Adam Olson is all smiles after hearing he has retained his seat at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

Adam Olson is all smiles after hearing he has retained his seat at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

UPDATED: Adam Olsen declared winner in Saanich North and the Islands

About 16,136 mail-in ballots were requested by voters in Saanich North and the Islands

Adam Olsen, the new and old MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, promises that he along with other BC Greens elected to the provincial legislature will hold the new New Democratic majority accountable.

“We know where the levers are, the dials, the knobs,” he said in an interview after being declared the preliminary winner. He later added that the party will continue to hold the government accountable through parliamentary forums like Question Period and committees, but also working behind the scenes with the other MLAs.

With 113 of 117 ballot boxes reported, Elections BC is showing Olsen won 9,140 out of 16,424 counted votes (55.65 per cent). Zeb King of the NDP won 4,330 votes (26.36 per cent). Stephen Roberts of the BC Liberal Party won 2,954 votes (17.99 per cent). The Canadian Press is projecting the BC NDP has won a majority government.

The party has won or is leading in 55 of 87 seats. The BC Liberal Party has won or is leading in 29, and the BC Green Party has won three seats.

Green Party MLA Adam Olson speaks to Black Press Media’s Wolf Depner after learning he has retained his seat and as he prepares for a new role in the provincial legislature.

Posted by Victoria News on Saturday, October 24, 2020

Due to the pandemic, more British Columbians have decided to vote by mail-in ballot than ever before. Election results won’t be finalized until after Nov. 6, when those mail-in ballots are counted. An estimated number of 16,136 of mail-in ballots were requested by Elections BC within Saanich North and the Islands riding. There are 50,488 registered voters in the riding.

Across B.C., a total of 497,900 mail-in ballots were returned to Elections BC, as of Friday, Oct. 23.

There are roughly 3.5 million registered voters in the province.

READ MORE: ‘Slow’ turnout at polls across Saanich North and the Islands

While Adam returns to the legislature as the local MLA, it will be under different circumstances. Whereas the BC Greens held the balance of power during the NDP government, they now appear to find themselves without any obvious leverage.

But Olsen said his party still has a role to play as an opposition party that will hold the new government accountable. The last three years have familiarized the party with the parliamentary mechanics that will allow the party to fulfill its democratic role.

Saanich North and the Islands was the first riding where the Green candidate has been declared as the winner. Party leader Sonia Furstenau, who has scheduled to address media, has since been declared the winner in Cowichan Valley. BC Greens also won West-Vancouver Sea to Sky, while Nelson-Creston also remains competitive for BC Greens.

Speaking to media later in the evening, Furstenau said the NDP’s engineering of an election to wipe out its political opposition succeeded only in part. Greens, who have traditionally done well on Vancouver Island, have managed to expand their reach by winning West Vancouver-Sea to Sky. The party also continue to attract new voters across the province. She also promised that the BC Greens would hold the New Democrats accountable on climate change, drawing a sharp line against on-going subsidies for the oil and gas industry. Furstenau welcomed overtures by John Horgan to work collaboratively in the legislature, but reserved judgement.

When asked to comment on the outcome, King said he congratulated Olsen on his victory, in thanking his staff and volunteer, while promising to strive for what he called a “just and sustainable” world.

Roberts said earlier in the evening that half of the cast votes in the riding are still in the mail.

READ MORE: Provincial election results, riding by riding

Early voting for the 2020 provincial election has broken records, according to data released by Elections BC Thursday (Oct. 22).

The agency said 681,055 people cast their ballot during seven days of advanced voting that ended Wednesday, compared to 614,389 in 2017. In 2013, there were 366,558 people who voted in advance and 290,220 in 2009, with fewer yet in earlier elections.

In Saanich North and the Island, 12,083 advance ballots were cast this year.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to the ongoing pandemic, Elections BC estimates that roughly 35 per cent of voters used mail-in ballots, which will be counted beginning on Nov. 6. This means that tonight’s election results may change. For more election coverage, go to vicnews.com/tag/bc-votes-2020.

READ MORE: B.C. votes 2020


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

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