BC Votes  

Okanagan voters mirror STV results

Okanagan voters followed the provincial trend in the referendum on electoral reform Tuesday.

More than 60% of the province voted to keep the existing First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) system. Voters in Okanagan ridings ranged from 64% in Shuswap to 58% in Vernon-Monashee.

For BC-STV to have been successful Tuesday, it had to meet two thresholds:

1. At least 60% of the valid votes province-wide must be cast in favour of BC-STV.

2. In at least 51 of the 85 electoral districts, more than 50% of the valid votes in the electoral district must be cast in favour of BC-STV.

Slater survives scare in Boundary

The Liberals were concerned that B.C. Conservative party candidate Joe Cardoso would split the vote in the hotly contested riding of Boundary-Similkameen.

Joe Cardoso definitely had an impact in the results, but in the end, it wasn't enough the unseat Liberal candidate John Slater.

Slater, a former two term mayor of Osoyoos, admitted he had to sit through some anxious moments before being declared the winner.

His margin of victory was about a thousand votes, however, the lead flipped back and forth between himself and NDP contender Lakhvinder Jhaj until he pulled ahead late in the evening.

He finished with more than 37% of the vote, compared with 33% for Jhaj.

Slater says Cardoso, who polled more than 20% of the popular vote, definitely eroded the traditional Liberal base.

"I don't think there is any question Mr. Cardoso did take votes away from me. I know some of his supporters used to be strong Liberal supporters but chose to go with him," says Slater.

"It did split the vote, but fortunately I was strong enough to make sure the split wasn't strong enough to let the NDP come up the middle."

Slater says he doesn't believe there was any one issue that hurt him in the campaign.

He says he was a victim of running for the governing party during an economic downturn.

"I was a BC Liberal candidate so everything that the BC Liberals did, everybody pointed fingers at me. That's natural and that happens in all politics whether you're a mayor or councilor. If people don't like what you did they point fingers at you."

Slater says he's looking forward to the challenge of working for his constituents in Victoria.

He says, while the riding is very diversified, he believes the economy is the number one concern throughout the region.

"I know in the Boundary area, there have been over 900 job losses in the forest industry alone. It's devastating. Families are breaking up because one adult goes and works somewhere and the other goes somewhere else and the kids leave town. It's really tough."

Slater says he will hold town hall meetings in each community to learn constituents concerns and take those to Victoria.

Thomson looking forward to work

Steve Thomson is looking forward to getting to work.

The Liberal MLA candidate for Kelowna Mission was elected with more than 54% of the riding's votes during Tuesday's provincial election.

“I really appreciate the confidence and support of the constituents of the Kelowna Mission, I'm looking forward to going to work for them and I'm expecting that will start pretty quickly,” says Thomson.

He says they ran the campaign as if it was a close race all along.

“We had that nervous pit in our stomach until we started to see the numbers come in and they looked pretty encouraging. In the end it was a good, solid win. I'm really pleased with that, I think it sends the message that the Liberal Party is the best to manage BC through these tough times.”

Thomson says the economy was the number one issue they heard about from constituents.

“I'm looking forward to getting down to work with the rest of the team that was elected, Ben on the Westside and Norm in Kelowna - Lake Country. I think we have a great team going forward and this region will be well represented.”

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