After a neck-in-neck race, NDP incumbent Randall Garrison has been re-elected to represent residents in the riding of Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke.
Garrison was declared the winner after receiving more than 13,000 votes — the most he’s ever received — Tuesday night to serve the newly formed riding.
But the win was bittersweet for the NDPer, admitting he hoped the party would win more votes across the country.
“I’m feeling great about this, but as I said it’s a bittersweet moment. We’ve done very well on Vancouver Island but I wish we had done better across the country. But we have removed the Stephen Harper government and we can get back to work making a better Canada,” said Garrison from his election party at the Esquimalt Royal Legion.
It was a tight race in the evening as Liberal candidate David Merner held an early lead. At one point, Merner came within 50 votes of overtaking Garrison. But Garrison, who was the MP for the former Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca riding, held on — pulling ahead with more than 35 per cent of the vote.
Merner was disappointed with the loss, but said a Liberal majority is what he had hoped for.
“There’s a huge red wave that is coming across the country, so everybody is really excited. The fact that we didn’t win in this riding is a small part of a much bigger picture,” he said.
Now, Garrison will set his sights on fulfilling some unfinished businesses in parliament, including bringing ship building jobs to the riding.
“They were promised by the Conservatives, they were two years late. I want to make sure by next year we have people working on those ships,” Garrison said. “I’m (more) focused on rebuilding Canada than the NDP. Right now, we have a lot of work to do to restore the damage that was done to things like Canada’s international reputation, to support for veterans, to support for First Nations.”
Also on his checklist — creating an action plan to save the southern resident killer whales, private members bill to protect transgender rights and see the repeal of the anti-terrorism Bill C-51.
At press time, Conservative candidate Shari Lukens had 17 per cent of votes, followed by Green Party candidate Frances Litman with 20 per cent.