So much is certain. New Democrat Lana Popham returns to the Legislative Assembly as the representative for Saanich South after she won almost 41 per cent of the vote. But Popham – like everyone else – woke up Wednesday morning with the realization that the definitive end of one campaign merely marks the beginning of another, far more uncertain period in provincial politics.
An unprecedented outcome has left the BC Liberals with 43 seats and first crack at forming what would be a minority government, that is a cabinet that controls less than half of the seats. But it is also possible that Popham could eventually find herself on the government’s side of the legislature if – and that is a big if – the New Democrats and BC Greens make some sort of arrangement that would give them a combined 44 seats, the slimmest of majorities. Or Courtney-Comox could flip to the BC Liberals, giving them a 44-seat majority.
“Right now, I haven’t even begun to process,” she said Tuesday night at regional NDP headquarters on Fort Street in Downtown Victoria. “There are so many things in play right now,we are not going to know [for a while].”
This said, Popham said she is grateful for the chance to represent the riding for a third straight time. “It’s always a hard finish in Saanich South and I congratulate my competitiors for working hard in their own campaigns.”
David Calder – who used to volunteer for Popham – finished second with just over 32 per cent of the vote. He conceded defeat at the Beach House in Cordova Bay with a passionate speech about his first campaign to the chants of “Da-vid, Dav-id, Da-vid…”
“These results suck but I’m not going to lie, nobody wants me to lie, this doesn’t feel good,” Calder said. “But we’ll be back.”
Mark Neufeld of the BC Greens rounded the field of major party candidates, finishing third with just under 26 per cent. While Neufeld lost, he has good reasons to feel like a secret winner. “I feel good that I contributed to doubling our popular vote,” he said.
But Neufeld can claim more than just a moral victory. His party now holds the balance of power and as far as he is concerned, he would like to see the Greens strike an agreement with New Democrats to bring in proportional representation.
Richard Pattee of the Vancouver Island Party won 0.42 per cent of the vote,while Andrew McLean took 0.59 per cent.