjpolitics #CanadaElection2019 #CanadaVotes #bcpoli pic.twitter.com/xWRGAd8s0R— Sophie Heizer (@yrlocaljourno) October 22, 2019
“The energy we’ve had here in Victoria has been tremendous. People have told me they haven’t seen that kind of a campaign in Victoria since David Anderson, so there’s definitely a feeling of change; of momentum here.”
Macdonald said her campaign saw several thousand doors knocked on locally, and people appreciated her showing up in person. “At the doors, the most important thing I heard was that people care about the environment, and the Liberals have already started this work. I think that’s definitely a reason we saw such good numbers.”
Defeated Conservative candidate Richard Coran said he feels positive about his campaign and the headway he made. “A lot of people vote for the party leader, but when I explain I’m a local, and I’m a family man, I think it resonated with people. They know my name now, and they’ll know me when I’m here in four years, in eight years, in 12 years.” The only thing Coran said he wished he could have done differently or better during the campaign was getting his name out there sooner.
Despite his contentment with the campaign he ran, Coran expressed his disappointment at the prospect of a Liberal minority government.
“I’m hoping if a coalition is formed they don’t put our country in greater debt. I get that we want to leave our kids a good environment, but I also don’t want to leave our kids trillions of dollars of debt and I hope the Liberals don’t continue to pursue that,” he said.
I’ll be on scene at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 292 polling place covering the election results live tonight for @saanichnews. Go to https://t.co/nvngJS2mPz for full coverage. pic.twitter.com/n0fGU33EcX— Sophie Heizer (@yrlocaljourno) October 22, 2019
– With files from Canadian Press