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Reynolds leaves other candidates far behind

He was under attack at the all-candidates meeting in Whistler but the margin of John Reynolds’ victory in the Nov. 27 federal election showed he was clearly the candidate of choice for most of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast.

He was under attack at the all-candidates meeting in Whistler but the margin of John Reynolds’ victory in the Nov. 27 federal election showed he was clearly the candidate of choice for most of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast.

Reynolds rode the Canadian Alliance wave that swept through British Columbia on election night, capturing nearly half of the votes in the riding. The veteran politician garnered 25,468 votes, or 47.8 per cent, in winning a second term as member of Parliament for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast. Liberal challenger Ian McKay was a distant second with 14,167 votes, or 26.6 per cent.

"It’s very gratifying to see the results," Reynolds said Tuesday. "It’s the result of a lot of personal work done in the riding in the last three and a half years."

Progressive Conservative candidate Kate Manvell finished third with just under 5,000 votes, or 9.3 per cent. Telis Savvaidis of the NDP received 6.4 per cent of the vote, the Green Party’s Jane Bishop got 4.9 per cent, Dana Larsen of the Marijuana Party garnered 3.1 per cent, and Marc Bombois of the Canadian Action Party received just under 1,000 votes, or 1.9 per cent.

Reynolds won the riding for the first time in 1997 with 40 per cent of the vote. Liberal candidate Phil Boname captured 34.5 per cent of the vote that year.

While Reynolds was the clear winner in the riding, preliminary results compiled by Elections Canada show McKay outpolled Reynolds at all 18 Whistler polls. McKay captured 1,187 votes in Whistler to Reynolds’ 748. McKay also took two of the three Pemberton polls and the only poll in Mount Currie. However, Reynolds took the two polls in Pemberton Meadows, the single polls in both D’Arcy and Britannia and all but one of the 23 polls in Squamish.

The Canadian Alliance captured 27 of the 34 seats in B.C., two more than in 1997 when the party was called Reform. With 66 seats in Parliament the Alliance is again the official Opposition.

The Liberal party under Jean Chretien won a third straight majority government, with 173 seats.

A Progressive Conservative MP in the 1970s and a Social Credit MLA in the 1980s, Reynolds said meeting with all the municipal councils in the riding and helping solve people’s problems was part of the reason for his success Monday.

Although the population of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast is diverse, taking in communities as different as West Vancouver, Powell River, Whistler and Texada Island, Reynolds said health care was a common issue for everyone in the riding.

"Everyone experiences that, and certainly now we have a mandate to make sure the government follows through on the money it has promised for health care," Reynolds said.

Other issues in the next four years for voters across the riding include taxes and money for infrastructure projects. "We will make sure that these communities get their fair share," he said of a new federal infrastructure program expected to be announced soon.

Reynolds, along with architect Arthur Erikson and businessman David Lange, has been an advocate for a comprehensive, multi-modal transportation plan for the Lower Mainland, Sea to Sky corridor and Fraser Valley.

Reynolds also said he was responsible for getting all B.C. MPs together to endorse the Vancouver-Whistler bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and that the Games represent a tremendous opportunity for the region. Although the Olympic bid will remain low key for the next year, Reynolds said he believes the 2010 bid has an excellent chance to win, if Toronto is not awarded the 2008 Summer Olympics by the International Olympic Committee next summer.

Nationally, Reynolds admitted he thought the Alliance would do better in Ontario than the two seats the party won, but said "the government did a good job of putting doubt in people’s minds about (party leader) Stockwell Day." He also suggested Tory leader Joe Clark’s resurgence during the campaign helped split the vote between the Alliance and the Conservatives in Ontario, opening the door for the Liberals to take 100 of the 103 seats in that province.

On the positive side, Reynolds pointed to the Bloc Quebecois losing seats in Quebec. "The fewer seats they have the better it is for the country," Reynolds said.

The timing of the election also hurt the Alliance, Reynolds said.

"Eastern Canadians didn’t know who Stockwell Day was, and the prime minister used that to his advantage. But over the next four years we’ll prove to Canadians who we are and what we stand for."