With just an hour-and-a-half left to vote in the B.C. provincial election, many eyes are on Saanich North and the Islands as one of the potentially closest races going.
This election is a repeat, in essence, of the 2013 provincial election. The riding – which covers the Saanich Peninsula (Central Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney) and the Gulf Islands – is being contested by the same three people who sought elected office four years ago – as well as one new one.
The incumbent MLA for the area is the NDP’s Gary Holman, who wrested the riding from conservative control in 2013. His win — by a mere 163 votes over BC Liberal challenger Stephen Roberts — marked the first time that anyone other than a member of the Liberals, Social Credit Party or Conservatives won here.
Roberts started late in the 2013 campaign and still made a good showing. He has spent the better part of the last four years making himself known in the community by volunteering for various local organizations. He has posed the thought that Saanich North and the Islands was won by the NDP in 2013 when polls at that time predicted an NDP win province-wide. He is hoping that traditional voting patterns in the riding emerge this time around.
Also challenging in Saanich North and the Islands is BC Green Party candidate Adam Olsen. The former Central Saanich municipal councillor and former interim leader of the BC Greens is popular in the riding and placed third in 2013 – 379 votes off the winner.
Olsen could challenge for the MLA’s seat in Saanich North and the Islands, riding a wave of support in recent polling. He is in an area that saw voters elect a Green Party member to Parliament in Ottawa – Elizabeth May.
Holman for the most part is relying on his record to take him through to a second victory in Saanich North and the Islands. He worked on a local affordable housing inventory, among other efforts, and has acted at the NDP deputy critic on BC Ferries and Electoral Reform – one of his main passion areas.
Independent candidate Jordan Templeman is also on the ballot in Saanich North and the Islands. A newcomer, he will have to do well to get more votes than the 2013 independent candidate, Scott MacEachern, did four years ago (599 – compared with more than 10,000 each for the three main party candidates).
More to come …