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Wilson edges Weston for Whistler riding

Strahl easily takes Pemberton riding

Conservative Party candidate John Weston led the race for the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky riding early in the evening, but when Monday’s federal election was over Liberal Blair Wilson had claimed the long-time Conservative seat.

At one point Wilson was up by more than 1,200 votes, but as he learned the hard way in the 2004 federal election, all the votes have to be counted.

Two years ago some in the media had called that race for Wilson when he led by almost 900 votes, before the results from polling stations on the Sunshine Coast could be tabulated. In the last hour Conservative John Reynolds pulled ahead, beating Wilson by 687 votes.

That didn’t happen this time around. Although his lead shrunk slightly, Wilson stayed on top to take the riding by a margin of 986 votes (all results still unofficial).

The NDP Party lost some ground in this election with Judith Wilson getting 12,766 votes, about 400 fewer than in 2004. The Green Party under Sylvaine Zimmermann also lost some ground with 3,996 votes, compared to 5,886 votes for Andrea Goldsmith in 2004.

Anne Jamieson of the Marxist-Leninist Party earned 155 votes, or 32 more than in the previous election.

Federally, the night was a loss for the ruling Liberal Party, although they didn’t lose as many seats as some polls and pundits suggested in the wake of the sponsorship scandal, income trust scandal, and concerns about recent spending commitments. Liberal leader Paul Martin did announce that he would be stepping down as party leader, but would continue to represent voters in the Montreal riding of LaSalle-Emard.

Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party will form a minority government with 124 seats, well shy of the 155 seats required for a majority government.

The Liberal Party will form the official opposition with 103 seats, followed by the Bloc Quebecois with 51 seats and the NDP with 29 seats. One independent, a radio personality in Quebec City, also won a seat.

Bucking the predictions of most pundits, Canadians turned out in droves to vote on Monday, exceeding the turnout of the previous election by well over a million votes.

Nationally, 14,815,680 voters cast ballots out of 22,812,683 registered voters, for a turnout of 64.9 per cent. In 2004, the turnout was just 60.9 per cent.

In Whistler’s riding, 60,543 of 90,802 registered voters cast ballots in 2004 for a 66.7 per cent turnout. For the 2006 election, the turnout was 63,635 of 92,784 registered voters, or 68.6 per cent.

In the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding, which includes Pemberton, Conservative incumbent Chuck Strahl easily retained his seat.

B.C. proved to be an important player in this election, with both the NDP and Liberal Party gaining crucial seats in this province. The Conservative Party won 17 of B.C.’s 36 seats, while the NDP won 10 seats and the Liberals took nine.

In the 2004 election the Conservatives held 22 seats, the NDP five, the Liberals eight, and there was one independent.

Critics of the distribution of seats in Eastern Canada and proponents of proportional representation got some additional ammunition in their bid to reform government after Monday’s election.

For example, the Bloc Quebecois earned 51 out of 308 seats in Parliament with just 1,522,043 votes (10.5 per cent of the popular vote). At the same time the Bloc earned less than 43 per cent of the popular vote within Quebec, but still took 51 of 75 seats.

By way of comparison, the NDP Party earned 2,590,808 votes nationally (17.5 per cent of the popular vote) but earned just 29 seats.

38 th General Election Results

West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky

Winner - Blair Wilson, Liberal – 23,867 votes, or 37.5 per cent of popular vote

John Weston, Conservative – 22,881 votes, or 36.0%

Judith Wilson, NDP – 12,766 votes, 20.1%

Sylvaine Zimmermann, Green Party – 3,996 votes, or 6.2%

Anne Jamieson, Marxist-Leninist – 155 votes, or 0.2 per cent

Riding turnout: 63,635 of 92,784 registered voters, or 68.6 per cent

Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon

Winner — Chuck Strahl, Conservative – 26,742 votes (55.8%)

Malcolm James, NDP – 10,015 votes (20.9%)

Myra Sweeney, Liberal – 8,166 votes (17.0%)

Ed Baye, Green Party – 1,929 votes (4.0%)

Ron Gray, Christian Heritage Party – 935 votes (2.0%)

Dorothy-Jean O’Donnell, Marxist-Leninist – 115 (0.2%)

Riding turnout: 47,092 of 75,474 registered voters, or 63.5%

B.C. Results

Conservative Party – 681,014 votes (37.3%) to win 17 seats

New Democratic Party – 521,704 votes (28.6%) to win 10 seats

Liberal Party of Canada – 503,372 votes (27.6%) to win nine seats

Green Party of Canada – 96,955 votes (5.3%)

Independent – 11,052 votes (0.6%)

Christian Heritage Party – 3,350 votes (0.2%)

(All other parties earned 0.1 per cent or less)

National Results

Conservative Party (Stephen Harper) – 5,370,903 votes (36.3%) to win 124 seats

Liberal Party (Paul Martin) – 4,477,217 votes (30.2%) to win 103 seats

Bloc Quebecois (Gilles Duceppe) – 1,552,043 votes (10.5%) to win 51 seats

New Democratic Party (Jack Layton) – 2,590,808 votes (17.5%) to win 29 seats

Independents – 82,635 votes (0.6%) to win one seat

Green Party of Canada – 665,876 votes (4.5%)

Christian Heritage Party – 28,273 votes (0.2%)

(All other parties earned 0.1% or less)