Liberals lose seats but win another majority 

Joan McIntyre elected in strong West Vancouver-Garibaldi turnout

Liberal Leader Gordon Campbell celebrated his second straight majority government after a hard-fought election on May 17, but this time will face a strong opposition in the Legislature.

Heading into the election, the Liberals had 76 of 79 seats compared to the NDP’s three. Although the final tallies are still being confirmed and at least five recounts were underway at press time, it appears that the Liberals held onto 46 seats with an estimated 46 per cent of the popular vote, while the NDP came away with a better than expected 33 seats with 41 per cent of the popular vote.

The Green Party failed to win any seats, capturing just nine per cent of the popular vote. Adriane Carr, the Green Party leader, finished third in the Powell River-Sunshine Coast riding, while the other party leaders easily won their own ridings.

Campbell’s victory represents the first time an incumbent premier has won a second term since 1983.

Voter registration was also at its highest rate since 1980, although at press time it was unknown how many British Columbians turned out at the polls.

In his victory speech, Campbell continued to pump up the economy but also pledged to invest more in health care and education.

In her speech, NDP leader Carole James said the party would be vocal in their new role as the official opposition to the Campbell government.

"Things are going to be very different in the legislature," she said. "There will be a lot more New Democrats standing strong, speaking up for their communities and holding the government accountable. We will take a balanced approach to our role as a greatly expanded opposition."

In the West Vancouver-Garibaldi riding, which includes Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton, Liberal Party candidate Joan McIntyre retained the seat held by Liberal Ted Nebbeling in the previous two elections, winning 50.78 per cent of the vote. Dennis Perry, the deputy leader for the Green Party, earned 26.46 per cent of the vote while the NDP’s Lyle Fenton was third with 20.77 per cent. Barbara Ann Reid, the B.C. Conservative Party candidate who joined the campaign at the last minute, was fourth with about 2 per cent of all votes.

A total of 21,839 voters turned out in the riding.

For McIntyre, who is being recognized in the media as one of the MLA-elects to fill one of eight cabinet positions left empty by defeated cabinet ministers, the results were close to what she hoped for.

"I really hoped to get 50 per cent of the vote, that was my goal in a three-way race… and that my opponents would split the rest of the vote fairly evenly," she said, adding that it was a hard campaign against two strong candidates.

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