Elizabeth May no longer has to campaign on the hope that “we can make history.” History has been made.
The leader of the Green Party of Canada was victorious in Saanich-Gulf Islands Monday night, marking the first time her party will send an elected representative to the House of Commons.
“Today we proved that Canadians want change,” May said immediately after Conservative candidate Gary Lunn called to concede. “It’s true that one MP not entangled in cynicism can actually make a difference.”
Just after 9 p.m., Elections Canada declared May the victor in the riding that Lunn, a four-time incumbent, had held since 1997.
The crowd of more than 500 Green Party supporters gave May rock star treatment when she took the stage in a Sidney aircraft hangar, her election night headquarters.
Alongside May was her daughter, Victoria Cate May Burton, whose first ballot cast as an eligible voter helped secure a win for her mother.
NDP candidate Edith Loring-Kuhanga, a Saanich school district trustee, was third while Liberal candidate Renee Hetherington finished last.
The failure of Liberal candidates across Canada was reflected throughout Greater Victoria.
In the Victoria riding, which includes the southeast corner of Saanich, NDP incumbent Denise Savoie won easily, picking up more votes than Conservative Patrick Hunt, Liberal Christopher Causton and Green Jared Giesbrecht combined.
The closest race took place in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, which includes Saanich residents living west of the Pat Bay Highway.
The NDP’s Randall Garrison, an Esquimalt councillor, picked up 41 per cent of the vote while Conservative candidate Troy DeSouza garnered 40.1 per cent.
Liberal Lillian Szpak was a distant third with less than 10 per cent of the vote.
– With files from Jim Zeeben