— Pamela Roth
The momentum of the Green Party’s win in the Saanich-Gulf Islands couldn’t spread into Victoria.
NDP incumbent Murray Rankin managed to hang on for another term, taking an early lead as the results started rolling in Monday night.
By the time 50 of the 253 polls were reporting, Rankin had claimed 9,612 votes and Roberts had 6,722. That number grew to 15,525 votes for Rankin and 11,343 votes for Roberts when 100 polls were reporting. At press time, Rankin had 18,978 votes and Roberts had 14,663.
As the numbers continued to roll in, Rankin said he was delighted with the results and wasn’t surprised that Canadians had rejected Stephen Harper since that’s what he’s heard door-knocking in his riding.
In the end, the Liberals claimed a majority government, with the Conservatives forming the official opposition. The NDP, however, took several losses.
“People voted massively for change. I guess in Victoria I’m proud that I was the vehicle for that change,” said Rankin, who was disappointed with the NDP’s overall results.
“Obviously I was hoping for a different result for the NDP, but I am delighted that people have decided that it’s time for getting rid of Stephen Harper’s vision of Canada.”
First elected in 2012 during a bi-election, Rankin is one of Canada’s top lawyers and has been a vocal critic of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. He has served as the NDP’s health critic, critic for pensions and for national revenue, and led the NDP’s national campaign for CPP expansion.
During his next term, Rankin said he wants to take action for the citizens of Victoria on key issues such as a child care, climate change and a stable medical system.
“Things of that sort are really critical in this community and elsewhere. I’m going to keep fighting for those things,” he said, adding the work of taking down 2,000 election signs has now begun. After a few days off, he plans to head back to Ottawa.
“I believe that people should be very proud of what Tom Mulcair and the NDP have contributed to the last parliament. I hope we can continue to play a strong role in the next parliament as well.”
Over at the Victoria Conference Centre, the results weren’t exactly what Roberts was hoping for.
Roberts believes the Green Party did change the conversation in the campaign and hopes the new Liberal government will progress on some of the issues the party brought to light. Without more Green Party members in parliament, however, Roberts said it’s hard to push the environmental agenda and proportional representation — things Victorians wanted.
“The Green element is going to be missing. Elizabeth (May) is an amazing champion. She needed some help,” she said. “I’m not sorry I did this. I actually believe that we have changed the conversation in the country and here on the Island.”
Roberts, a veteran journalist for 37 years, is best known as the host of the arts and current affairs program, All Points West on CBC Radio One in Victoria. She left her job to speak out about the government’s current vision for Canada. One of the best ways to part of the discussion, she said, is to run as a candidate.
The Victoria riding has a population of 110,942, with 92,574 electors on the list. Conservative candidate John Rizzuti finished a distant third with 5,342 votes at press time.