JENNIFER SALTMAN & DAN FUMANO
B.C. NDP MLAs for Surrey talk victory
In the last election, the NDP’s Jagrup Brar lost the riding he had held for nine years by just 200 votes. On Tuesday night, he was redeemed.
Surrey-Fleetwood, which was won by Liberal Peter Fassbender four years ago, once again swung to the left.
Jagrup Brar has been elected in the riding of Surrey-Fleetwood for the BC NDP.
This was a riding to watch because BC Liberal incumbent Peter Fassbender was hoping to hold on to his seat during this election.
Surrey-Fleetwood was considered one of the closest races in one of the most important election battlegrounds in the Lower Mainland, backed up by the fact that both party leaders made a point of visiting during the campaign.
Fassbender may have been one of Liberal Leader Christy Clark’s top cabinet ministers, most recently holding the portfolios of community development and TransLink, but he won by a narrow margin in the 2013 election and the riding boundaries changed in 2015, bringing in as many as 700 NDP voters.
After the riding was called for Brar, who won with 52 per cent of the vote, he addressed the NDP crowd gathered at Surrey’s Riverside Banquet Hall, and talked about building a new hospital and schools in Surrey to loud applause.
“This election was very important to the people of Surrey,” Brar told the crowd. “We did not get from the B.C. Liberals what we deserved. But I promise to you today, that if the people of B.C. elect an NDP government, in Surrey things are going to change, and we are going to work for you.”
Before polls closed Tuesday, Fassbender told Postmedia the new riding boundaries had made the race “more interesting for sure, but I just keep my eye on the ball.”
Asked about speculation the changed boundaries could benefit the NDP, Fassbender said: “There’s all kinds of speculation, I’m sure that the opposition wants to believe that… But I don’t worry about those things. Worry makes you old.”
The win appeared to be on trend for the NDP in Surrey, which at deadline looked to carry six of the city’s nine ridings in B.C.’s second most populous city.
Another riding to watch was Surrey-Guildford (formerly Surrey-Tynehead), where incumbent Amrik Virk, a former RCMP inspector, was challenged and defeated by another retired Mountie, the NDP’s Garry Begg.
In 2013 Virk won the riding previously held by longtime Liberal MLA Dave Hayer by just over 1,600 votes. However, with the name change came boundary adjustments and the opportunity for the NDP to pose a real threat.
Begg rose to the occasion and won with 49 per cent of the vote. Tuesday night before the final election results had been called, he told NDP supporters: “We’ve come pretty close to making this a fantastic night.”
“We promised during this campaign that we would put people at the centre of government, and I expect that you will hold us to that promise,” Begg said. “This campaign was run on volunteers, and courage. We were told that it was a big and daunting fight, and it was. But we prevailed, we did the right thing, and we won.”
When asked what may have factored into his defeat, Virk said it was hard to speculate, but suspected it was a variety of issues, from tolls to taxis to the redrawing of riding boundaries.
“Overall, the public has spoken and determined what their priorities are,” Virk said. “I hope they stay engaged going forward.”
- The boundaries and candidates have changed over the years, but the political preference in Surrey-Cloverdale has not. Tuesday, the longtime Liberal riding (since before the 1991 election) went to Marvin Hunt, a former city councillor first elected for the Liberals in 2013 in Surrey-Panorama.
- Surrey-Green Timbers has long been an NDP riding. Sue Hammell held the riding from the time it was created in 1991 until 2001, when she was defeated by Brenda Locke. Hammell took it again in 2005 and has held it ever since, but announced her retirement earlier this year. Locke ran again for the Liberals, but was unable to unseat the NDP, with newcomer Rachna Singh winning with 56 per cent of the vote.
- Surrey-Newton is the city’s smallest riding and has a colourful history, going from SoCred to NDP in 1991, to Liberal in 2001 and back to NDP in 2005. That’s when Harry Bains won the riding for the NDP with 58 per cent of the vote. Bains won again in 2009 and 2013, and continued the streak on Tuesday with another win over new Liberal challenger Gurminder Parihar.
- Surrey-Panorama was one of the tightest Surrey races of the evening as results poured in. The riding has seen a rotating cast of MLAs since it was created in 2009 — all of them Liberal. But Tuesday evening the tide turned for the NDP, with Jinny Sims, a veteran politician with the federal NDP, winning 50 per cent of the vote to finish eight points ahead of Liberal newcomer Puneet Sandhar. Sims, the NDP MP for Newton-North Delta from 2011 to 2015, told a boisterous crowd of NDP supporters following the win: “This election is about you, each and every one of you… We’re taking B.C. back.”
- In the new riding of Surrey South, Stephanie Cadieux won for the Liberals. Cadieux, who was first elected in 2009 and served as Minister of Children and Family Development since 2012, won with 49 per cent of the vote, defeating NDP newcomer Jonathan Silveira. Although the riding is new, the area covered by Surrey South has traditionally voted Liberal. It will be the third riding Cadieux has served — she was first elected in Surrey-Panorama, and then won Surrey-Cloverdale in 2013 with 59 per cent of the vote.
Minutes after the riding was called for Cadieux Tuesday evening, she told Postmedia that even though the riding was new, it was carved out of parts of Panorama and Cloverdale, two ridings she had previously represented.
“For me, it’s home,” Cadieux said. “I wasn’t nervous to run there.”
- Unsurprisingly, Surrey-Whalley stuck with the NDP, re-electing Bruce Ralston with 58 per cent per cent of the vote, more than 17 percentage points ahead of Liberal challenger Sargy Chima. The riding was NDP from 1991 until 2001, when it went to the Liberals. Ralston first won the riding in 2005 and has held it ever since.
- Former Coast Capital Savings CEO Tracy Redies maintained the decades-long Liberal grip on Surrey-White Rock, where she defeated the NDP’s Niovi Patsicakis, winning 49 per cent of the vote. Redies became the Liberal candidate after four-term MLA Gordon Hogg announced in October that he would not be running again.