BC Votes  

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.

More BC Votes articles