NDP incumbents sweep Victoria ridings

NDP incumbents sweep Victoria ridings

With a decisive win in three local ridings, over the next four years local MLAs say their focus will be on housing affordability, transportation, and child and health care services in Victoria and Esquimalt.

Victoria-Beacon Hill NDP incumbent Carole James was elected to her fourth straight term with close to 53 per cent of the vote, as of preliminary results released after the May 9 election.

She was declared the winner about two hours after the polls closed with 14,476 votes, followed by the Green Party’s Kalen Harris with 8,274, Liberal Karen Bill with 4,296, Libertarian Art Lowe with 168, and independents Jordan Reichert and David Shebib with 94 and 32 votes respectively.

James was first elected as MLA in 2005, when she defeated incumbent B.C. Liberal Jeff Bray by an almost 2-1 margin. She was re-elected in both 2009 and 2013, when she nabbed almost 49 per cent of the vote.

From the NDP offices on Fort Street, which were covered with orange and blue streamers and balloons, James said it was a hard fought campaign but is humbled to have support from the community for another term.

“I never take any election for granted, I never take any support for granted,” she said. “This was a hard fought campaign so it’s a real honour to have the support of the people of this community.”

Over the next four years, James intends to focus on affordable housing, implementing better controls when it comes to rental units, and increased support for tenants. In addition, she highlighted care for seniors, health care services and ensuring the government follows through on its agreement with teachers to ensure the proper supports are in place.

In the Victoria-Swan Lake riding, incumbent Rob Fleming, who was first elected as MLA in the riding in 2005, won the seat with just over 53 per cent of the vote (12,181 votes). He was followed by the Green Party’s Christopher Maxwell with 6,826 votes, Liberal Stacey Piercey with 3,642 and David Costigane with the Vancouver Island Party with 181.

Currently, the Liberals will have 43 seats in the legislature, compared to the NDP’s 41 and the three MLAs who will sit for the B.C. Green Party.

Whether it will be a minority or majority government, Fleming is going to take a wait-and-see approach, noting affordable housing, creating new daycare spaces, the $10 a day daycare plan, and building infrastructure are key priorities.

“Those are all exciting possibilities if we’re in government. If I’m an opposition member again, I know that drill very well,” he said. “We will be a constructive and strong oppostion to the government’s agenda.”

In the Esquimalt-Metchosin riding (formerly Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca), the NDP’s Mitzi Dean also had a decisive win, tallying 10,803 votes, followed by Liberal and Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins with 6,564. The Green Party’s Andy MacKinnon had 5,814 votes, Libertarian Josh Steffler had 149, independent Delmar Martay had 90 and Communist Party of B.C.’s Tyson Strandlund had 60 votes.

Dean, a political newcomer who is best known in the community as the executive director for the Pacific Centre Family Services Association in Colwood, highlighted housing and transportation as the major issues facing her riding.

kendra.wong@vicnews.com