ted wins 

Going to Victoria as a member of the Opposition will be good training for when the B.C. Liberals form the government, Ted Nebbeling says. "I’m going to Victoria, I’ll get my feet wet. It will be a learning experience for when we are the government," Nebbeling said Wednesday after taking 56 per cent of the vote in West Vancouver-Garibaldi in Tuesday’s provincial election. "I’m really delighted with the result," Nebbeling added. "It’s a strong endorsement. The West Vancouver support (82 per cent) was stronger than I’d hoped." In his home town of Whistler, Nebbeling out-polled NDP candidate Brenda Broughton more than 2 to 1. Broughton finished second in the riding with 29 per cent of the vote. Reform’s Jim Mercier was a distant third with 6 per cent. Nebbeling was one of the first candidates declared elected Tuesday night in an extremely tight election that took nearly two hours to determine the NDP had been returned to power. The NDP wound up with a slim majority of 39 seats in the 75-seat legislature. The Liberals finished with 33. Reform won two seats and the Progressive Democratic Alliance one seat. Several ridings were determined by fewer than 200 votes. While the Liberals had been hoping to form the government, Nebbeling said he felt comfortable being in Opposition. "It will give me an opportunity to really get into it," he said, adding the size of the Liberal Opposition will have an impact on how the province is governed. "I’m optimistic about the future. We have enough strength to hold the NDP in check." Nebbeling speculated that Premier Glen Clark will ask PDA leader Gordon Wilson to be Speaker, so the NDP doesn’t have to appoint one of its own MLAs to the job, and thereby reduce the NDP majority to one vote in the legislature. As many free-enterprise or centre-right voters had feared, the Reform party split the vote in several ridings, allowing NDP candidates in those ridings to win. Many people were critical of the Liberals and party leader Gordon Campbell for not doing more, earlier, to woo the Reform vote. "The political commentators feel if Gordon had pushed harder on consolidating Reform we could have formed the government," Nebbeling said. "I don’t want to put the blame on Gordon. Our strategy of taking the high road didn’t work. In hindsight, maybe we should have focused more on recruiting Reform, but at the same time I don’t think we should give up our principles (to recruit Reform)." Nebbeling cited the Reform position on the Nisga’a treaty as an example. Reform wants to put the treaty to a province-wide referendum, while the Liberals want the surrounding communities to have input into each native land claim during the negotiating process. "I think it’s going to be tough for (Reform leader) Mr. Weisgerber," Nebbeling said. He suggested Reform had thwarted the desire of 60 per cent of the province that didn’t want the NDP. "In large part it was Mr. Weisgerber’s stubbornness, and in the end he only got two seats." Nebbeling said with a narrow, two-seat majority the NDP will not have much room for errors. He added there are still questions surrounding the Nanaimo Commonwealth Holding Society and the NDP which will come to light as that investigation continues. The Liberals finished with 41 per cent of the popular vote, while the NDP received 39 per cent of the popular vote. Reform got 9 per cent and the Progressive Democratic Alliance 5 per cent. The Liberals went from 14 seats at the time the legislature was dissolved to 33 seats. The NDP dropped from 51 seats to 39. Among the NDP MLAs not re-elected were Finance Minister Elizabeth Cull and Small Business, Tourism and Culture Minister Bill Barlee. Nebbeling pointed to the increase in seats and the popular vote as Liberal victories. "We got the highest support in the province," he noted. As for being the West Vancouver-Garibaldi MLA, Nebbeling said: "I’m representing the corridor as of this morning. I will be speaking loudly for the corridor." As for specific plans, he said: "I want to see opportunities created throughout the corridor, for small- and medium-sized businesses, for youth. "I will be pro-active for the corridor’s potential." He cited the forest industry in the corridor as an example, saying it will lose more timber under the NDP. "I hope to be part of a strategy that will be managing the impact of those losses. "I want Pemberton and Squamish to know they have a voice in me." One of the Liberal party’s promises was to privatize BC Rail, a move which was strongly opposed by some. Nebbeling said he would like to work with the people in the BC Rail yard in Squamish, to show them how the railway can be more effective and create more jobs. "They are against me now. I want to show them why a privatized rail system will be better," he said. He also wants to "give people a sense of comfort that Nebbeling is there for them." Nebbeling said he will wait to see what Campbell is going to do as far as a shadow cabinet. "If I’m in there that will take time, too. "It’s going to be a full plate, but that’s what I’m there for."

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