Clovechok takes Columbia River Revelstoke riding

Minority government looms but judicial recounts could change that

Doug Clovechok is raring to go as the newly elected MLA for Columbia River Revelstoke and says he is humbled by the faith voters showed in him.

“I’m absolutely thrilled. I’ve been working hard for the last four years and this means the hard work paid off. I’m excited we were able to win by the margin did.”

Clovechok took 45.75 per cent of the votes.

“I pledged right from the very beginning, that when you get elected as a BC Liberal MLA, you represent the people that elected you,” he said. “The people that didn’t vote for me, I’m their MLA too.”

Clovechok said it was “surreal,” as he watched the numbers come in throughout the evening.

“We had a dream back in 2013 to do this, and we never stopped dreaming the dream. And we did it.”

“I just can’t thank everybody enough. It’s a really hard process. There was times today that I doubted it, and then I realized this was going to happen.”

While the final results won’t be known until recounts and absentee ballots are totalled on April 21 , Clovechok thinks the BC Liberals still have an opportunity for a majority government.

“I think you’re going to see us push over the top in Comox for a majority.” That riding was declared for the NDP with a difference of only nine votes.

Regarding his campaign, he says he does believe that many visit by the BC Liberal cabinet ministers and even the Premier to Columbia River Revelstoke helped his cause.

“I think the message you get from all those visits is that we care about people in the Kootenays. John Horgan (NDP leader) didn’t get out of the Lower Mainland. that says what he thinks about rural BC.”

At NDP campaign headquarters Tuesday evening, Gerry Taft was feeling the ache of defeat.

“it’s the first time I’ve ever lost an election. Ever,” said Taft.

Later Taft issued another statement,

“I want to congratulate Doug Clovechok for his success in this election as well as the other candidates who gave of their time over the last number of months.

“I also want to thank my team of volunteers who worked so hard on this campaign, including retiring MLA Norm Macdonald who put up campaign signs, made phone calls and knocked on doors.

“While I am disappointed by the outcome of the election, I am thankful that I had the opportunity to travel throughout this constituency and meet with so many people from Revelstoke to Kimberley. It was an honour to represent the BC NDP in this election campaign.”

Samson Boyer, the Green Party candidate, said he was feeling pretty good about the results. With more than 1,200 votes (and counting at the time of our interview), he improved upon his party’s results from 2013, when Laurel Ralston got 921 votes.

The 18-year-old attributed his performance to being engaged with the electorate. “I think my age played a part in that,” he said. “It’s more about the people. They want a change in government, they don’t want the two party system.”

He said his goal was to get 15 per cent of the vote, but he was happy with 12 per cent, and that this “was only a start.”

“My next plan is university, get more engaged with the community and hopefully run again in four years,” he said. “If an 18 year old can get 12 per cent of the vote, who knows what a 22 year old can do.”

Duncan MacLeod of Kimberley, who entered the race late as an independent, said the experience was “invigorating and inspiring”. MacLeod only received 450 votes, but he is quite pleased with that amount given he only campaigned for three weeks.

“I absolutely would try it again. My campaign was based on transparency, authenticity and sincerity. My message was the ineffectiveness of adversarial politics, and I think that was heard.”

MacLeod, like the rest of BC voters, is anxious to see what the final results will be after recounts.

“I’d like to see a minority,” he said. “It would be an interesting commentary on what pro-rep might look like.”

First-time independent candidate Justin Hooles didn’t get the result he was looking for on election night, but he has certainly found some positives to take away from the experience.

“I was hoping I would have done a little better,” said Hooles during a phone interview on election night as the last few ballot boxes were being tallied. “But I really did enjoy this entire experience.

Hooles took 2.5 per cent of the popular vote in the riding (based on the preliminary voting results).

He plans to run again in four years, and says he will be getting his name out in the riding earlier. But in the meantime he says he intends to look into running in the next municipal election.

“I’m interested in running for the Kimberley City Council,” he said. “I also plan to look into issue like affordable housing as well as BC Hydro and Fortis rates…I think there’s a lot that we could be doing.”

At the end of a long campaign, Hooles says it’s not the result he was hoping for, but he can live with it, especially if there’s a possibility of a minority government (which was unknown at the time of the interview).

“I just hope that they can work together.”

With files from Carolyn Grant (Kimberley Bulletin), Alex Cooper (Revelstoke Review), Jessica Schwitek (Golden Editor) and Lorene Keitch (Invermere Valley Echo).

Kimberley Daily Bulletin