It's a Pamslide! A new era of leadership in Sea to Sky and Canada 

Pam Goldsmith-Jones, Liberals prepare to take the helm

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAVID BUZZARD/WWW.MEDIA-CENTRE.CA - SEEING RED Liberal MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones shortly before addressing supporters in West Vancouver on Monday, Oct. 19.
  • Photo by David Buzzard/www.media-centre.ca
  • SEEING RED Liberal MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones shortly before addressing supporters in West Vancouver on Monday, Oct. 19.

For the first time since 2006, Canada has a new prime minister in Justin Trudeau.

And for the first time since 2008, a new member of Parliament will represent the Sea to Sky corridor.

"It feels fantastic. It really is exciting to be able to contribute from the West Coast of B.C. to the country," said Pam Goldsmith-Jones, shortly after being elected to Parliament on October 19.

"I know how hard we worked and we didn't take our eye off the ball, and we didn't take the bait with negative ad campaigning and that strategy has proven us out."

The Liberal candidate defeated incumbent Conservative MP John Weston by a landslide — 35,818 votes to 17,191.

The NDP's Larry Koopman came third with 6,372 votes, while the Green Party's Ken Melamed finished fourth with 5,821.

A total of 65,485 votes were cast in the riding, out of 89,459 registered electors — a voter turnout of 73.2 per cent.

Nationally, voter turnout hit 68.49 per cent — its highest level since 1993.

The Liberal majority was already more than an hour old before the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky riding was declared for Goldsmith-Jones.

When she arrived to her campaign celebration in West Vancouver, Goldsmith-Jones was greeted by smiles, hugs and chants of "we want Pam!"

Following her victory speech, Goldsmith-Jones said she hopes the momentum carries over to Ottawa.

"There's going to be what, 150 brand new MPs?" she said.

"What an extraordinary opportunity for Canadians to bring a fresh approach to government, and I know that we will. That's the most important thing above all."

But the honeymoon will likely be short lived. Once the excitement dies down there is much work to do, a fact Goldsmith-Jones is well aware of.

"I have a list of things to do on October 20," she said, noting her campaign promise to form a local labour task force within 60 days of being elected.

"That's a commitment, and of course I'll follow through," she said.

"I look forward to working with Whistler."

Weston said he had met with Goldsmith-Jones to congratulate her, and would try to assist her transition into her new role.

"Usually, all files are shredded when one MP has to give way to one of a different party," he said. "I'm going to be trying to get consent from our constituents on my files that would enable her to continue to serve well."

Despite his defeat, Weston said he's proud of the things he and his constituents accomplished during his time in office, and he takes solace in the fact that votes cast for him in this election were cast with a purpose.

"I would say many of the votes that went the other direction were just people who were opposed to something, who were stopping something, who were negative," he said. "It was great to feel that the votes (in his favour), although they all mean the same at the ballot box, had a preciousness attached to them."

In a phone interview on October 20, Melamed congratulated Goldsmith-Jones on the victory and thanked his team of volunteers for their thousands of hours of work.

"And of course, even beyond the team to the thousands of people that believed in what we were offering," he said. "The Green Party stood out from the pack."

While Melamed wasn't ready to commit to his political future just one day after the election, he said he wasn't likely to give up on his party just yet.

"There's a sense of urgency about the need to fix government, fix the way government works... we can never give up. When we give up, the other guys win," he said.

"Change comes from people pushing and daring to believe and daring to dream. That's how I characterize our campaign, and all the thousands of people that voted Green across the country are people that dare to dream and dare to believe in something different."

Were it not for the first-past-the-post electoral system, the Green Party would have picked up an additional nine seats.

The NDP would have picked up an additional 23 seats.

After congratulating Goldsmith-Jones and wishing her the best, Koopman said there is still much work to be done in holding Canada's new government accountable.

"The Liberals made a heck of a lot of promises, and one of those was proportional representation," he said.

"Hats off to them if they really follow through on that with a strong majority government. We will be holding their feet to the fire on this and the many promises they made."

Having entered the race as the political underdog, Koopman said he was proud of his team and the campaign they ran.

"You can always do better, but we covered the bases and we did the best that we could," he said.

"Of course, like most of the voters out there, I'm glad to see an end to the Stephen Harper government's legacy, and we'll see where we go from here."

While the polls indicated a Liberal win in the lead up to election day, Goldsmith-Jones said the wide margin of victory came as a surprise.

"I did not expect this kind of resounding success, but we believed we would win and I am so proud of each and every candidate," she said.

"Tonight is a victory for Canada."

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